In a statement publicised by Triple M presenter Rosemary Walton, the younger Cohen sibling explained that Tony had passed away peacefully at Dandenong Hospital earlier this week.
“Tony lived a hard life with drugs and alcohol playing a big part of his professional career,” Cohen’s brother wrote. “He did give them up many years ago but always knew that he would eventually pay for his ‘sins’.
“As brothers we were like chalk and cheese. But, I loved him and fully respect what he achieved in his career. He was technically brilliant, but also a caring, big-hearted man. He sometimes frustrated me [beyond] belief, but I will miss him for the rest of my days.”
The Melbourne-based industry veteran got his start as a sound engineer in the mid-1970s. One of his earliest notable projects was producing the self-titled album for Perth glam-rockers Supernaut before going on to work on The Ferrets’ 1976 debut, Dreams Of A Love.
His renown began to grow and, in 1978, he began what would blossom into a decades-long working relationship with Nick Cave, first by working on Door, Door, the debut album by The Birthday Party (then known as The Boys Next Door) before going on to engineer and produce their self-titled sophomore effort in 1980. He also worked with Cave on eight Bad Seeds albums, beginning with 1984’s seminal From Her To Eternity.
Other artists Cohen worked with over the years include the likes of Models, Hunters & Collectors, The Go-Betweens, The Beasts Of Bourbon (and Tex Perkins), The Cruel Sea, TISM, Dave Graney, Kim Salmon & The Surrealists, Powderfinger, Paul Kelly, The Blackeyed Susans, Mick Harvey, Kylie Minogue and Frenzal Rhomb, among several others.
You can see a comprehensive list of his credits at Allmusic, to give you an idea of the true scope of his contribution to the Australian music industry.
He won three ARIAs in the mid-1990s — his first, in 1994, for Producer Of The Year thanks to his work on The Cruel Sea’s The Honeymoon Is Over; his second two in 1995, for Producer Of The Year and Engineer Of The Year.