Still recovering from the passing of Giovanni Faccendini in December, I am further saddened by the loss of another friend of long standing. Paul Rosenberg was – during the years he was active with Mondial – one of the best pals I’ve ever known. Hearing that he passed away on 1 March closed the cover that bit further on a chapter in hi-fi that most remember with a mix of exhilaration and fondness.
Along with his partner-in-crime, the late Tony Federici, Paul injected some much-needed fun and humour into what was becoming a po’faced, navel-gazing, miserable industry. It was the era of Linn’n’Naim, the ill-fated AAHEA, the threat of CD and other concerns that were stripping out joy.
Paul and Tony were what Italians call “menefreghiste” (right, Tony?) – guys who just don’t give shit. CES? Aaah. Let’s throw a party! So they did, and they even coerced the industry’s best musicians, like Perkins and Atkinson and Doris, to form a band.
Name an amp after a character in Lord of the Rings? Sure! Hire Robbii Wessen to make it look cool? Yeah! Have Dan D’Agostino design it, have it built in the USA by military contractors, sell it for a sane price and you have … a poor man’s Krell!!!
Paul – and Tony – rocked. I attended shows all over the world where they caused mayhem … and made a lot of audiophiles happy. They looked after me like a kid brother, especially Paul because we shared a cultural and religious heritage. They were there to keep me from passing out in the heat in Hong Kong in August, asked me to write the liner notes to the CD that followed on from one of their parties. We shared Chinese food in Vegas, deli in NYC.
After they sold Mondial, Tony left the industry and – as would Paul – died too young. Paul popped up on occasion, but I hadn’t heard from him in a few years. Asking those who might have known his whereabouts yielded nothing. And now I learn that he is gone.
Paul, you will never know how much I missed you this past decade. When you find Tony up there in heaven, try to keep him from hustling God or chewing off his ear. One thing is for certain: he needs you to look after him, even in the hereafter.