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Gear Club Podcast

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Gear Club is hosted by producers / recording engineers, John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.) and Stewart Lerman (Patti Smith, St. Vincent). Each episode of the podcast features an interview with a key player in the audio industry, and also offers tips and guidance to the next generation of engineers and artists. The podcast is an informative, yet irreverent, look at the art of recording by leading practitioners of the art.






#22: A Tour of Duty, Susan Rogers Pt. 1

Professor Susan Rogers grew up in the "Shadow of the Mouse" listening to soul, funk and rhythm and blues. After a few years of work as one of the few woman studio techs in LA, Susan's dream came true when she landed the gig as Prince's recording engineer and found herself 'in the seat' for the recoding of Prince's seminal Purple Rain. In part 1 of our interview, our hosts listen in wonder as Susan recollects her early years and muses on her life as a studio pro and especially in her role as...

Duration: 01:02:01

#21: A Deeper Understanding with Adam Granduciel

Photo by Shawn Brackbill This week John and Stewart are joined by The War on Drugs’ Adam Granduciel. Adam is the perfect gear club guest because he brings it all - he writes, sings, plays, engineers and produces his records. In this episode, the guys dig deep into Adam’s creative process with a special focus on the year leading up to the release of The War on Drugs critically acclaimed new album, A Deeper Understanding. You can check out the new album here. Adam also mentions some of his...

Duration: 00:59:45

#20: MARS - Baking Tapes with Steve Rosenthal

This week, John and Stewart are joined by Steve Rosenthal, owner of the iconic (but defunct) Magic Shop Studios. (Check out Episodes 3 & 4) Currently, Steve owns MARS (MagicShop Archive & Restoration Studios), which provides restoration, mastering, mixing, producing, preservation and development of historic and archival audio recordings. Some of the artists that MARS has restored include Woody Guthrie, The Rolling Stones, Erroll Garner, Sam Cooke, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Elvis Presley and...

Duration: 01:02:40

#19: The Rising Protégé, Erin Tonkon

This week, John and Stewart are joined by Erin Tonkon, a true twenty first century producer, engineer and mixer, who creates sounds that have all the visceral rawness of classic rock, only with a twist — expertise and immersion in new technology. Erin’s vast experience includes working as assistant to legendary rock producer Tony Visconti. She's worked with such artists as David Bowie, Kristeen Young, Esperanza Spalding, Daphne Guinness, The Foo Fighters, Fiona Silver and many more. Visit...

Duration: 01:01:01

Record of the Week: Goin' Out West by Tom Waits

In this special Record of the Week, John and Stewart chat with engineer, producer and mixer Erin Tonkon, to discuss one of her favorite records "Goin' Out West" by Tom Waits. Stay tuned for our interview with Erin, where we talk about her career in the New York City music scene. Artists she's worked with include David Bowie, Esmeralda Spalding and Fiona Silver. You don't want to miss it.

Duration: 00:11:18

#18: Steve Shelley, The Drummer's Drummer

This week, John and Stewart catch up with Steve Shelley, drummer extraordinaire from the alternative rock band, Sonic Youth. His extensive catalog includes drumming for the likes of The Million Dollar Bashers, Ron Asheton from the Stooges, Sun Kil Moon, and Sonic Youth's own, Thurston Moore, just to pick a few. But Steve's musical exploits, don't stop behind the drum kit. Steve has also founded multiple record labels including Smells Like Records where he produced and fostered the careers...

Duration: 00:45:18

#17: Talking Shop with Jacob Sciba

Photo #repost @luciusmarcus This week we're joined by Jacob Sciba, head engineer at the iconic Arlyn Studios in Austin, TX. Jacob has worked with great artists, including Gary Clark Jr., Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Gov't Mule, Warren Haynes and many more. Arlyn Studios has been a fixture and recording hub for Austin’s vibrant music community since 1984. Learn more at: Stew, Jacob and John at SXSW Live at SXSW Jacob with Freddy & Lisa Fletcher Willie Nelson...

Duration: 00:47:12

#16: Capture the Moment with William Wittman, Part 2

This week we conclude our interview with William Wittman — a Grammy Award winning independent Producer/Engineer/Musician/Songwriter whose credits include Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, the Hooters, and The Outfield. Learn more at

Duration: 00:51:30

#15: Capture the Moment with William Wittman, Part 1

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2016 This week, we're back in New York City with William Wittman — a Grammy Award winning independent Producer/Engineer/Musician/Songwriter whose credits include the multi–platinum debuts from Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, the Hooters, and The Outfield. As a musician, he has appeared on nationally televised shows including The Late Show with David Letterman, the Rosie O’Donnell Show, CBS Late Late Show, Ellen Degeneres, the NBC Christmas Tree Lighting Special, and New...

