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SPARS Studio Summit at NAMM Features John Rzeznik, Joe Chiccarelli

Candace Stewart (EastWest Studios), John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls), and Paula Salvatore (Capitol Studios & Mastering)

For the third year in a row, SPARS was an active participant in the H.O.T Zone at NAMM. The 33-year-old recording association brought in artists, producers and engineers to share their expertise and experiences in recording successful projects.

The SPARS Studio Summit, “When a Professional Studio is Needed,” featured a keynote address by the Goo Goo Doll’s lead singer, guitarist, John Rzeznik, a master class by multiple-Grammy-Award-winning producer/engineer Joe Chiccarelli, and a roundtable discussion of industry professionals moderated by Tom Kenny, editor of Mix magazine.

After a brief welcome from SPARS President, Kirk Imamura of Avatar Studios, Rzeznik headed the event by sharing the reasons and techniques he uses for selecting studios and various places to record. Assisted by Candace Stewart of East West Studios, Rzeznik also spoke about lessons he had learned as well as interesting stories about recording albums over a 22-year career that to date have resulted in four Grammy nominations, 13 consecutive Top 10 multi-format hit songs, and more than 10 million albums sold.

Joe Chiccarelli (left) and Tom Kenny in the Master Class

Chiccarelli—known for his successful projects with Elton John, Beck, U2, Melissa Etheridge, Tori Amos, Carole King, The Cult, Bon Jovi, Al Stewart, Joan Baez, Counting Crows and the late Etta James—then teamed with Mix magazine editor Tom Kenny to deliver a master class spotlighting various projects. Chiccarelli said that his approach was all about the music, the genre, and the artist’s vision. Chiccarelli discussed projects for Australian band Boy & Bear and the White Stripes at Blackbird Studios; My Morning Jacket at Avatar Studios; Chris Botti at Sunset Sound and Ocean Way Studios; Jason Mraz at Sunset Sound; and Alberta Cross at EastWest Studios. He also discussed his reasoning for selecting recording facilities, and also shared some of his techniques regarding how he gets various sounds and how the choice of studio drives that decision.

Members of the SPARS Roundtable, from left: Dave Lichtenstein, Michael Lloyd, Jeff Greenberg, Kirk Imamura, Jason Upright, Ed Woolley, Tom Kenny and Barak Moffitt

The SPARS Studio Summit wrapped up with a roundtable of successful industry professionals moderated by Kenny, featuring Barak Moffitt, executive vice president, EMI Group; Ed Woolley and Jason Upright of Firehouse Recording Studios; Jeff Greenberg of Village Recording Studios; Dave Lichtenstein, 25th Street Recording; and producer/engineer Michael Lloyd. The panelists described why they record in various studios with real world examples, covering such topics as acoustic properties, professional staff, use of the latest equipment, the sound the facility brings to the project and other timely issues.

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