The Mix family lost a dear friend and colleague on Sunday night when longtime technical editor Kevin Becka passed away after a brief bout with cancer. He was 65.
The many years with Mix, where he assigned, wrote and edited product previews, new product announcements, and technology trends, represented only a small portion of Kevin’s rich and varied life in audio.
In the mid-1970s he left Phoenix as a guitar player and headed for Los Angeles. He was attracted to recording and developed his engineering skills, working with the likes of artists George Benson, Natalie Cole, Kenny G and Quincy Jones, and engineer Mick Guzauski. He built studios with new friends, engineers Dave Rideau and Erik Zobler. He got to know people all over town.
In the mid-1990s he left L.A. for Nashville, then D,C., where he began his journalism career with Audio Media. He joined Mix in 2003, brought onto the team after an introduction through another of his longtime friends, Mix editor Sarah Jones. He worked part-time (though he had the output of a full-timer!) while at his new gig as an educator at the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences back in Phoenix.
In 2013 he began what he would consider the “culmination of everything I’ve learned in audio” when he helped launch The Blackbird Academy in Nashville as co-director with Mark Rubel, under the guidance of owner John McBride. A Kevin Becka Scholarship will soon be set up in his honor.
More details of Kevin’s life in audio will come in the weeks ahead, including a tribute in the pages of Mix.
But on a personal note, Kevin was a friend. I would stay in his house in Nashville and witness up close the rest of his life, which he shared with his wonderful wife, Helen, and her two sons, Marshall and Connor. He and Helen regularly fostered dogs, many of them his beloved Pomeranians, and they worked with local animal rescue organizations.
He was an avid cyclist, and recently coordinated a fundraising SF-to LA ride to support a Blackbird Academy student who had become paralyzed while riding home from school one day and being hit by texting driver.
He loved gadgets, especially consumer tech, and regularly would have something new to show off, like his new living room lights controlled by his iPhone, offering 4096 hues. Or the new Zoom camera when it first appeared. Or his soundbar. Or his new pocket amp for high-quality desktop listening on the go. He also liked fine wine.
And with each new discovery, he would take great joy in talking about it, No product was too big or too small. I think that’s what ultimately led him to teaching and what made him such a great instructor. He loved to share things he had learned. And he was good at it.
While at Mix, that meant new products for an audience he loved. While at Blackbird, that meant a true commitment to educating the next generation of engineers, ones who would share his enthusiasm for the art and science of recording.
Kevin, my friend, that happened too soon and too fast. I already miss your bald head and the way you could giggle like a 13-year-old, never faltering in your enthusiasm for life and what came with each new day.
Love you, brother.