Planet of the Tapes

The Incredible Life and Sounds of Studio Wiz Kearney Barton


This guy was hoarding with a reason.
His family should donate some of that gear to young record producers without any money....
Holdin on to the analog age, I love it.
Don't suppose his family will donate some of that gear to poor young musicians...
Yeah, selfish bastard trying to pay his medical bills.
Kearney Barton should be revered in this town like no other. You can't even begin to get your brain around what a masterful recording engineer he was, and how critical he was to Seattle's early rock scene.
Cue Wm. S. Burroughs: "Nothing left now but the recordings...".

I have a hard time believing that the AMPEXi are in good shape. Rat shit is very hard on gear (and recordists who manage to get old). Restorable, sure, with cubic money and help from aging Ampexians who have plenty of project decks already backed up in storage.

Send the good German mikes to Klaus Heine in Oregon, treasure the 666 'cause their ain't parts to fix her. Betcha there are/were more nice less-celebrated (useful, not big $$$) EV mikes in there that will record again in Seattle.

Use what is available and make the best of it!

Thanks KB.

Kearney produced the first Bad Things album back in 2004 and we'll always remember him fondly for his great stories and seemingly endless stream of jokes. The man was an engineering genius and we were really hoping to work with him again someday...a true Northwest music legend. We love you Kearney -The Bad Things
As someone who has known Kearney for over 30 years, has played pool on the "hidden" pool table, and eaten at his house, and experienced the genius his work, I cannot fathom why the writer of this article spends so much time focusing on a house in transition.

Yes, Kearney's organization practices are different from many people, but as someone in the article pointed out, he could find a tape in a heartbeat if he needed.

Kearney had a most wonderful collection of gear but the thing that continues to make him great, as jokes about "getting old is not for the faint of heart" is the quiet grace he carries with him to this day.

Over the years I've watched him take everything that walked through the door and do the very best he could for every single person. It didn't matter whether it was an internationally famous composer, a figure skater on her way up or a street musician who had saved their money to make a record; Kearney gave them the benefit of his skills and created the best recording he could. He never asked for much in return, just a fair payment for his time.

Matthew Sutton

I know Uncle Kearney personally and sadly all his equipment is being sold to help pay for his medical expenses. There would be no way to donate the equipment. Did you know it can cost as much as $10,000 and more a month for a nursing home, and he has been in for almost 4 years straight :(

Uncle Kearney could make the BEST apple pie ever!
Kearney's recordings are amazing, from the Kingsmen to the Bad Things, his work echoed the sound of the Northwest. I have always respected his music and all I've read about him; I especially like the photos I've seen of his house and music organization. Hehe, how does one "discover" a pool table in their house anyway?

He also made the BEST cookies and always seemed to have a platter-full ready to pass out.

Definitely most important is how generous, intelligent, and focused he has been in both his professional and personal life- I agree with Matthew Sutton.

I was involved with the making of 2 records in his studio and he has worked the sound board on countless concerts.
He was always warm,engaged, and just the best!
Jill Ann Johnson
Kearney could make cuts in music like nobody else. He could make anything sound like it was the original recording.

As a neighbor and customer I hightly respected him. We enjoyed sharing each others baked goods as well as puns and jokes. We also share a great love for cats and wonder what has happened to his during this time.

Best wishes to you always, Kearney.
Yvonne Hunt
I was fortunate enough to take a course from him in the '80s at NSCC. On a 'field trip' he took two of us to a live recording he was doing of the local college (h.s.??) jazz ensemble. Just the sight of the AMPEX machines had me salivating - as I'd been engaged in audio since the '60s.
He was as warm and wonderful as his sound. A true gentle man. RIP