San Francisco - Greetings From The San Francisco Chapter Board: Judy Kirschner

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Judy Kirschner – Engineer

San Francisco Governor

How/When did you get your start? 

I walked into the studio at SFSU and the light bulb went on. I started taking audio classes with John Barsotti. I did Live Sound for awhile then moved to New York City to work in studios, hopefully, preserving my hearing.

What was the most interesting experience you’ve had while working?

Assisting on a Ruben Blades record. They were jamming on the last song very intensely, in the control room, we were so silent, you could hear a pin drop. I nervously watched the tape (real 2” tape) as it was about to run out.... then it did. Not before getting most of that song and its jam down. Also, celebrating the 4th of July with John Fausty and Keith Richards at Electric Lady Studios.

Who is someone you would like to work with and why?

John Lennon, because I will never get that chance. Jack White because I love what he does, but I am not crazy about the mixes.

How does a band or artist become a brand?  

Too sad to think about... it’s music, not a brand. IMHO, this IS the very problem with music industry, some things can be branded, and others should not be. ;-)

What is your favorite piece of equipment and why?

My speakers (they tell me true) and a good mic!

Where/how do you hear about new music?

Friends mostly.

What’s the best part about the San Francisco music scene?

That it still exists even with so few clubs to play in.

What artist or band should people know right now? 

These Old Wounds and Lia Rose.

What book would you recommend as a must read for someone?

“On the Road” by Jack Kerouac.

What 5 albums would you say are a must listen too for everyone?  

There are so many... Beatles, “The White Album,” (anything after, anything before, or any Beatles’ album), Nirvana “Unplugged In New York,” almost any Jazz album from the 40s and early-mid 50s, The Rolling Stones “Exile on Main Street”, and Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”

What’s a piece of advice you’ve learned that you wish someone had shared with you?  

Listen carefully and don’t reach for the compressor unless necessary.

Growing up, which artists inspired you the most?

The Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, 60’s garage bands, Nuggets.

What advice would you give to a young artist just starting out in the music business?

Be true to yourself. Do what makes you happy and for as long as it makes you happy.

What Social Networking sites do you use the most?

Facebook, ugh!

What are your favorite performance venues in San Francisco?

Probably Bottom of the Hill and Slims, but I haven’t been to either in a long while.

What are your “secrets to success?” 

As long as it makes you happy....

Do you believe mentorship is important? Who were your mentors early on in your career and what impact did they have on your experience in the business?

I can’t say I actually had mentors, but the two that stand out are John Fausty and Al Fierstein. I spent about a year working with Salsa and Merengue bands, and Fausty was/is the king recording and mixing Latin music. He knew how to mic a full band, often 9 or more players at time, and he understood the music. Fierstein (RIP) owned a Sorcerer Sound in NYC, and I was lucky to work there. He didn’t like being called when there were problems, so I had to kind of figure it out. 

Who are your favorite new artists right now? 

These Old Wounds, Dan Aurbach, Jack White. I’m sure there are more...