When Dave Bianco rediscovered Mama Jo’s recording studio in 2006, he was looking to create something new. Things were changing in the music industry. The days of large budget, studio produced albums were disappearing and Dave realized that if talented artists, producers, and engineers hoped to keep making music, the model for recording would have to transform.
Dave was a Grammy award-winning producer, engineer, and mixer. The many artists he worked with include Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, The Jayhawks, Teenage Fanclub, Masters of Reality, AC/DC, Danzig, Failure, and John Mellencamp (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/david-bianco-mn0000530421/credits).
Dave started playing music at the age of four. He continued to play and study through his teenage years, high school, and college. At twenty-one, he drove from his home in New Jersey to Los Angeles and soon got a job at the Record Plant, where he worked for many years and where he met his wife, Lisa, and his best friend, Jim Scott.
Dave made music and worked with musicians because he loved it. After years in the industry, he saw clearly how it was changing and knew artists, producers, engineers, and studios would need a new paradigm if they wanted to continue making good music. In a scruffy, rundown studio in North Hollywood, Dave saw the potential for a space where artists could relax, create, collaborate, and enjoy the creative process.
He transformed the studio with new floors, textile wall coverings, and vintage concert posters, and as he described it, “a nice Neve sidecar console, some pretty nifty preamps, equalizers, compressors, and a nice complement of microphones”. He even paved the dirt lot and added plants, creating an inviting outdoor space where visitors could appreciate the LA weather.
After handpicking equipment that would allow for a streamlined workflow, Dave started his install. Once the studio was up and running, he realized he would need extra hands. He called on several old friends and colleagues; Paul Fig, David Spreng, Will Kennedy and Rafael Serrano were among them. Assistant engineer, Steve Olmon, joined the group a few years in. Owning his own studio allowed Dave to produce the kind of high quality music that he had been creating at larger studios like A&M and Larrabee, but at costs that musicians could afford.
In the 12 years that Dave owned and worked at Dave’s Room, he captured timeless and groundbreaking music. He called these experiences a “ringside seat to greatness”. Some of the extraordinary performances he described as “blowing the roof off the place” were by Ian McLagan and Lucinda Williams.
When Dave passed away in 2018, the world lost an incredible talent, an intelligent and kind human being, and a man with the vision to see where the music industry was headed and the ability to keep pace with the changes. When musing on the state of the industry Dave wrote, “nowadays it’s all about getting great sounds, achieving decent work flow, and dealing with ever-shrinking budgets.” That remains truer today than when he said it in 2012.
After their father’s death, James and Jesse Bianco asked a few of Dave’s close friends if they would be willing and able to keep Dave’s Room running. Owning a studio in the 21st century is a daunting and potentially risky endeavor, but their love of Dave’s Room and their desire to sustain Dave Bianco’s legacy convinced Paul Fig and David Spreng that it was worth the effort.
Paul and David’s mission for the studio is to maintain, and as much as possible improve, their friend Dave Bianco’s recording studio. The most important aspect of this goal is to preserve Dave’s vision of providing a recording environment that fosters creativity, produces the highest quality recordings, and is both relaxed and comfortable.