Duration: 00:59:39

#14: Putting Artists First with Maggie Vail

This week, our guest is Maggie Vail, Executive Director of CASH Music, a nonprofit organization focused on educating & empowering artists (and their fans) to foster a viable & sustainable future for music. Maggie has over 20 years of experience within the music industry both as a musician and an independent label executive. She was integral at preeminent indie label Kill Rock Stars, currently runs Bikini Kill Records and plays bass in Hurry Up. CASH Music's innovative tools give musicians...

Duration: 00:41:21

#13: Licensing Guru Lyle Hysen

John and Stewart are joined by Lyle Hysen, president of Rough Trade Publishing and founder of Bank Robber Music — a licensing company that helps indie bands get placed in film, TV, video games, commercials and more. Some of the current bands Lyle is working with include: The War On Drugs, Future Islands, Grizzly Bear, Black Lips, Juliana Hatfield, Land Of Talk, M83 and countless others Featured placements include, Durand Jones & The Indications - "Groovy Babe" used for the new Google...

Duration: 01:06:57

#12: Martha Mooke, No Ordinary Artist

This week, John and Stewart are joined by Martha Mooke - an electro-acoustic violist, composer, producer and educator. She is a leading clinician on electric and progressive string playing, and has toured with Barbra Streisand, Peter Gabriel, Andrea Bocelli and Star Wars in Concert. Martha has also performed with Elton John, Trey Anastasio, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Laurie Anderson, Tony Bennett, Bon Jovi, Patti Smith, David Bowie and many more. She is currently collaborating with beatboxing...

Duration: 01:00:30

Record of the Week Revisit: The Beach Boys Surfs Up

This week, we take a look at the acclaimed Surf's Up by The Beach Boys. In 2004, the album was included in Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" and ranked 61 on Pitchfork Media's "The Top 100 Albums Of The 1970s". In a special word from our sponsor, we're visited by Martha Mooke, a renowned viola virtuoso who's played at the highest level, everywhere, with everyone - David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Lou Reed. Get a sneak peek into her upcoming episode...

Duration: 00:20:48

#11: Live from SXSW with Chris Shaw

John and Stewart are joined by Chris Shaw, a four-time Grammy winning producer, engineer, mixer, and musician. Artists who have worked with Chris include: Bob Dylan, Public Enemy, Wilco, A Tribe Called Quest, Run-DMC, Weezer, Sheryl Crow, Death Cab For Cutie, Lou Reed, Nada Surf, Dashboard Confessional, and Allman Brothers Band. Fun fact, Chris has worked on six of Rolling Stones "500 greatest Records of All Time" check out the list below: #385 - Bob Dylan "Love And Theft" #302 - Public...

Duration: 01:10:55

#9: Live from SXSW with Suzanne Ciani - Electronic Music Pioneer

John and Stewart had the pleasure of meeting the influential electronic music composer & pianist, Suzanne Ciani. A five-time Grammy award nominated artist, Suzanne’s work has been featured in commercials, movies and video games. The documentary, A Life in Waves, based on Suzanne’s life premiered at this year’s SXSW. She also performed at the festival as part of Moogfest. A pioneer in electronic music, Suzanne is an avid user of Eventide gear. From their early products like the H910...

Duration: 00:50:30

#8: Live from SXSW with Arlyn Studio's Freddy Fletcher

On our recent trip to SXSW, John and Stew sat down with, Freddy Fletcher - owner of the iconic Arlyn Studios. From Willie Nelson to Austin City Limits, Freddy Fletcher has been at the center of Austin's cultural explosion over the last three decades. Check out Willie Nelson & Merl Haggard recording at Arlyn Studios: Arlyn Studios Artist Gallery Andre 3000 Artic Monkeys Bobby Patterson Bonnie Raitt Coldplay David Crosby Gary Clark Jr. Lorde Neil Young Phish Ray...

Duration: 00:57:32

Record of the Week Revisit / Queen's "Ogre Battle"

Just what is being reversed at the beginning of "Ogre Battle"? Take a closer look at Queen's epic song with John and Stewart. With aggressive guitars and vocal harmonies - and an over-the-top premise - the song is classic Queen. "Ogre Battle" further captions a moment when Queen entered a new level in their recordings, thanks to producer Roy Thomas Baker.

Duration: 00:11:16

Episode 5: The Gear Whisperer - Ken McKim

John and Stewart are joined by Ken McKim, who has over 40 years under his belt as an engineer, and is also the founder of Retrospec audio and Trouble Report (which specializes in tech support for the recording industry). Ken discusses his time with legendary studios like RPM, Sigma Sound, and Allaire and shares the inspiration behind The Juice Box and The Squeeze Box. Ken's credits include The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Phil Ramone, Patti Smith, and many more. To learn more about Ken...

Duration: 01:20:56