Ani DiFranco with members of New Orleans’ Rebirth Orchestra and engineer Jack Miele (front, far right). This photo was taken from the staircase that rises from Fudge’s tracking room to the control room.
This Katrina story has a happy ending. New Orleans-born engineer Jack Miele, his wife, two dogs and a studio full of gear were displaced when waters rose to within an inch of the lowest rack in Miele's home-based Green Sound Studios. Miele and family relied on the kindness of friends until their house repairs were done, and Miele temporarily set up shop in the existing Truckfarm Studios, where Miele worked on projects with Dr. John and Grammy-winning producer John Chelew (Blind Boys of Alabama).
Then, about six months ago, Miele moved his gear again to what he hopes will be a permanent home: Better Than Ezra's Fudge Studios (www.fudgerecordingstudio.com). “It used to be the band's private studio, and it was owned by Kevin [Griffin], the lead singer,” Miele explains, “but he moved to L.A., so [bandmember] Tom [Drummond], Kenny Corbett and I bought the building, and made the studio commercially available.”
Miele enjoys the increased space at Fudge, as well as what he describes as a time-tested floor plan. “The entire place is built off the model of the Abbey Road B room,” he says. “There's a big room with 20-foot ceilings, and the control room is on the second floor with a giant window that looks down into the big room. There's also a vocal booth underneath the staircase.”
The control room centers around a modified Gamble HC-40 console, Pro Tools HD2, an Otari MTR-90 MkII, and Mackie HR824 and NS-10 main monitors. At press time, the owners had nearly completed a similarly equipped Control Room B, which also provides access to an ideally situated outdoor patio. “There's a staircase with a hatch, where you can go up to the roof patio, which has iron work all around and a barbeque grill,” Miele says. “It's a great place to hang out because we're right at the corner of St. Charles and Terpsichore, and during Mardi Gras the parade passes right in front of the studio.”
Since joining Fudge, Miele has had the opportunity to work with Ani DiFranco and director Jonathan Frakes (voice-over for The Family Guy) and, of course, Better Than Ezra, as well as numerous local artists. “Today I have a session with Shane Theriot,” he says. “He's a great guitar player for the Neville Brothers, LeAnn Rimes and Boz Scaggs, and he's working on a solo record. We've also had Mars Volta in, working with their own engineer, Lars Stalfors. But one of the things Tom gets me most excited about is going out and finding young bands, bringing them in and producing them. It's great to work in a place where there's so much interest in young talent. We're trying to help the next generation come alive.”