Bruce Robb

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Bruce Robb
Bruce Robb.jpg
Background information
Born (1954-10-22) October 22, 1954 (age 60)
Genres Rock, R&B, Blues, Alternative Rock, Country Rock, Folk Rock, Classic Rock, Jazz
Occupation(s) Record Producer, Engineer, Musician, and Music Supervisor
Instruments Hammond B3, Keys, Vocals
Years active 1967–present
Labels Chess Records, Argo Records, RCA Records, Mercury Records, Atlantic Records, ABC-Dunhill Records
Associated acts The Robbs, Del Shannon, The Lemonheads, Steve Cropper, John Mellencamp, Ringo Starr, Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise, Art Garfunkel, Harry Nilsson

Bruce Robb (born October 22, 1954) is an American musician, record producer, engineer, and music supervisor. He is most recognized for his active role in the formative years of the music industry: first as a member of “The Robbs” during the music revolution of the 1960s, then as a founder of Cherokee Studios in the 1970s; followed by decades of producing, engineering and recording with artists like Mos Def, Macy Gray, Henry Rollins, Steve Vai, The Lemonheads, John Mellencamp, Steve Cropper, Ringo Starr, Etta James, Art Garfunkel, Rod Stewart, Del Shannon, Wilson Pickett...

Cherokee Studios founder[edit]

Cherokee Studios 1.jpg

By 1969, The Robbs now calling themselves “Cherokee” had settled on a ranch in Chatsworth, California. With the help of friends Roger Nichols and Toby Foster, the band converted their barn into one of the first ever artist-owned recording studios. Bruce was particularly enthusiastic about the idea because he had always disliked the sterile vibe in the studios of the era. It started with friends like Del Shannon, who brought Jeff Lynne from Electric Light Orchestra. Word spread bringing Little Richard, Bob Crewe, Michael McDonald... Then, Nichols recorded Steely Dan’s “Pretzel Logic,” and the studio now known as “Cherokee Ranch” earned their first gold record. All the while, Bruce was honing his skills as an engineer and producer under the tutelage of his gifted brother Dee.

In ’74, an eviction for running an “illegal home studio” prompted the Robbs to purchase the former MGM Recording Studios in Los Angeles. Once again, the artist-producers transformed the space and the momentum picked up again. Cherokee Studios built a client list that reads like a “Who’s Who” of the music industry with every major recording star from David Bowie to Michael Jackson to Elton John to Bob Dylan to each one of the Beatles… and everyone in between. In tandem with the studio, Bruce’s personal career soared. Before closing in 2007, Cherokee Studios had been awarded over 300 gold and platinum album credits, many of those belonging to Bruce for his work as a producer and/or engineer.

Record production and engineering[edit]

A simple calculation based on album award sales figures suggests that Bruce Robb’s contributions in production and/or engineering have supported record sales way in excess of 200 Million dollars.[citation needed]

Brothers Robb Production Inc.[edit]

Robb with Evan Dando Cherokee 2006

An A&R rep named Tom Carolan, who had known the Robb brothers for years at Cherokee, brought them their first major record to produce together with a new alternative band he had scouted for Atlantic Records called The Lemonheads. The album “It's a Shame About Ray” was a monster commercial success for Evan Dando. From the years of being a band together, the Robb brothers discovered a similar harmony in production that proved to be a winning formula. The artists benefited by having three producers who could interchange positions fluidly without interruption, and were strictly putting their collective focus on the artist’s music. The successful results attracted more artists like Buffalo Tom and Lita Ford, and then another gold record for The Lemonheads with “Come on Feel the Lemonheads.” During pre-production of the all female Japanese pop-punk band “Shonen Knife,” Dee Robb was diagnosed with Cancer. Bruce and Joe completed the album as “The Brothers Robb,” and then shifted focus back to their individual careers. After several years of treatment, Dee returned to the studio and the brothers joined together one more time for Ronnie Laws’ “Everlasting.” Although the production charted, their individual producing schedules rarely aligned again. (The partnership ended with Dee's sudden passing in 2008.)

