The Sixties

I spent the late 50's and early sixties locked away in a boarding school in New Zealand. Hated it but it gave me a great musical background. I sang in choirs, played every brass instrument in the brass band, learnt to read and arrange music and I was allowed to form a rock band. I played guitar in the band and cut my teeth on Hank Marvin and the Shadows. I was also playing piano and was into Dave Brubeck and Oscar Peterson. On leaving school I hung around the local university for two years and then went into television as a production trainee learning camera and floor managing etc. I eventually realised there was no future in Dunedin and headed off.

I arrived in Australia in 1966 playing keyboards in an Australian Band, The Defenders who were from Toowoomba and had been playing in Dunedin. After playing in clubs in Bondi and Kings Cross I applied for my first engineering job at Natec Studios in Bligh St. Natec had the only 4 track in Sydney. I started doing tape dubs and used to set the mikes for Bandstand which was a four hour musician call during which around 22 musos recorded all the bandtracks for the weeks show. I was introduced to the great players of the day, Burrows, Golla etc. In 1968 I moved to Melbourne to work for the now famous Bill Armstrong Studios. They had the only 8 track in Australia and were the top pop studio. At Armstrong's I was fortunate to be taught by Australia's best engineer - Roger Savage.(He still is!) We recorded thousands of radio and TV commercials and in the breaks recorded all the hits of the sixties like John Farnham, The Masters Apprentices, Russell Morris and Daddy Cool etc. It was a great time in OZ music and I was right at the heart of it.

The Seventies

After a few years I moved to TCS - Television City Sound - which was set up by Colin Stephenson of Television Channel Nine as a multitrack studio to handle the popular TV variety show "In Melbourne Tonight". We did all the prerecordings and any bands John French and I could get in during the down time. We got heaps which included Chain, Max Merritt, Leo de Castro and Friends, Russell Morris, Madder Lake, McKenzie Theory, Wendy Saddington etc. I got to record Jerry Lee Lewis's band during one late night session for Lee Conway. Fantastic experience!! After a couple of years or so I returned to Armstrongs and co-produced the "Gingerman" album with Brian Cadd which won us both Best Produced Album in 1972 at the Australian Record Awards presented by the The Commercial Radio Stations of Australia.

In 1974 I moved back to Sydney and after a brief stay at Festival Records where I produced Jimmy Little's Baby Blue I met Charlie Fisher and John Zuliaka and I joined Trafalagar Studios as a partner. Charlie and I produced heaps of bands together and individually - Radio Birdman, Greg Quill, Southern Cross, Australia, TMG, Sherbert, Jackie Orszacsky, O'l 55's etc. During my time at Trafalgar I won Best Engineer at the ARIA Awards - 1974 and Best Engineer at the Australian Rock Music Awards - 1977. I also travelled to the US to check out acoustics. I spent 3 weeks living in LA with the famous Dean Jensen, of Jensen Transformer fame, but more importantly - The top Techo in LA at the time. On returning to Oz I rebuilt Trafalgar's control room and introduced Oz to studio acoustics. Dave Flett came up from Melbourne and we raved together for days and he went back and built Richmond Recorders - the second studio to add control room acoustics.

In late 1977 my partnership with Charlie broke up and I left Trafalgar and moved to Byron Bay and designed and built the now famous Music Farm Studio for Gary Deutsher, which was Australia's first country live-in studio with full accommodation on 120 acres of lush countryside. This was my first complete control room and multi booth studio design and construction and many of the engineers that worked there still say it was one of the best rooms in the country.

