Whitinsville, MA, (September 23, 2011)—Veteran FOH engineer and EAW rep Moray McMillin has died at 58 after an extended battle with cancer.
McMillin toured with everyone from Black Sabbath and Deep Purple to Motorhead and Siouxsie and the Banshees during their heydays, before leaving the road to work at EAW, most recently in the company’s Application Support Group as an EMEA representative.
“We are all just devastated,” said EAW president Jeff Rocha. “Moray was one of the unforgettable characters that make up this industry and a consummate professional. He was a true friend, one of those people you can’t help but want to spend time with. So full of life…I’m heartbroken.”
Moray McMillin was born on July 20, 1953, in Hertfordshire, England. The mid-seventies saw Moray start his audio career as a “school leaver” with the Kinks and then with UK sound rental company Tasco on Marshalsea Road, London. He earned his on-the-road stripes there, working for Tasco’s Joe Brown.
By 1980, he crossed the Atlantic to take root in Los Angeles, honing his production skills for the English hard rock invasion of Black Sabbath, Saxon and a solo Ozzy Osbourne. His formative and learning years culminated with his appointment as front-of-house engineer on Motörhead’s legendary Ace of Spades tour.
He returned to the UK as a freelance engineer and took up front-of-house duties with bands such as Siouxsie and the Banshees and Whitesnake. However, it was as Deep Purple’s engineer over a 10-year period that Moray made his mark, touring the planet with an EAW loudspeaker system.
It was this affection for the EAW brand that convinced him in 2005 to make the huge leap from a life on the road to a comfortable seat in the UK sales office, selling EAW loudspeaker systems and visiting the very companies for whom he once worked. A few years later, he joined EAW’s Application Support Group as EMEA representative. The more technical role suited him, and he reportedly flourished designing sound systems for a variety of venues that were familiar to him from his touring days. A skilled linguist, McMillin was known for often communicating with customers in their native tongue, something that always made them remember him.
Colleagues recalled McMillin as a tireless worker with loads of personal charm. Earlier this year, McMillin reportedly charmed his way into and out of France without a passport, just to attend the ISE trade show in Amsterdam.
McMillin was diagnosed with cancer in early 2010. He fought it both homeopathically and also through traditional methods, drawing strength from his friendship with fellow cancer sufferer and Black Sabbath band member Ronnie James Dio as they encouraged each other through their illnesses. McMillin attended Dio’s funeral in Los Angeles last year, reconnecting with many of his old touring friends, even if it was under the saddest of circumstances. He was very involved in Dio’s funeral arrangements, including a live concert by Queensrÿche in the cemetery in front of 1,200 fans. He was also honored to be one of the pallbearers when the fans had gone and his friend was laid to rest.
In a press statement, EAW noted, “Moray’s joy for life was at all times apparent, and he was particularly fond of dancing (despite his hard rock heritage!). He was a true gentleman who never ceased staying strong against his ailment. Whether attending a trade show, visiting a dealer, working a concert or just hanging out with a FOH engineer, Moray fought the disease privately and with great dignity. With a complete absence of self-pity, Moray never let his illness affect anything he did for EAW, and he was always a motivating and driving force to everyone around him. At each stage of Moray’s treatment he wouldn’t rest until he found the information or person that could help him fight his cancer. And in typical Moray fashion, he got his responsibilities for the UK’s big tradeshow PLASA out of the way before he passed.”
McMillin is survived by his wife Antonella and two sons. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be sent to:
The Hospice of Saint Francis
Spring Garden Lane,
Berkhamsted, Herts, HP4 3GW.
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
Wednesday, September 28, 2:30 pm
The Church of St. Nicholas
Harpenden, Hertfordshire. AL5 2TP