My Bio, and the Genesis of Groove Tunes Studios
I started making music in the early ‘60’s in Whittier, California, on a ¾ size nylon string guitar I borrowed from my twin sister. Strumming along to Michael Rowed The Boat Ashore was great fun for awhile, but double-picking surf music solos was way more fun, so it didn't take long before I talked my parents into buying me an electric guitar. Within six months I was playing the same three guitar chords in four different rock bands, and twin sis got her nylons back. Then one day, I was asked to play rhythm guitar with a band called the Classics, a pop group that featured some of Whittier High’s finest hopefuls, including founder Bob Birath on drums, Steve Lively on bass and keys, and Jim Hall on lead guitar.
Upon the emergence of the Beatles in the mid-‘60’s and the resulting transformation of popular music, the Classics transformed themselves into a British surf-rock band. By now I was playing lead guitar and singing lead vocals. Credit collective talent, hard work, youthful energy, and especially luck, for by 1965 the Classics were recording our own original music in a Los Angeles recording studio. How cool was that?! We thought we were destined for stardom, but as fate would have it the songs were never published. Nevertheless, it’s easy to see how, at the tender age of 17, I caught the recording bug in an L.A. studio.
The Classics dissolved after we graduated from high school and band members moved away either to attend college or to pursue careers that actually made money.
In 1966 I studied jazz guitar, enrolled in junior college, and later began giving rock-and-roll guitar lessons to California teenagers. I received a tape recorder as a graduation present from my parents – a reel-to-reel 2-track deck, complete with plastic microphone and a blank reel of tape. I was in seventh heaven! The birth of Groove Tunes Studios was now a mere four decades, six relocations, and five major equipment upgrades away.
I moved north to Seattle in 1968 to study engineering at the University of Washington. During my studies I purchased a sound-on-sound tape deck, which enabled me to record and bounce up to four tracks, one track at a time. Having now doubled my track count, but no longer having my band mates handy, I taught himself how to play bass guitar, piano, and drums. Before long I became a master at the art of sound-on-sound recording, and I proceeded to fill reels and reels of self-produced songs in between my studies.
I graduated from college in 1971, fully employed now, and ripe for some major equipment upgrades. Multi-track tape recorders were becoming the norm in professional studios in the ‘70’s. I invested in a 4-track, and soon thereafter an 8-track multi-track tape recorder, complete with mixing board, outboard processors, and some nice mics. It was at this point that I started recording other people on a professional basis.
In the early-‘80’s in Tacoma, Washington, I was appointed Music Director for a musical-comedy improv group called The Twilight Zone Players. In that capacity I wrote musical arrangements of song parodies and played and recorded all the instruments for the troupe’s entire creative output. One of their most popular songs Puyallup Vally Boys (a parody on California Girls) received radio airplay. During my years in the Pacific Northwest I operated private analog recording studios in Tacoma and Federal Way, Washington. Digital recording technology was still in its infancy in the early ‘80’s so I elected to pass on that format for the time being, opting to stay with the tried-and-true analog format. Concurrently, I was utilizing my education, managing engineering projects for large corporations, and making some serious coin.
I became interested in the physics of sound and the esoteric (and expensive!) gear that reproduced sound accurately. The outcome of my audiophilia was a rapidly declining bank balance. More relevant to this story, my engineering goal soon became not just to record a good number of tracks, but to also record tracks that sounded good.
I moved to Georgia in 1991. While living in temporary quarters I designed and built my new studio in Alpharetta. I worked closely with my builder to ensure my studio design details were properly implemented, including room dimensions, sound isolation, and wiring. Also, to ensure short commutes to work, I had my home built on top of the studio.
By 1994, having already invested more in my studio than what it would cost to send five children to college, I decided it was finally okay to get married. To this day I am happily wed to my wife, Kate.
In 2004 I was finally convinced that digital recording technology now sounded as good as, if not better than, analog tape. With its great sound and far superior flexibility, computer-based digital recording systems had surpassed the capabilities of analog recording studios in efficiency and in quality. I was now ready for my most significant upgrade to date, to Pro Tools. The recording gear at Groove Tunes Studios utilizes the recording industry standard, 192- track, Pro Tools HD Accel 3 digital recording system. 192 tracks and great sound! Score!
Groove Tunes has been the recording venue of choice for many Pop, Rock, Americana, Country, Christian, Children, Jazz, Alternative, Classical, Grunge, Fusion, Folk, Latin, Post-Punk, Heavy Metal, Soft Soul, R&B, and other musical genres. With the exception of the Rap/Hip Hop genre -- which is undecipherable in every way to me -- I appreciate all types of musical expression. I work with clients of all ages, musical backgrounds, and levels of expertise. My favorite type of customer is one who shows up on time and pays in advance. Seriously, whatever the type of project, I love working with my customers, helping to make their performances sound great, and sending them home with smiles on their faces.
If you made it all the way to the end of this blog, thank you!