West Los Angeles, CA (February 21, 2017)—Multi-Grammy winner Jack White was fêted by The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing’s at its annual Grammy Week celebration at The Village Studios in West Los Angeles on Feb. 8, 2017. Neil Portnow, president/CEO of The Recording Academy, presented White with The Recording Academy President’s Merit Award.
In accepting the award, White reminisced, “When I was 14 or so, my brother Joe was kind enough to set me up with a 4-track reel-to-reel and a Tascam mixer in my bedroom. He was the first to show me engineering techniques—which at that time consisted of bass and treble.”
White learned a lot from the restrictions imposed by the technology, he said. “You do things on 4-track and bounce; erase it and it was gone forever. I still work that way. That kind of restriction is really important.”
White thanked several people who have inspired him as a producer and engineer, first giving a shout-out to two engineers with whom he has worked, Vance Powell and Josh Smith. “But particularly over the years,” said White, “Les Paul and all of his techniques of recording; double-tracking—he was pretty good at that.”
He also acknowledged Don Gallucci of the Kingsmen for the band’s classic “Louie Louie” single (“I’m glad he did that record; it means a lot to me”) and for his production on the Stooges’ Funhouse album. White also thanked Bing Crosby, who “took money out of his own wallet and contributed to the production of making analog tape machines to progress this industry,” a reference to Crosby’s investment in Ampex.
Maureen Droney, Recording Academy managing director, P&E Wing and Recording Technology, addressed the packed crowd, which included the likes of Spektor, Conan O’Brien, Beck, Liz Phair, Rivers Cuomo and Weezer, Lisa Loeb, Booker T. Jones and others to note that the event was “a party with a purpose”—highlighting accomplishments and achievements in recording within a music industry that is shifting rapidly and often unpredictably.
Earlier during the event, producer and engineer Ed Cherney, current co-chair of the P&E Wing, surprised Jeff Greenberg, CEO of The Village Studios, host of the event for the past decade, with a special award recognizing “10 years of hard work, dedication and glorious insanity.”
“The greatest gift I’ve ever had is to be able to come here every day and work with giants,” said Greenberg.
As might be expected for a P&E Wing event, the party was packed with notable engineers and producers such as Elliot Scheiner, Peter Asher, Eric Schilling, Manny Marroquin, Al Schmitt, Chris Lord-Alge, Geoff Emerick, Sylvia Massy, Bob Clearmountain and numerous others.
Producers & Engineers Wing