Local Current Blog

Hopkins native and influential A&R executive Tim Carr passes away


Minnesotan writer, A&R executive, and all-around music supporter Tim Carr was found dead in his apartment in Pattaya, Thailand, yesterday in what police have described as “suspicious circumstances.”

The 57-year-old Hopkins native began his career as a music writer in the ’70s, contributing to Twin Cities publications like the Minnesota Daily and the Star Tribune. Carr was influential to other writers of his era. “I remember certain pieces of [his] like songs,” Jim Walsh told City Pages in 2002. “Like Tim Carr’s piece when the Suicide Commandos broke up. I could quote passages from it. I remember being on the 16 bus reading it, and thinking, this guy’s piece actually meant something.”

He went on to work at the Walker Art Center in the late ’70s and created their M80: The No, New Now Wave Festival, which brought in major acts like Devo and Richard Lloyd to play alongside locals like the Suicide Commandos and Monochrome Set.

In the ’80s Carr directed his attention toward recruiting bands for major record labels. Famously, he helped Capitol Records poach the Beastie Boys from Def Jam and oversaw the group as they recorded Paul’s Boutique. He was also instrumental in getting Babes in Toyland signed to Warner Bros.

“When we got signed, it was before Nirvana got signed, or any of those bands got signed to Warner Bros. It was really weird, because there were no alternative bands getting signed to majors yet, and then that big spree came,” Kat Bjelland of Babes in Toyland told me recently. “So I thought it was just kind of cool, and our A&R guy was not wanting us to change our sound or anything, which was rare. We had a good one, Tim Carr. He signed the Beastie Boys to Capitol, and was really pro-musicians.”

Babes in Toyland drummer Lori Barbero also remembers Carr fondly. “I am a very fortunate person to have been able to spend lots of time, over the course many years, with my dear friend Tim Carr,” she wrote today. “This tragedy has knocked the wind out of me. Thank you Tim, you were like no other.”

According to the Star Tribune’s Jon Bream, Carr moved to Thailand a few years ago to write a novel.


  • bill hanzlik

    In 1977 I made a habit of the Wax Museum on Lake Street. Tim was clerk there part time. I had met Tim at the U of M through a friend a couple of years earlier. We would always have a short chat about friends in common when I checked out. One day he told me I needed to quit buying the garbage records I was buying. Mind you he did it in a non offensive way. I am ashamed to admit today what my musical tastes were before 1977. He made suggestions and I followed them. I am so glad I did as it exposed me to so much of what I had missed in music growing up without an older sibling and with only top 40 on the radio. On one occasion he told me about the new club that opened in Minneapolis, the Longhorn. He urged me to go and see a band called the Suicide Commandos. After a couple of these prompts I did go. It was my first exposure to music club. I had never seen a band up close. I think after the first night I went back every night for two weeks straight. I saw every band that came through from out of town and all the locals for several years and that first exposure to that music and scene profoundly changed my life.The last time I saw Tim and had a chat was at First Ave when Helmet played there quite some years ago. I have not seen it mentioned anywhere else but I believe he also signed Helmet to their first record deal. I am so saddened to hear this news. Rest in Peace Tim. Thank you for the impact on my life.