Bruce Robb and Steve Cropper: partners in production[edit]

Robb and Cropper were thrown together one evening at Cherokee when Bruce was asked to engineer a session for Tower of Power that Cropper was producing. The two kindred spirits (with birthdays just a day apart) hit it off instantly, sparking a 20-year working relationship that spans a number of award-winning productions. The two musicians shared a sixth-sense about “feel,” which translated into the first hit record for then unknown John Cougar Mellencamp. There were also critically acclaimed recordings for established artists like Levon Helm (of The Band), Harry Nilsson and Robben Ford while Cropper made Cherokee his permanent home. The production duo also attracted quite a few film projects like Justine Bateman’s and Julia Roberts’ singing debut in “Satisfaction.” And Cropper’s membership in The Blues Brothers fostered creative relationships with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi for their movies, such as “Dragnet,” “The Great Outdoors,” and the infamous studio-banned title track by Fear for “Neighbors.” In spite of their busy schedule, they also produced two full-length albums for Steve Cropper as well. Cropper eventually relocated from Los Angeles to Nashville lessening their work as a production team, although the two continue to discuss new projects and their friendship remains very close.

Film and television[edit]

With Scarlett Pomers Premiere 2009

Bruce Robb was credited on his first movie soundtrack in the 1970s alongside Flo and Eddie of The Turtles when they produced an original score for a racy Roger Corman flick. Consistent with many Corman alums, it was the beginning of an impressive resume with credits in film and television equal to Robb’s album discography. He has particularly attracted the directors known for their distinct taste in music, such as David Lynch. The projects have been as varied as producing Shelley Duvall and Robin Williams singing showtunes for Robert Altman’s “Popeye” to recording a full orchestra in the scoring of “Twins.” He has also been credited as a producer alongside prominent music supervisors like Evyen Klean, with whom he collaborated for HBO’s Golden Globe award-winning "Lackawanna Blues". His most recent movie credit is the Amy Smart vehicle “Love N' Dancing,” for which he is listed as the music supervisor-producer and soundtrack producer, with other varied music credits (producer, engineer, arranger, mixing, performer, composer) on over 30 original songs recorded for the film’s dance choreography.

Bruce Robb and John Carpenter: 13 years of film music[edit]

With John & Cody Carpenter Cherokee 2005

Robb was introduced to the renowned sci-fi/horror director and composer at his Cherokee Studios. For their first collaboration, Carpenter hired Robb to produce the soundtrack for “Village of the Damned.” “Bruce Robb guided our compositions, molded them, shaped them, and when they came out of the speakers they were transformed into one of the most full, most romantic scores I've ever done,” says Carpenter on his official website for the Village soundtrack. Their mutual admiration and respect for music started a partnership that endured for over 13 years, and included “Vampire$,” which won a Saturn award for Best Music from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, and “Ghosts of Mars,” for which Robb produced the original heavy metal score performed by Anthrax with Steve Vai, Robin Finck, and Buckethead. Then in 2006, Carpenter passed the composer’s baton to his son Cody who began his first serious recordings under Robb’s guidance at Cherokee.

Touring years[edit]

"The Robbs"[edit]

Bruce Robb first gained exposure in the music industry as a member of “The Robbs”. The 1960s folk rock band was composed of brothers Dee Robb (lead vocals, guitar), Joe Robb (sax, vocals), Bruce Robb (Hammond B3, vocals) and “cousin” Craig “Robb” Krampf (drums, vocals). After some regional touring success, The Robbs were discovered by Dick Clark while performing at his Young World’s Fair at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago. Clark invited the band to guest on his hit music television show, “Where The Action Is.” Fan reaction to The Robb’s first TV appearance resulted in the band extending their stay to become series regulars for the final year of the series in 1967. During that same year, the band became one of the three house bands (with The Doors and The Chambers Brothers) at The Whisky on Sunset. The daily TV exposure catapulted the band to a brief celebrity period with heavy coverage in the major teen magazines alongside major groups like The Beatles, The Monkees, and The Kinks. Over the course of their performing years, The Robbs were recorded on Chess, Argo, RCA, Mercury, Atlantic and ABC/Dunhill record labels, and toured with major acts like Jerry Lee Lewis, The Byrds, The Turtles, Buffalo Springfield, The Beach Boys, and even opened for one of the first stateside performances of The Rolling Stones. The Robbs released a total of two full-length albums and a number of singles with mostly "bubbling under" appearances on the charts. The band never officially “broke up,” but rather got distracted by the spontaneous success of their own studio during the production of their third album (never released).

