Aug 2022 13

In the years since its inception in 1993, Metropolis Records has become something of a household name to the entire world of music, having successfully fostered some of the most innovative and impactful talents in electronic and industrial music. The label has been one of the most significant entities for those genres on this side of the Atlantic, often providing distribution and exposure in North America for musicians and bands around the world. So, when the news struck at the end of this past July that Metropolis Records founder Dave Heckman had passed away… well, shock and sadness don’t even begin to cover the emotional tailspin that the electro/industrial music community began to endure. Log on to your social media feeds, and it would be impossible not to read a tremendous outpouring of condolence and mourning for Heckman’s family and the many artists for which he provided a home at Metropolis Records; even those who did not know him personally would express the effects this man had on their sense of artistic and musical identity. Quite simply, it’s nigh impossible for anybody in this scene to not have been touched in even the smallest way by Metropolis Records given the breadth of artists and styles Heckman and the label championed – always seeking out new sounds and creative visions to cultivate and introduce to audiences, touching on the myriad of subgenres from goth to EBM, futurepop to industrial, power noise to synthpop, punk to indie rock, and so much more.
Tribute PosterWe at ReGen Magazine would even go so far as to say that in many ways, we owe much of our own existence to Mr. Heckman and Metropolis Records. Even as our hearts are weighed down by his tragic loss, we all persevere and adopt the spirit of Heckman’s love for this scene in hopes of creating the light to guide us through dark. Needless to say, Metropolis Records will continue onward, as Dave Heckman would have wanted.
For now, ReGen presents this collection of testimonial tributes to Dave Heckman from those who had the opportunity to work with and know him best. We hope that this serves as a small memoriam to a man whose importance in our musical community must never be forgotten or understated, as well as a statement of gratitude to Dave Heckman for all that he accomplished and for the love of music that he shared with all of us.


“Dave was, first and foremost, one of my dearest friends. That said, together we rebuilt the KMFDM catalogue after the disastrous outcome of my decade-long loyalty to WaxTrax! Records and it’s pitiful demise at the hands of TVT. Today, KMFDM’s catalogue of 22 studio albums and many special releases
reside in the worthy halls of Metropolis Records. Stronger than never, ever before, thank you Dave. R.I.P. I’ll see you on the other side!”
Sascha “Käpt’n K” Konietzko (KMFDM)


“Dave was immensely supportive, not only to the group, but also to me personally, helping massively with logistical support for this solo acoustic tour that I’m currently on. I met him in person just a few weeks ago at our show in Philadelphia, which he told me he greatly enjoyed and that Script of the Bridge, the Chameleons’ first album, was one of his all-time favorite records. Afterwards over drinks, we exchanged stories of our experiences around music and bands into the early hours. I know people who would buy records on the Metropolis label before they’d even heard them simply because Dave had put them out – such was the trust they had in the ethos of the label. To say I was shocked a short time after that meeting to learn that he’d suddenly passed on would be an understatement. Dave Heckman through his label Metropolis was a cornerstone of the underground music scene. So many bands and artists owe him their gratitude and his passing is a huge, huge loss.”
Mark Burgess (The Chameleons)


“When we received an offer from Metropolis Records in 2018, it was like a dream because many musicians we love have been released by them. Dave supported us in every way, and we felt honored by this (last time only few weeks ago). We had the chance to spend time with him and his wife Gail in Philadelphia during our first U.S. tour, all our positive impressions were confirmed, and we have wonderful memories of that weekend. When we read about the news, our hearts broke. We’ll
never forget him.”
Alessandro Belluccio (Ash Code)


“We are totally gutted to hear this absolutely devastating news of his sudden death. Dave was the best in all terms. His heart was always in the right place concerning his artists and friends. He was a rare gem in the world of the record industry. This is a big loss to all of us. Our hearts go out for his family and the staff of Metropolis. This will take some time to really believe that this is true. Godspeed Dave. We all loved you very much! It was an honor to have worked with you, spend good times with you, and to have known you.”
Ronny Moorings (Clan of Xymox)


