News

1 Jun 2022

Remembering Ian Couch

by Colin Baldwin

1951 – 2022

Everyone who knew Ian loved his sense of humour, his quick wit, his unusual take on things but always found him accommodating, friendly, reliable and easy to get along with. Just a great all-round nice bloke.

Ian loved his speed boat, although it has sat idle for many years. He loved fast cars, F1 and Asian food. He never lost his desire to continue working in the events industry, even though his illness made it too difficult.

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I don’t really remember the first time I met Ian, but I do remember working alongside him at the Musicians Club in Sydney back in the late 70s. We became friends and worked on many jobs together and later formed a partnership with Peter Milne and Vinni Sedgewick, which we called Showcorp.

During Ian’s career he worked with many artists including Barry Leef, Little River Band, Dragon, Renee Geyer, Tom Jones, Jeff Baxter, Billy Thorpe, Jess Mauboy, and many others.

Ian was very clever at creating concepts and convincing clients it was a good idea and turning into a reality. Ian loved to embellish…. just a tad…. but always in an over-enthusiastic way and for the right reasons.

After Showcorp, Ian went on to form True Perspective with his son Dion. And together they worked with many large events for Toyota, Lexus, Microsoft, BHP, and the list goes on.

Sadly 20 years ago he suffered his first round of heart attacks and a debilitating disease, which literally ate away his organs. His illness brought his career and a normal life to a quick end.

On many occasions, he would tell me he can’t go on with the suffering, but he wanted to be there for his family especially, his grandchildren, which kept him going. He loved Chloe the dog who was his companion until recently.

Ian loved his Asian food, so it became part of our regular get-together where we would do fried rice Friday and order up massive amounts of Chinese food in the middle of the day. We would gorge ourselves on ham and chicken rolls, san-choy bow, S&S port, until we felt ill.

Which reminds me of the day I got married, when he took me for Mongolian BBQ just before the ceremony. I remember Fiona telling me later how bad my breath was, and I remembered Ian’s devilish smirk when he ordered the food.

Baldwin Productions was in a tiny warehouse in Artarmon at the time and with along with Pete Milne, Couchie became part of the furniture. This is where we really started our lifelong friendship.

Baldwin Productions morphed into Showcorp and the four of us became partners in a really great company. We spent a lot of time working together, and though partnerships come and go, true friendships stay forever.

After a couple of runs in my old Bullet ski boat, Couchie re-ignited his love of ski boats and that’s when “Frostbite” was hatched. It didn’t take long for a social ski boat to become a ski race boat. He and Narelle bought the weekender next to mine and we spent a lot of time training skiers on the Hawkesbury over winter, hence the name “Frostbite”. Ko-Veda became weekend party central especially when TC moved to the weekender the other side of ours.

I don’t know why, but we were always the first team to be breath tested on race day, but after standing in waist deep freezing cold water holding onto a race boat for hours, we seemed to always pass. You get to know somebody really well when your life is in their hands, hanging out the side of a boat going absolutely flat out trying to see the skiers behind a massive rooster tail of water. I still have cracked ribs from when Couchie would forget to tell me “Bumps coming”.

I just know Conchies’ now going flat out on the river Styx, not waiting for the Ferryman, and yelling his lungs out “There’s no substitute for horsepower”

“Fair winds and following seas mate”

Colin Baldwin and Ian Couch

Messages from colleagues and friends

Michael Chugg
For as long as I can remember Ian Couch he was involved in the live events industry, he presented great and sometimes magical shows and events, a wonderful honest & happy guy who will be missed by many, my condolences to the family, RIP Ian 

Steve Howsden
I just heard the sad news that Ian Couch has just passed away. Ian was one of the best sound engineers in Australia and a great bloke too. A highlight of my musical career was playing with the Barry Leef band in the late 70s.

Ian’s mixes were always superb and he took care that every detail was perfect for the band. I’ve sent a picture taken at June and my wedding in 1978. After the reception we all headed to the Musician’s Club to do our regular gig.

Ian will be sadly missed by many in the Australian music industry and beyond. Our condolences to his family.

Vinni Sedgwick

Like a lot of people, I used to bump into Couchie occasionally on the road, but it wasn’t until I was running the Tivoli in Sydney for Noddy that I saw a lot of Couchie.

Like a lot of people, Couchie would spend a fair bit of time in my upstairs “office”. It also helped that Dragon was one of the better drawcards to the Tivoli, nothing like a crowd of Kiwis drinking triple rum and cokes to make the night time money drop a healthy one.

However, it was when I started working fulltime with CB after the demise of the Tivoli that I really got to know Couchie.

He was a great sound engineer, but even a better salesman, he could sell fridges to Eskimos, just sometimes couldn’t deliver them.

Kerry Roberts

Couchy was one in a million. He was clever, funny, loyal and kind. He was also ahead of his time and helped create successful initiatives including, Pass the Hat concerts, Farmhand on the Nine Network, Telstra Road to Tamworth talent search, and the inaugural CMC Rocks the Snowy Festival – just to name a few! We acknowledge his early contribution to the Australian country music world as it is today.

Thank you Couchy, We love you. 

Lee Kernaghan

To Couchy – thank you for stepping in and being my manager on the eve of the Toyota pass the hat around Australia tour in 1998. When all seemed lost you took over the reins – circled the wagons and saved the day. 

You helped raised millions of dollars for community causes across Australia – you took no prisoners – led by example and will always be an inspirational force of nature. 

Nothing was ever impossible and the sky was the limit- but above all – thank you for being the best mate and manager anyone could ever ask for. 

After all these years your words of wisdom are still ringing in my ears –

Perception is nine tenths reality

Rip tear and bust

Sleeping is cheating 

….And there is no substitute for horsepower !!

Couchy …thankyou mate …we love you and always will.

Sending much love to Narelle, Karlie and Dion and your mates

  Lee & Robby and the Kernaghan family 

Paul Kenny

It was a Roland Space Echo that bought Ian and I together. The kind with 20 inches of tape running around inside it. It was (I think) 1976 and Ian looked after The Barry Beef Band at the Musicians Club, and I was the young dude bought in to look after Leon Berger and the other support bands.

Ian was generous with his time and his advice, and when he had other things happening, I would get to step into his shoes and mix Barry Leef. Every time he gave me two pieces of advice. “Number 1, don’t fuck-up. Number 2, fuck up a little bit so they’ll be real happy to have me back!”

What I learned from Ian and from the two years 7 nights a week at the Muso’s served me very well.

I got to re-meet Ian when he joined CB’s crew and would come on tour for Wavelength’s corporate clients. I know Ian particularly enjoyed our many Macca’s events. This is were I first saw his wonderful ability to engage everyone in his personality, humanity and humour. He had much in common with McDonalds late great CEO Charlie Bell. They got on like a house on fire. 

I do remember some crazy times with Macca’s as well. Being thrown out of the swimming pool by security at Hamilton Island at 3am with a bevy of Macca’s beauties enjoying Ian’s laughter and humour, and of course the time he almost stopped my wedding happening by forcing me to play “drinking games” with Little River Band and the road crew after a big McDonalds Convention on the Gold Coast. My wife still reminds me of this every year.

Ian asked me to help him with a government client in late 1995. We ended up delivering a series of great events for the Australian Government in Hannover Germany. Again Couch’s charm offensive was on display, wooing the German bureaucrats in the Hannover Opera House, and laughing with then Australian PM Paul Keating as we prepared him for his Keynote Address.

For the past 45 years I have known Ian as a man of constant positivity and charm, of talent and of character. We are all the better for knowing him and being his friend. 

To all Ian’s family my deepest condolences.


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