The Robbs produce Summerfest[edit]

In 1968, the new arts festival conceived by Milwaukee’s then-mayor Henry W. Maier was in the final planning stages, with music noticeably absent. At the urging of business leaders who wanted to attract the youth, the Mayor’s office was prompted to contact a Wisconsin native band for help. With a TV show and heavy touring schedule at the time, The Robbs were one of the most successful bands to come from the Milwaukee area. They agreed to headline and produce a music counterpart to the event. But, The Robbs insisted on expanding the city’s vision from small concerts on plywood staging at the lakefront, to a giant circus big top with professional sound and lighting and a 3,000-seat capacity. Beginning July 20, Summerfest’s inaugural eight-day concert series stole the spotlight with sold-out daily matinee and evening performances. The Robbs were joined onstage by: Ronnie Dove, Freddie Cannon, The Esquires, The New Colony Six, Eric and Errol, The Lemon Pipers, The Next Five, The Destinations, The Messengers, The Picture and The Wet Wild and Away Dancers. Teenage pandemonium far surpassed the conservative city’s expectations requiring additional security, but ultimately drawing the highest attendance of all the events of Summerfest.

The success of the music series attracted Led Zeppelin the following year, followed by every major artist from The Doors, The Beach Boys, and Bob Dylan, to Sting, Metallica, and Prince. Ironically, after years of planning for Summerfest, the last minute music event launched what has grown to become “The World’s Largest Music Festival” (certified by Guinness World Records in 1999) attracting up to 1 million people today.

Companies[edit]

Quarter 2 Three Records[edit]

Quarter 2 Three Records is Robb's indie record label. Artists include: blues and classic R&B artist Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise, hip hop group JustMATTER, and new artists in development. Recent label releases include: "Out of the Wilderness" by Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise and the original soundtrack for the motion picture "Love N' Dancing" by Various Artists.

Bruce Robb Productions[edit]

In addition to record production, Bruce Robb Productions focuses on original music production and music supervision services for the film, television and commercial industries. Robb's production company recently[when?] handled all of the music department tasks for the Amy Smart dance movie "Love N' Dancing." BRP delivered over 30 original songs created for specific dance choreography, with Robb as the lead music producer/composer/supervisor for the film’s original score and soundtrack.

A&R Studio Design + Construction[edit]

A&R Studio Design + Construction is a firm specializing in professional studio builds for the entertainment, broadcast and recording industries. A&R is: AUGSPURGER (acoustic architect George Augspurger), ANDERSON (former News Corp./Fox Studio's Project Manager John Anderson) and ROBB (Cherokee Studios' Bruce Robb).[citation needed]

List of albums produced, engineered, mixed by Robb[edit]

Artist Album Credits
Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise Out of the Wilderness Producer/Engineer/Mixing/Hammond B3
Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise Still Lovin’ You Producer/Engineer/Mixing/Hammond B3
David Jaurequi Fox Bat Strategy: A Tribute to Dave Jaurequi Engineer/Mixing
Shelby Lynne Just Because I’m a Woman The Songs of Dolly Parton Producer/Engineer/Mixing
Shelby Lynne Identity Crisis Producer/Engineer/Mixing
Shelby Lynne Definitive Collection Producer/Engineer/Mixing
Various Artists Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three Engineer
The Lemonheads 3 for One Producer/Engineer/Mixing/B3
The Lemonheads Come on Feel the Lemonheads Producer/Engineer/Mixing/B3
The Lemonheads It's a Shame About Ray & Collector Edition Producer/Engineer/Mixing/B3
Cher Heart of Stone Engineer
Cher Chronicles Engineer
Ronnie Laws Everlasting Producer/Engineer/Mixing/B3
Selena Dreaming of You Engineer/Mixing
Rickie Lee Jones Flying Cowboys Engineer
John Cougar Mellencamp Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits Producer/Engineer/Mixing
John Cougar Mellencamp The Best That I Could Do 1978-1988 Producer/Engineer/Mixing
John Cougar Mellencamp Nothin' Matters and What If It Did Producer/Engineer/Mixing
Dr. John Mos’ Scocious: Anthology Engineer/Mixing
Burton Cummings Dream of a Child Producer/Engineer/Mixing
Burton Cummings Woman Love Producer/Engineer/Mixing
Burton Cummings Sweet Sweet Producer/Engineer/Mixing
Burton Cummings Heart Producer/Engineer/Mixing
Burton Cummings Collection Producer/Engineer/Mixing
Buffalo Tom Big Red Letter Day Producer/Engineer/Mixing/B3
Soul Asylum Grave Dancer's Union Engineer/Mixing
Warpipes Holes in the Heavens Engineer
Flo & Eddie Best of Flo & Eddie Engineer/Mixing/B3/Piano/BG vocals
Barbra Streisand The Broadway Album Engineer
Barry Manilow Manilow Engineer/Mixing
Steve Cropper Playing My Thang Producer/Engineer/Mixing
Steve Cropper Night After Night Producer/Engineer/Mixing
Ringo Starr Stop and Smell the Roses Engineer/Mixing
Levon Helm Levon Helm 1978 Engineer/Mixing
Levon Helm Levon Helm 1982 Engineer/Mixing
Harry Nilsson Flash Harry Producer/Engineer/Mixing
Billy Vera & the Beaters The Best of Billy Vera & The Beaters Engineer/Mixing
Billy Vera & the Beaters By Request Engineer/Mixing
Etta James Deep in the Night Engineer/Mixing
Art Garfunkel Watermark Engineer/Mixing
Jean-Luc Ponty Mystical Adventures Engineer
Tower of Power We Came To Play Engineer
Robben Ford The Inside Story Engineer/Mixing
Bob Crewe Motivation Engineer/Mixing
Livingston Taylor Man’s Best Friend Engineer/Mixing
Maria Muldaur Open Your Eyes Engineer/Mixing
Nazareth Malice in Wonderland Engineer/Mixing
Jewel First Studio Recording Producer/Engineer/Mixing
The Robbs The Robbs B3, Piano, Background Vocals
The Robbs Cherokee B3, Piano, Background Vocals

