The local entertainment community is mourning the loss of one of their own. Charles “Greggie” Gregory, who was a musician, singer, sound engineer and owner of Hopscotch Studios, passed away on Sunday.
Mr. Gregory, 64, was born in Jamaica, but moved to the Cayman Islands at the age of 7. Musician and vocalist Lammie Seymour remembered when he, Mr. Gregory, Jonathan Ebanks and George “Gigo” Powell formed the Memory of Justice band in 1976. “Greggie was the lead vocalist at the time,” said Mr. Seymour. “We used to record our songs in a small studio off Eastern Avenue – Kaymaniac Studios.
“Over the years, Greggie became a self-taught studio engineer.”
Jean-Eric Smith, president of the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association, also recalled the decades he worked with Mr. Gregory.
“He was like family,” Mr. Smith said. “I’ve known him since the days of [my band] The Juveniles and [his band] Memory of Justice. We performed together a lot.
“It used to be that if we had a concert on the island, bands would piecemeal their sound equipment together for it; there were only standard PA systems available. Greg took us into the age of professional concert sounds.”
Leaving behind his role as a performer to become a full-time studio and sound engineer, Mr. Gregory opened Hopscotch Studios in 1994. He was always to be found behind his mixing board or setting up equipment on stage at large local festivals such as Taste of Cayman, Pirates Week and Jazz Fest.
Despite losing everything in Hurricane Ivan in 2004, for which he was uninsured, Mr. Gregory completely rebuilt his business.
He has had such notable artists as Rascal Flatts and Tami Chynn recording in his studio and was awarded the Long Service Award by the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association, making him a distinguished member of that organization.
David Kirkaldy of Massive Equipment Rental added his memories of working with Mr. Gregory. “Greggie, as I knew him, was many things; a talented and pioneering musician, a sought after and respected sound engineer, a man of his word, a gentleman, and a family man,” said Mr. Kirkaldy. “A calm and cool figure behind the scenes of many of the largest events in Cayman over the past several decades, Greg and his talent and generosity will be missed by me and by many.”
Mr. Seymour echoed those sentiments: “I’ve lost a great friend and the music industry has lost one of its giants.”
In a statement issued Monday afternoon, police said Mr. Gregory had been found unresponsive at an address in North Sound Road, George Town, shortly before 7:30 p.m. Sunday and was pronounced dead at the scene.