Words: Matt Innes
The sudden passing of Australian music industry icon and founder of Mushroom Records Michael Gudinski has left a gaping hole in many hearts.
Michael reportedly passed away peacefully in his sleep overnight [1 March], at the age of 68.
To those who knew him personally, Michael was a cunning entrepreneur, earning the nickname ‘The Professor’ for his ability to predict trends and manoeuvre his business accordingly.
For ever so many others, he is the man who all-but singlehandedly made the Australian music industry and its artists what they are today in terms of international exposure and recognition.
Michael founded Mushroom Records in 1972 when he was 20. A grand wealth of successful Australian artists and bands were released via the label, including Skyhooks, The Angels, Jimmy Barnes, Kate Ceberano, The Church, Renee Geyer, both Kylie and Dannii Minogue, Katie Noonan, and many more.
Michael expanded his interests into live production with the establishment of Frontier Touring in 1979, bringing high-profile international acts to Australia.
Through his shrewd guidance, The Mushroom Group today is the largest independent music and entertainment company in Australia.
A larger-than-life character in his own right, Michael left his indelible impression on everyone he met.
MADCAP Global Managing Director Stephen Morris, who worked for Michael and Mushroom Records during the 1990s, expresses his deep condolences to the Gudinski family at this time.
“Michael was a pioneering visionary,” Stephen says. “Australian music lost its larrikin son today. A great man the industry will long miss.”
The Mushroom Group released its own statement today, an extract of which reads:
“Michael’s family loved him immensely and Michael in turn adored his wife Sue, son Matt and partner Cara, daughter Kate and husband Andrew and their children Nina-Rose and Lulu.
“They meant everything to him, and he was immensely proud of them. Michael often referred to his 200+ staff as the Mushroom Family, with many having clocked decades in his employment.
“Michael’s legacy will live on through his family and the enormously successful Mushroom Group – an enduring embodiment of decades of passion and determination from an incredible man.”
The family also respectfully asks for privacy, with no further comment at this time.
Tributes have flowed in throughout today from all sectors of the music industry.
Bruce Springsteen, via Sony Music Australia:
“My friend Michael Gudinski was first, last, and always a music man.
I’ve toured the world for the last fifty years and never met a better promoter. Michael always spoke with a deep rumbling voice, and the words would spill out so fast that half the time I needed an interpreter.
But I could hear him clear as a bell when he would say, “Bruce, I’ve got you covered.” And he always did.
He was loud, always in motion, intentionally (and unintentionally) hilarious, and deeply soulful.
He will be remembered by artists, including this one, from all over the world every time they step foot on Australian soil.
My deepest condolences to his wife and partner Sue and to the whole Gudinski family, of which he was so proud.”
It’s a sentiment being expressed right across the global music industry, from superstars like Bruce Springsteen, to the many production personnel who worked closely with him.
Dee Dimmick, founder and Crew Chief of Australia’s premier production company All Access Crewing released the following personal statement:
RIP to a great man and mentor!
So blessed to know you, so sad that I won’t get to see your cheeky face again😢 you will be so missed by this industry you forefathered!
Sincere condolences to all of Michael’s family and friends and to his close industry colleagues and peers. Who will carry your torch now, Sir?
Michael Gudinski will certainly be remembered fondly by his family, friends, peers, colleagues, business associates and the music industry at-large.
Few will ever walk beyond the shadow cast by his legacy.
Here’s to you, Michael; thank you for all you achieved for the Australian music industry, and may you rest in peace.