Cathedral City, CA—Touring audio veteran Rick “Ricco” Massei passed away unexpectedly earlier this year, at home in Cathedral City, California. He spent 45 years traveling the globe as a monitor/FOH engineer, broadcast mixer, tour manager, and corporate events production specialist—roles that found him working with and for the likes of Sade, Chicago, Stevie Wonder, Waylon Jennings, Bette Midler, the Everly Brothers and others over the course of his career.
Massei worked for audio and event production pros such as Stanley Miller. Over the years, this list grew to include Larry Estrin, Patrick Stansfield, Robert (Bob) Ludwig, Bob Goldstein, Mike Stahl and Al Siniscal. On his inaugural pro tour in 1975 as a roadie and monitor engineer for Stevie Wonder, Massei celebrated his 22nd birthday in Japan. This quickly led to tours with Parker McGee, Seals & Crofts and El Chicano.
Encompassing all music genres, his career included 22 years with vocalist Bobby McFerrin and his ensembles. Other key touring clients included pop hitmakers England Dan & John Ford Coley, Manhattan Transfer, the Music of Andrew Lloyd Weber, Patti LaBelle, Melissa Manchester and Jeff Golub, among others.
Massei served as audio compound manager at five Super Bowl halftime productions, Salt Lake City Winter Olympics 2002, and World Cup XV; handled live audio duties for four U.S. Presidents—Clinton, Bush, Reagan and Carter—and was a member of the broadcast audio team for Saudi Arabia’s Centennial Celebration.
Born in Blackwell, Oklahoma, he was a member of the Audio Engineering Society, IBEW 45, and IATSE 695. Massei was 68 years old and leaves behind Annie, his wife of 38 years, three brothers, a sister and extended family from California to New York and Sicily.