We love this cover shot of Rose Mann Cherney. It was taken very early on a late-summer morning along the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago. The photographer was her brother-in-law, award-winning former Chicago Tribune staffer Charles Cherney. The lighting assistant was her husband, Grammy-winning engineer Ed Cherney, in town for the premiere of his work with Wynton Marsalis on a silent-film-with-orchestra project. (Brief aside: Chuck Cherney tells us that big brother Ed should keep his day job.)
The family connection was important to us in setting up the shoot because that’s what Rose does best: She makes everyone who walks into Record Plant feel like a member of the family. Interns, runners, assistants, techs, first-time producers, multi-Platinum producers and engineers of all stripes and sizes. From the day in 1976 when she walked in the door to meet with studio co-founders Chris Stone and Gary Kellgren, on through her rise to president under the guidance of current owner Rick Stevens, she has consistently changed the game in studio management. She wasn’t the first to dive into concierge-style booking and hosting; she has just done it better than anyone else, to the point that artists, producers and studio managers across the country acknowledge and even praise the sense of style she brings to the business.
Make no bones about it, Rose can be as tough as nails on the business side, especially when dealing with labels and payments. And don’t ever treat one of her Record Plant family with disrespect; she has a memory like a steel trap, and if you live and work in L.A., it’s good to have Rose on your side. At the same time, she makes a killer risotto and a dynamite dirty martini, and she would walk on fire to help a friend or a client—big or small, regular or first-timer.
There’s no console on the cover, which is something of a departure for Mix, and no Grammy-winning engineer, producer or artist. So in a sense, Rose is representing all those who don’t usually make a Mix cover but who keep studios running, day in and day out. We’re talking Paula Salvatore, Jeff Greenberg, Shivaun O’Brien, Candace Stewart, Dave Dubow. Sharon Corbitt, Scott Phillips, Janet Leese, Zoe Thrall, Troy Germano, Trevor Fletcher, Kirk Imamura and many, many others. It hasn’t been easy of late, as the commercial recording business has undergone dramatic changes during the past decade, with shrinking budgets, shorter bookings and stay-at-home artists. Money is still there to be made, and there’s more audio and music being produced than ever before. Just listen to the world around you. It’s just not the same recording industry that it was in 1976 when Rose took her first booking. But then it wasn’t the same in 1986 or 1996, either.
Economic cycles come and go, technology forces change and the strong—and the adaptable—survive. With a little help from friends and family.