Radio Chavura (tributes)
The Day the Music Died: Barry Fey (1939-2013)

By Maxwell Rotbart

"And Who The $&%^ Are You?"    

Those are the words of greeting that legendary rock 'n' roll concert promoter Barry Fey said to me when we first met in November 2011. Mr. Fey had come to the 710 KNUS AM studios - where we tape our weekly business news magazine, Business Unconventional - to talk about rock concerts as an industry and his newly published autobiography, Backstage Past.

In addition to my weekly role as co-host of Radio Chavura (airing on KNUS's sister station, 990 KRKS AM), I help produce Business Unconventional, which my father, Dean, co-hosts.

When Mr. Fey arrived at our station, I escorted him inside the recording studio, monitored the timing of the interview that my father taped with him, and was constantly running in and out of the production room.

When the program ended, members of the station staff came and introduced themselves to the legend who brought Led Zeppelin, U2, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, The Who and Jimi Hendrix, among others, to Denver. 

I stood in the back of the radio studio, observing the photo-ops. Then, all of a sudden, Mr. Fey turned straight to me and barked: "And Who The $&%^ Are You?"  It was pure Barry Fey.

My father once described Mr. Fey as an "M&M" - hard shell on the outside, but sweet within. The comparison was spot on. Months later, when Mr. Fey joined a group of students from the Denver Academy of Torah High School during our first ever recording session of Radio Chavura, he was endearing. 

Mr. Fey, who attended Hebrew school and was Bar Mitzvahed, spoke frankly with the students about his religious beliefs and Jewish upbringing. He also offered many of the students encouragement, in addition to answering their questions about his fabled career as the head of Feyline, his company for 30 years.

When he left the studio that second time - April 27, 2012, a year and a day before his passing - I held the door open for him. Mr. Fey bade me a warm farewell and strode down the hall, beaming. He had just created a new generation of fans.

Goodbye, Barry Fey.  

[Hear him discuss his Jewish upbringing - 60 secs]

[Hear his entire 14 minute radio segment, taped in April 2012, featuring students from the Denver Academy of Torah High School.]

Photo:  Barry Fey and Maxwell Rotbart

Category:Tributes -- posted at: 10:33am MDT