“It’s been a personal ambition of mine to be on Metropolis Records, but it feels bittersweet at the moment. I was very saddened and shocked to hear about the sudden death of Dave Heckman, the label’s founder. He was a great supporter of Kill Shelter and I’ll be forever in his debt. My thoughts are with his wife and family and the wonderful team at Metropolis at this very difficult time.”
Pete Burns (Kill Shelter)


“It was very sad to hear the news of Dave’s passing. He was one of the pillars and supporters of electronic and industrial music in the U.S., who gave many European artists and bands the opportunity to be heard on the other side of the Atlantic. He will definitely be missed, and not just by us. R.I.P. Dave.”
Jürgen Engler (Die Krupps, Die Klute)


“Meeting Dave was like running into an old friend. He radiated love and put a wonderful vibe in the air. His absence will feel like not being able to find the handle when you reach for the door. This will be a bitter pill for us all to swallow.”
Doruk Öztürkcan (She Past Away)


“Dave was extremely straightforward, which could be jarring, but also made things so much easier. You didn’t have to question where you stood. If he said he had your back, he had your back, and that support changed a lot of people’s lives, ours included.”
Donna Lynch (Ego Likeness)


“What I appreciated most in Dave was that he stayed a ‘normal’ person despite his wealth and success. Many people (especially many music artists) turn into egotistical assholes once they get successful, but Dave stayed on the ground, stayed nice and plain likable. He really cared about the scene, his staff, and his bands, and put people over money. Therefore, his loss for the North American music scene is simple immeasurable.”
Stefan Herwig (Dependent Records)


“Aside from his business acumen, I think the thing that made Dave successful as a label manager was his passion for music. It wasn’t just that he loved music, but that he wanted to share that and make it accessible to other music fans. When we’d schedule business calls, it would typically take us at least 45 minutes before we got around to discussing any business because we’d end up getting sidetracked talking about cool shows we’d gone to see or new bands we were digging. I’m going to miss those calls dearly. The North American industrial scene wouldn’t be anywhere near where it is now without Dave’s influence, and he leaves giant shoes to fill in his absence.”
Tom Shear (Assemblage 23, Helix)


“Dave would invite me over to listen to advance copies of new releases. We would discuss what the first single would be. I would sometimes disagree and say that a different track was going to be the ‘dance floor hit.’ He would tell me his rationale as to why certain songs were picked as singles versus other songs. Sometimes we argued about it, but we always laughed at the end of the conversation. Those conversations helped me to be a better DJ.”
DJ Melting Girl


“I met Dave in 1995 around the time he started Metropolis Records with the U.S. license of two Love Is Colder Than Death albums. We did a lot of business together over the years; but more than that, Dave was a friend to Projekt. He gave freely with thoughts and advice. Projekt started 12 years before Metropolis, but Dave’s label grew huge quickly as it signed European acts for the U.S.A. And yet, Dave was always Dave: friendly and curious. We’d get together whenever one of us was in the other’s town, catching up on the industry. Our friendship never felt competitive, always collaborative. Our most recent email exchange was the week before his death – I messaged about a change at Bandcamp. It still seems a bit unreal. Dave was a great guy. This is such sad news.”
Sam Rosenthal (Projekt Records, Black Tape For a Blue Girl)


“Losing Dave is really hard because they just don’t make many people like him, especially in the world of record companies. He had a casual swagger because he knew his business, had a sense of what would do well in his market, and that would translate to artist friendly yet realistic and honest handlings. On top of that, he was just a fun guy to be around and a kind soul. The world lost a gem of a human being and I miss him already.”
Rhys Fulber (Front Line Assembly, Delerium, Noise Unit)


“Dave was like a best friend, an older brother, and a father figure. Much more than that, he said that we were the first band he signed of major importance and over the last 35 years, it’s been the best ride that anybody could be on. He cared about everybody on his label, big and small, and always stuck to the
underground scene. He was an honest, kind, and totally lovable guy. Metropolis Records was probably the most important independent label now going for this music, so it’s a massive loss. This will change our ways of doing business in the music world and I’m still in shock. The world lost a truly unique individual who made a massive difference in our music scene. He will be missed dearly and never replaced.”
Bill Leeb (Front Line Assembly, Delerium, Noise Unit)