The Eighties

I stayed at Music Farm as a freelance producer/engineer working with Mark Gillespie, Mondo Rock, Moving Pictures, Misex, Australian Crawl etc but with the recession of the early to the mid eighties it was time to move my now family of four children back to Sydney. I took a jump back into Television starting as an audio director at Channel 7 mainly mixing Beyond 2000 but I also did "Late Night with Jono and Dano" - a Letterman style variety show with live band etc (singlehanded!!), and various channel 7 productions. I had to learn a whole new game - sound to picture. (Thanks Weston Baker)

After a year I was one of those who encouraged Beyond Productions to build their own studios and we moved to Artarmon and I helped design the audio rooms for Beyond Facilities consisting of a 24 track Post Production suite, music studios for Murray Burns and Colin Bailey at Twilight Productions and a dual 8 track tracklaying suite for my assistant, Ian Gray and later Mark Tanner. There were also 4 offline betacam edit suites in the downstairs facility. During that span I was responsible for all the audio post for Beyond 2000, Just for the Record, Jack Thompson Downunder etc. I also designed Apocalypse audio post studio and Hello Testing for Paul Goodwin. Burn out time again!

In 1989 I moved to Wagga Wagga to take up the position of Principal Lecturer/Course Coordinator at the School of Visual and Performing Arts at the then Riverina College of Advanced Education, which six months later became Charles Sturt University - Riverina. It was then that my wife decided to leave with the kids.

The Nineties

At Charles Sturt University I was also a design consultant and helped supervise the construction of their 60' x 40' Television Studio and recording facility but the main task was to work out and convert their two year associate diploma course into a 3 year BA course. In my time there I think I reorganised every room, shifted every piece of equipment and generally caused havoc!. I do have fond memories of those beautiful Wagga Wagga sunsets but I trod on so many toes and the fact I didn't have a degree that the position of Principal Lecturer would be reoffered as an Associate Professor, my three year contract wasn't renewed and I was out on my own again - but the uni benefited from the new course and the new facilities and everyone has probably returned to their more typical relaxed lifestyle. It's a shame that the private sector doesn't get more involved in the courses offered to their prospective employees.

So I moved back home to Byron Bay and returned to music production. I produced Troy Cassar-Daley's Album "Beyond The Dancing" that won him the ARIA Award in 95 (Oz's top music award) and launched his career with Sony Records. I was a finalist in the Tamworth Country Music Awards as Producer of the Year in '96 and '97 and in '98 The Spencer Band 5 track CD won them five awards with five songs at the TIARA Awards Tamworth.

I also designed Cloud Studios for Parris and Liz in Wyong, refurbished Music Farm Studios in Pure New Wool (a great aussie product) for new Music Farm owner Eric Roberts and was an engineer on Olivia Newton John's new Gaia album in the new studio. I redesigned Big Toe Studios for Brett Neilson and produced country records out of it and designed Flying Fox for Grant Lhurs in Wagga Wagga.

By I'm now full swing into web page design having traded my Atari for a PC. I posted a web site on How to Build a Recording Studio and it was well received so I added The Recording Manual which is a full manual on how to build your studio, wire it, and operate it with whole sections on recording techniques.

The New Millennium!!

My website is now cooking.

In March 2001 the SAE (School of Audio Engineering) purchased The Recording Manual and have put it all up on their site under the banner - Reference Material - so I took a trip and did some research in the Top End of Australia, checking out the indigenous communities and the music therein. I hope to do more in this area in the future as there are some very isolated musicians in the top end.

On returning from my travels in 2001 I headed to Melbourne and designed Guruland for Kev. I returned to the north coast and moved into a solar powered house on the north face of Mt Warning where I continued to design studios for clients via the net.

In 2008 I moved to Bonalbo, a quiet little country town west of Byron Bay where I've continued to design recording studios which I really enjoy - I'm also getting pretty good at it. The forum is still operating with constant traffic and the wonderful input of my moderators especially Soundman2020 (Stuart Allsop from Santiago, Chile). I am currently in Dubai and have been here since October 2012 - we are building a 4 studio complex I designed and I'm here to supervise it's construction, very exciting. This is the only construction that I've actually visited, all the other studios on my site were built entirely from my plans and from my consulation via skype and the web.

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