In Memoriam: Jack Calmes (1943-2015)

Photo L to R: David Keighley, Jack Calmes, and Jimmy Page.

After a long battle with cancer, Jack Calmes, co-founder of Showco and founder of Syncrolite, died at home this morning at the age of 71. 

In 1965, Angus Wynne and Calmes co-founded Showco, which promoted concerts, bringing huge names to Dallas like The Doors, Bob Dylan, and The Beach Boys. When they put on the Texas International Pop Festival, headlined by Led Zeppelin, B. B. King, Janis Joplin, and more, the pair lost $100,000. After that, Wynne left the business, while Calmes turned Showco into a sight-and-sound company, providing sound to rock shows and building a "vast empire," according to Billboard's 1972 profile of Calmes.

After resigning from Showco, Calmes founded Syncrolite in 1984, an entertainment and architectural lighting company, which basically did the same for lighting that Showco did for sound. His highlights during Syncrolite's 30+ years include earning an Emmy for American Idol and providing the exterior lighting for the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Calmes's other fascinating contributions to the music industry include his time as lead guitarist for The Jades in the 1960s, co-managing Freddie King with Wynne, managing Bloodrock, and producing the global satellite broadcast of The Who in 1982 for 20th Century Fox and HBO.

He is survived by his wife, Susie, his daughter, and his two grandchildren. Calmes's funeral will be held Monday at 2 p.m. at the Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home & Memorial Park on Northwest Highway in Dallas, Texas. Instead of flowers, donations can be made to SPCA or another charity.

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