List of films and television shows with music credits for Robb[edit]

Film/TV Credits
Love N' Dancing Music Supervisor

Producer/Engineer/5.1 Mixing Composer/Arranger/Contractor B3/synthesizer/Wurlitzer/Piano/vibes/percussion/ BG vocals Over 30 orig. custom songs

The Story of Hudson Hawk Engineer, Bruce Willis & Robert Kraft piano interview
Masters of Horror: John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns Music Supervisor

Producer/Engineer/Mixing

Lackawanna Blues Producer/Engineer/Mixing

Arranger/Contractor B3/Wurlitzer Orig. prods. w/Mos Def, Macy Gray, Robert Bradley

Just Friends Producer/Engineer/Mixing

“Into Your Arms” (The Lemonheads)

Punch-Drunk Love Producer/Engineer/Mixing

“He Needs Me” (Shelley Duvall)

Run Ronnie Run Producer/Engineer/Mixing

“Ass Kickin’ Fat Kid” theme song w/Scott Ian (Anthrax) & Samantha Maloney (Hole)

John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars Music Supervisor

Producer/Engineer/5.1 Mixing Fender Rhodes Carpenter’s score w/Anthrax, Steve Vai, Buckethead, Elliot Easton, Robin Finck

The Other Sister Engineer/Mixing

“Mrs. Robinson” (The Lemonheads)

Don Juan DeMarco Engineer/Mixing

Orig. prods. w/Selena, Sol de Mexico (incls. Sp. vers. Bryan Adam’s theme)

John Carpenter's Vampires Music Supervisor

Producer/Engineer/5.1 Mixing Arranger/Contractor B3/percussion Carpenter’s score w/Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, Jeff Baxter

The Experts Engineer/5.1 Mixing

“Back in the USSR” remake

Twins Engineer/5.1 Mixing

Orig. score prod w/composer Randy Edelman

The Great Outdoors Engineer/5.1 Mixing “Land of a Thousand Dances” remake w/ WilsonPickett & The Elwood Blues Revue

“Hot Fun in the Summertime” remake w/The Elwood Blues Revue & Sam Moore

Satisfaction Engineer/Mixing Orig. soundtrack w/Justine Bateman, Julia Roberts, Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn & James Burton
Innerspace Producer/Engineer/Mixing “Twistin’ the Night Away” w/Rod Stewart end titles theme
Dragnet Engineer, Mixing “Just the Facts” theme & other songs w/Dan Akroyd
Melanie Producer/Engineer/Mixing “You Saved My Soul” theme & other songs w/Burton Cummings
Neighbors Producer/Engineer/Mixing End title theme w/Fear (Belushi’s pick, but rejected)
Popeye Producer/Engineer/Mixing Orig. Harry Nilsson songs w/Shelley Duvall, Robin Williams
Down and Dirty Duck Engineer, Mixing B3, Wurlitzer, piano, BG vocals Orig. soundtrack w/Flo & Eddie (The Turtles)
Charmed Engineer/Mixing Orig. theme song w/Liz Phair & Angelo Badalamenti
Crime Story Producer/Engineer/Mixing Series theme song remake of “Runaway” w/Del Shannon
The Nutcracker: A Fantasy on Ice Engineer/Mixing Lorne Greene’s narration
The George Burn’s Special Live Broadcast Engineer/Mixer

References[edit]

External links[edit]