Jeff Schock, the director of the Billy Joel Archives and the rocker’s former tour manager and photographer, died unexpectedly at his home in Southold Wednesday. He was 64.
“He was a generous spirit in our longtime musical family — ever the enthusiast, always optimistic,” Joel said in a statement. “He loved the roar of the crowd and he took such pride in our success. (Even when we lost sight of what a miracle it all was — and still is.)” Joel plans to dedicate his show at Madison Square Garden on Saturday to Schock.
The cause of death was unknown.
Schock is credited with all sorts of jobs throughout his decades with Joel, starting as his road manager in 1976. He has a product manager credit for “Glass Houses.” He handled art direction for “River of Dreams” and Joel’s greatest hits collections. He shot the cover photos of Joel for several recent compilations. He was an associate producer for the live album from the final concert at Shea Stadium.
Schock was a fixture at Joel’s shows for decades. At 6 feet 7 inches tall, with a full head of bright gray hair, he was easily spotted in the crowd, even if he was rushing through to capture a moment of Joel onstage with the cameras he seemed to be always carrying in recent years. When he wasn’t rushing, Schock was quick with a smile and a hug for the many people he knew in Joel’s audience.
Schock worked with many other artists in his career, working to promote artists ranging from the Rolling Stones and James Taylor to Luther Vandross and Kenny Loggins. He shot videos for Reba McEntire.
But he always stayed with Joel.
“His kinetic energy and his constant good cheer will be missed by all of us,” Joel said in a statement. “He was a caring man and a dear friend. And it’s hard to say goodbye.”