“After spending most of the ’90s constantly touring and recording with Spahn Ranch, I was burned out. I decided to take ‘a break’ from being a vocalist, then sent out dozens of resumes to record labels and left L.A. to go home to Brooklyn. Of the dozens of resumes, I received one offer – it was from Dave at Metropolis, who quite literally saved my ass. Later, once I started recording again, of course it was Dave who signed my project NØIR. Dave Heckman was my friend. He always looked out for me as an artist and behind the scenes in business. Dave was a good person, a true Renaissance man who used his own success to consistently elevate those around him. I will always be indebted to him.”
Athan Maroulis (NØIR, Spahn Ranch)


“In all our years of working with labels good and bad, I can say no-one treated The Pink Dots better than Dave. He was just always there, supporting us through thick and thin, coming to our shows, sharing stories. Bless you Dave. We’ll miss you.”
Edward Ka-Spel (The Legendary Pink Dots, Tear Garden)


“Dave was much more than my label boss. He was a friend, fan, and facilitator, and he leaves a massive hole in all our lives. He was the glue between us, giving a platform to so many artists providing rich, ripe industrial fruit for fans of the genre to feed on. What a legacy he leaves. Thanks for everything Dave. We miss you.”
Raymond Watts (PIG, KMFDM)


“It’s sad that it takes a death for one to ponder the great significance a single person can make for a scene. When there was such a thing as a scene, it had to be supported by people who helped build it into what it can potentially become. Dave Heckman has always been that impetus. I thank Dave for all the support he gave over our 25-year-plus relationship. Dave supported the creation of Music For Cats when t really made no sense. (Laughs) In addition, he supported creative endeavors such as PlatEAU and DubCon, something he knew wasn’t going to sell big. Nevertheless, he supported us. I’m also thankful for Dave actually changing my life. I mentioned I had found a house that could encompass life and studio in one place, for what was essentially a dream. Dave said, ‘Okay, I’ll help make that happen.’ Dave immigrated me and I became an artist for Metropolis Records 25 years ago. I acquired the house where ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ was written. With that said, I think of Dave Heckman often, and now even more. R.I.P. Dave.”
cEvin Key (Skinny Puppy, Download, Tear Garden, PlaTEAU, Hilt, Involution)


“Dave was a massive force in our little scene. What he did for our music will forever stand out as something unique. We lost one of the best. My heart goes out to all the lives he touched.”
Claus Larsen (Leæther Strip, Klutæ, Die Klute)


“Not only was Dave the most decent, fair, music-loving label owner; he was also a dear sweet friend of mine. An amazing soul with a kind ear, great music business sense, and an open mind. This world has been changed by his many contributions to it. He’s one of a kind. I feel blessed to call him my friend.”
Yone Dudas (Decoded Feedback)


“I was a neophyte promoter when I got The Sisters of Mercy to agree to fly to the U.S. for an exclusive gig. It was orders of magnitude more complicated than anything I’d done yet – the singer insisted on smoking on the airplane and demanded lights so expensive that they had to be insured. But Dave believed in me and financed the show, which was the only way it could have happened. He’s also the one who got Lloyd’s of London to insure the lights. I’ll miss his support and faith in me, and especially his friendship.”
Patrick Rodgers (Dancing Ferret Concerts)


“Dave inspired me. I remember the first time I ever talked to him. It was when he called me to talk about releasing a benefit compilation I was doing at the time. I was so nervous. The thing is, I didn’t know this guy, but he talked to me for 45 minutes about healthcare, politics, and the state of the industry. It was like we were instant friends. I was lucky enough to continue that conversation over drinks with him at the Kinetik Festival in 2011. I idolized Dave. He had a passion for music that I wish so many more people had. Though he is gone, he leaves behind one hell of a legacy. Thanks for everything, Dave. Rest in peace.”
Jim Semonik (Distortion Productions, Electronic Saviors)


For Dave Heckman
(1954 – 2022)

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1 Comment

  1. Big B says:

    Wow, I just started today to really accept the loss. I dont want to, but I must. How many bands I have discovered solely because Dave brought them out of the dark and into the light of fandom.

    Love you Mr. Heckman
    Rest in darkness my friend.

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