I first met Michael Bassin in 1990 when we were both working at Important Record Distributors (IRD is RED today) out in Hollis, Queens. It was a period of transformation in the independent music distribution business as large distribution companies like IRD/RED were starting to replace the regional networks of distributors. We were all jammed into a small warehouse office space and every day I walked by our all star sales team which included Larry Germack, Mike Worthington, Frank Mazza (who sat next to Michael and is also gone way too soon), Ed Franke and Michael, at least a half dozen times a day. This would give them the opportunity to torture me over the artistic merits of the latest label that we allowed Alan Becker to bring in for distribution or latest Combat/In-Effect/Relativity in-house release, the latest new company sales or administrative policies I had introduced, the working conditions (which were awful for all of us), etc. Michael and Mark Lipsitz, the two guys from Kansas, were the discussion ringleaders and every conversation ended with Michael, egged on by his colleagues, smiling and, heavy on his mid-western accent inflection, saying “you know Rich, that ain’t right”. Michael was the ringleader as he was thoughtful, smart, respected and loved. Our time in Hollis was a time of openness, free speech and camaraderie with no corporate BS (we made money and we were left alone) and it was the best job I ever had. Michael was one of the people who made it that way and over the years as our paths constantly crossed and re-crossed Michael and I always picked up our conversation as if we had just spoken the day before. Michael will be missed by us all.
Our entire industry’s deepest condolences go out to his wife Annie and their kids Max and Sydney. The memorial service for Michael Bassin was held on Saturday March 5th at the Quaker Meeting House, 110 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 and the service was beautiful as the industry turned out to remember Michael.
Please note that in lieu of flowers Annie would welcome contributions to the College Savings Plan that is being established for Max and Sydney.
Checks should be made payable to “Ugift – New York’s 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan” and sent to David Orleans at ADA:
3400 W. Olive Avenue
Burbank, CA 91505