Scott Koenig, former manager of the metal bands Biohazard and Fear Factory and a veteran of the early Def Jam Records/ Rush Communications company that managed or released albums by the Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, Slayer and others, has died. He was 57; the cause of death was not announced at the time of this article’s publication.
A native of Staten Island, Koenig got his start as “the metal guy” at Vinyl Mania and It’s Only Rock n’ Roll, two of the many major record stores in New York’s Greenwich Village during the 1980s. He attended New York University with Rick Rubin and introduced the Def Jam co-founder to Slayer, who became the first non-rap signing to the label; Rubin produced several of their albums, including the career-defining “Reign in Blood” and “South of Heaven.” Koenig later brought the Chicago doom-metal act Trouble to the label, whom Rubin also signed and produced. Soft-spoken and low-key, in contrast to the loud music and musicians he worked with, Koenig was a familiar face on the New York music scene of the era and appears in the Beasties’ 1986 video for “Fight for Your Right to Party” (that’s him with the fake eyepatch getting a pie in the face).
Koenig briefly managed Slayer and worked for Rush into the 1990s, hitting his groove managing the New York punk-metal outfit Biohazard, who released nine studio albums over the next 20 years. Koenig cut a deal for the band to release its second album, 1992’s “Urban Discipline,” on indie metal powerhouse Roadrunner Records, ironically after they’d signed with Warner Bros. (a common tactic during the era, also used by Guns N’ Roses and Pearl Jam precursor Mother Love Bone, to build “underground buzz” before the major-label debut). In 1995 he began managing Roadrunner metal act Fear Factory. Around this time he founded King Management and moved to Los Angeles, where he was a regular on the city’s metal scene, particularly at the legendary Rainbow Bar N’ Grill.
Information on survivors was not immediately available.