Terry Katzman could brag about his early involvement in the careers of many of the Twin Cities' biggest bands, including Hüsker Dü, the Replacements and the Suburbs. If you ran into him, though, the veteran sound engineer, record label operator, store owner and all-around music fanatic would be more likely to talk up the newer groups he was helping.
A common thread between bands and part of the fabric of the music scene for four decades, Katzman died suddenly Friday at 64. The cause of death is still unknown.
Friends said he was visiting his longtime pal Peter Jesperson in Los Angeles — no surprise, the two former record-store clerks went record shopping — when he fell ill, went to lie down and died in bed before an ambulance could arrive.
In 1985, Katzman opened Garage D'Or Records on Nicollet Avenue south of downtown and started a record label of the same name. More recently, he ran the record store half of HiFi Hair & Records near Loring Park and was still issuing albums by young bands.
"It was always about boosterism with him, and never about Terry," said Chris Osgood of pioneering punk band the Suicide Commandos. It was one of the first bands to benefit from their fellow Minnetonka High grad's enthusiasm.
HiFi owner Jon Clifford said Katzman "led the rest of us by the nose" in discovering new bands. "He always could recognize the good stuff. But he was good at staying up on what everyone else liked, too."
His most high-profile music contributions were born of his years running sound for Hüsker Dü and the Replacements, recording some of their earliest performances.
"Without Terry, much of what we called 'our scene' would not have reached your eyes and ears," Hüsker Dü singer/guitarist Bob Mould said. "His passion for music was always on display, and I feel blessed to have known him."
A 2017 Hüsker Dü box set, "Savage Young Dü," was built largely on tracks that Katzman safeguarded for three decades among the trove of recordings in his south Minneapolis basement. He toured with Hüsker Dü as sound man and ran the band's in-house record label, Reflex Records.
Another Katzman tape famously opened the Replacements' 1982 EP "Stink," as cops busted up a house party — "This is the Minneapolis Police! The party is over!" — with a young Dave Pirner allegedly yelling back a profanity.
Pirner's Soul Asylum, Babes in Toyland, Baby Grant Johnson, Otto's Chemical Lounge, the Blood Shot and Ultrasonics were some of the other local bands over the years to list Katzman on their albums for production or other technical support. He also co-produced Boston pop-rock stars the Lemonheads' third album, "Lick."
Over the past year, he produced and issued records by Lolo's Ghost, the Grande Machine and Cerveza Muscular, and was starting to record tracks for Faith Boblett.
Katzman and his wife of 34 years, Penny Myers, have two sons, Ben and Nick. He grew up on Lake Minnetonka with two older brothers, attending St. Cloud State and the University of Minnesota before going to work with Jesperson at the legendary scene-making shop Oar Folkjokeopus.
"If you were going to get hired at Oar Folk, 1976 was the right time, two months before the Sex Pistols single came out," he recently told musician Paul Metsa.
Maggie Macpherson said she often turned to her childhood friend for advice when she became a talent booker at the Uptown Bar, and "he never failed to have his finger on what was going on."
"He was a guy who got up in the morning and was very happy to go work behind a record store counter," said Macpherson. "He came from a really great, fun family of characters, and he stayed that way himself."
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658 • @ChrisRstrib