Allan “Blaze” Blazek, a respected rock ‘n’ roll engineer and producer of albums by the Eagles, the Who, Joe Walsh, the J. Geils Band, Elvin Bishop, Johnny Winter, REO Speedwagon, Rick Derringer and more, died in Michigan City, Ind. on August 3. He was 71.
Blazek engineered numerous records, including the Eagles’ classic, “Hotel California.” When the Eagles broke up, Blazek went on to produce Glenn Frey’s first solo album, “No Fun Aloud.” Songs he engineered include “Life in the Fast Lane,” “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo” and “Life’s Been Good.”
Born in New Buffalo, Mich. joined the U.S. Army at the height of the Vietnam War, joining a unit of actors and musicians who toured bases using comedic skits to teach enlisted men how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
While stationed in Germany, Blazek listened closely to records sent from a friend who worked for Warner Bros. music. He decided the best sounding of them were made by blues and R&B producer Bill Szymczyk. Once out of the army, Blazek tracked down Szymczyk, telling him that he wanted a job. Blazek convinced his mentor that the GI Bill would pay his stipend if Szymczyk trained him in his new job as recording engineer. It worked. Blazek earned dozens of gold and platinum records with an array of rock’s biggest acts.
Blaze is survived by his sister Lovey Wolnik of Three Oaks, Mich., his younger brother Frank “Buddy” Blazek Jr., of Reno, Nev., and 13 nieces and nephews.