Jeff "Critter" Newell, Chicago Trax Sound Engineer, Angels & Airwaves 'Fifth Member,' Dies at 45

In a video tribute, Tom DeLonge describes Newell as "the most artistic and beautiful thing that could have ever happened" to his band.

Jeff "Critter" Newell, an audio engineer who worked at Chicago Trax studio, a recording facility that helped define the city's industrial sound, has died at the age of 45.

Newell, a former Chicago resident, worked on releases by leading industrial rock bands, including Ministry, Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails. More recently he had moved to California and worked on albums by Blink 182, Guns 'N Roses and Tom DeLonge's Angels and Airwaves project of which Newell was described as the band's fifth member.

A video posted on YouTube (see below) featuring members of Angels & Airwaves, pays tribute to Newell. In the homage DeLonge calls Newell "the most artistic and beautiful thing that could have ever happened to Angels & Airwaves."

Newell died on New Year's eve at his home in Studio City, CA, according to an obituary posted on the funeral home web site. He formerly lived in West Chicago, IL and for the last 15 years in Los Angeles. He was a self taught sound engineer.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, January 6 at 11:00 a.m. at Hultgren Funeral Home, 304 N. Main St., Wheaton, IL.