Tixie’s death leaves void at Anchor Studio
Gussie Clarke remembers engineer
“Family” was the word used by music industry veteran and producer extraordinaire Gussie Clarke when describing engineer, Donald ‘Tixie’ Dixon, whose death last Friday stunned the industry. Tixie, who had been battling cancer, passed away at home in Florida. He had turned 47 on March 26.
“We were here at the studio when we got the call that Tixie had died. And I later got a message from his son. It was a kinda curved ball in a sense because we were certainly not expecting it,” explained Clarke, at whose Anchor Recording Studio, Dixon had worked for over two decades.
He recalled that the talented engineer, producer, and sound system owner originally had a cyst over his eye and was advised to do an operation. “But yuh know how these things can be, the operation can affect your eyesight, but the cyst was growing. Then he went missing from the studio for a while, and subsequently, he communicated to say that he was in Florida with his father. Then about two years ago, he told us that he was being treated for cancer,” the owner and CEO of Anchor Studios disclosed.
Clarke said Tixie was a “kind of secretive person”, and everyone respected that. He noted, however, that a member of the Anchor team had seen the engineer two months ago, “and from the amount of weight that he had lost, it was indicative that something was wrong”.
Tixie officially joined Anchor Recording Studio in 1995, and Clarke, with whom Tixie co-incidentally shares the same birthday, spoke glowingly of his work attitude and accomplishments. “He came here [to the studio] as an apprentice, and he was full of manners and eager to learn. His work ethic was of the highest standard, and that was one of the things we loved and appreciated about him. He was that no-nonsense person who had no time to be involved in idle argument, and once he’s here, his focus is to get the job done and leave. We used to joke and seh quicksilver in Tixie head,” Clarke told The Gleaner.
He noted that efficiency was critical to the engineer who was recruited by acclaimed reggae artiste, Anthony B, as his official touring engineer. “Although he was here on staff, we allowed him the flexibility to tour because of simple economics. So he would go off and do his thing, and when the tour ended, he would come back and still have his job right here,” Clarke explained. “His death has definitely left a void in our lives. We love him; we check fi him; we appreciate him. He was a good complement to our team.”
Disbelief was the theme of a tribute written by Anthony B. In an Instagram post on the weekend, he wrote, “My brother Donald ‘TIXIE’ Dixon. Gone too soon, my engineer. See you again one day, my fambo. [I] am still in disbelief [and] sad!! #Condolences to the Dixon family at this time of mourning!”
There have been several tributes from the fraternity, with many of them starting with the same two words, “Jah know”. Breadback Productions stated, “Jah know Tixie a [you] put mi ya so in a the music. Hurt mi heart fi see [you] drop flesh. Still can’t come to grip say [you] nuh deh ya nuh more. Love and respect [you] as a big brother.”
Sizzla, another artiste who respected Tixie’s work and subsequently liaised with him on several projects at Anchor, also took to social media to remember his friend. He posted a picture of himself and Tixie and stated, “Great engineer Tixie R.I.P. Nuff works you do fah wi as artistes in this music industry.”
In 2004, Tixie did audio production on Sizzla’s Life and mixed and did engineering work on his 2010 album, Crucial Times. He also produced two songs on Sizzla’s Blaze Up The Chalwa album and mixed The Messiah in 2013. He produced Love Being Together for his own True Love Records label.
Other artistes with whom Tixie worked on various projects were Bunny Wailer, Mighty Diamonds, Bounty Killer, Lady G and Junior Kelly. He was also the engineer on Gun Shot, which appeared on Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday (Roman Reloaded) album.