At the age of fifteen while playing in the opening band at a bar in Wisconsin (on a school night), I was curious why the headliners sounded great and we sounded like s**t. I was determined to achieve sonic quality for my band and, at the same time, I wanted to make sure that some wise-guy engineer couldn’t lie to me. I, therefore, began to study electronics and physics in high school and fell in love with music.
The band broke up; I went to college; and after two semesters, I felt a gaping hole in my life without music. I dropped out of college and tried to explain to my family that I was going to move to California to learn how to make records. In 1986, I moved to Los Angeles and got my first assisting job at Warner Bros./ Amigo recording studio. My first session was with Paul Simon and Roy Halle doing all the vocal overdubs on ” Graceland “. My second session was with John Denver, producer/ engineer Roger Nichols and Elvis’ band. I pulled off the hat trick by working with David Lee Roth and Ted Templeman on my third session.
A year later, I became Michael Wagener’s engineer on a plethora of 80’s hard rock records. I went on to freelance and worked with many great producers and artists such as Bob Ezrin, Al Kooper, KISS, Suicidal Tendencies, Alice in Chains, Alice Cooper, B.B. King, Miles Davis and others. In addition, I worked on major feature films such as Nightmare of Elm Street II Ð Dream Warrior, The Hidden, Color of Money, Siesta, Decline Of Western Civilization II, and Children of a Lesser God.
In 1996, a decade after I began engineering, I moved back to Chicago for family reasons and began freelancing at CRC (Chicago Recording Company), Chicago Trax, and Terry Fryer Music. Freelancing also provided some out of town work at Abbey Road and Skywalker Sound.
I became Chief Engineer at Chicago Trax in 1998. Throughout my tenure at Trax, I worked on great projects such as Mickey Hart’s Superlingua (the first ever DVD single in the new 5.1 surround format), Limp Bizkit, Sonia Dada, R. Kelly, Usher, Crucial Conflict, and new records from classic artists Eddie Money and Edgar Winter.
In 1999, Mickey Hart and his long-time engineer Tom Flye asked me to help them with their performance at Woodstock 2000. Tom Flye was Front-Of-House engineer while I was in the TNN Capricorn truck mixing live-to-satellite and recording to 48-track digital with no sound-check. What a rush…
As 2001 rang in, owner Alan Kubicka and general manager Hank Neuberger offered me a position at Chicago Recording Company. CRC is an amazing world-class recording studio. CRC is a complex consisting of several music and production studios with state of the art gear including SSL, Neve, Euphonics, Digidesign ProTools, and a DVD lab.
From 2001 to 2009 , I worked on many great projects at CRC including platinum records from hip-hop masters such as Kanye West, Twista, Common, Jamie Foxx, Usher, Lil’ Jon and the Eastside boys, Do or Die, Jin, and Ludacris. Even though Hip Hop and rap were really exploding at the time, I was also fortunate enough to work with some great rock artists such as Smashing Pumkins, Ben Harper, Disturbed, 311, The Cult, Tori Amos, The Black Crowes, Paramore, Lovehammers, Bayside, and Sonia Dada, to name just a few. I also did a lot of work with local Pop / Rock artists and realized the changing dynamics of the music business, and the digital revolution were making it necessary to find new ways for new artists to get a break.
After realizing that Chicago and the music scene in general lacked opportunities and vehicles for new songwriters and bands to get to the next level, I officially launched Stonecutter Records, a full service production company and independent record label. Stonecutter Records exists with the idea that possibilities are endless. Whether helping emerging artists get to the next level, or assisting with the continued success of established musicians, Stonecutter Records is a valuable asset for musicians at any level. The first major project, entitled Acoustic Chicago, focuses on acoustic songwriters from the Chicagoland area that deserve to be heard and are ready to perform their music to a wider audience. I chose the acoustic form because with acoustic music, the true essence of an artist and the emotional potential of a song are revealed. I have worked long and hard on finding the some of the finest artists, most of them unheard independents, to represent Chicago in the musically diverse way that it should be. The plan is to take on the rest of the country, and eventually go international with the launching of Acoustic New York, California, New Orleans and International.