|Born||Havertown, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|Genres||Rock, heavy metal, pop, pop rock, glam metal, punk rock, post-grunge, hard rock, country|
|Instruments||piano, synthesizer, organ|
Howard Benson is an American music producer and multi-instrumentalist. Benson has produced such artists as My Chemical Romance, The All-American Rejects, Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, Gavin DeGraw, Rascal Flatts, P.O.D., Theory of a Deadman, Motörhead, Bon Jovi, Santana, Halestorm, Orianthi, Flyleaf, Skillet, Three Days Grace, Adam Lambert, Hoobastank, Creed, Chris Cornell, and Papa Roach. Benson has twice been nominated for Producer of the Year in 2007 and 2008.
Life and career
Howard Benson began playing keyboards in rock bands at the age of 13 and learned music arrangement intuitively from the experience. He attended college at Drexel University and studied engineering. During his years at Drexel, Benson took a year off and studied composition at the Philadelphia College for Performing Arts before graduating from Drexel with a degree in materials engineering. After graduation he moved to Los Angeles and worked for Garrett AiResearch, where he worked on aircraft such as the C-5s and F-18s. At that time he regularly played with his band in small Hollywood clubs and when his band finally went into the studio with a producer, he was inspired to become a record producer.
His breakthrough came with the production of two albums for hardcore punk band T.S.O.L. (Revenge (1986) and Hit and Run (1987)), but the first record he produced for a major record label was Bang Tango's Psycho Café in 1989.
Major Label work
Benson states that discovering Pro Tools, in 1998 while working with Sepultura, was a major turning point in his career. He was asked to produce P.O.D.'s The Fundamental Elements of Southtown album in 1999 which then became a platinum-selling record. In 2000 Benson produced P.O.D.'s multi-platinum-selling Satellite at Bay 7 Studios and since then he has recorded numerous multi-platinum-selling albums there.
Over the next few years Benson produced records from acts like Cold, Crazy Town, P.O.D.'s follow-up to the multi-platinum-selling Satellite, Payable on Death, and really hit his stride with the influential record Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge from My Chemical Romance, after which, he produced numerous multi-platinum records such as The All-American Rejects, Hoobastank, Flyleaf, Daughtry, Kelly Clarkson, Seether, Third Day, Theory of a Deadman, Three Days Grace, Adam Lambert, Skillet, Santana and Caleb Johnson.
He now works exclusively at West Valley Studios, in Woodland Hills.
"The main focus for me, you know, is on the songs, and the lyrics and the vocals. I don't let anybody in the studio when I'm doing vocals. I do them myself. No one's allowed in. That's like, to me, where I really get the impact of the record across. That's something that I didn't really pay attention to early on. I was like, 'Oh, I've got to get this great guitar sound, that's important.' It is important, but what's really important is the singing, the performance of the singer.
He has also expressed the need for star power in an artist. "When I don't see that compelling element in an artist or an artist's message, that spark you need to be an entertainment star, it can be hard. You can fix everything else, but you can't fix that."
Benson prefers to record in what he calls a parallel system: "We don't do one thing at a time. When we're doing our guitars and bass, a lot of the time we're recording vocals in another room at the same time. We constantly keep everybody working. So the songs are coming together all at once." After the recording of an album he has usually brought everything to his home studio, Sparky Dark Studios, where he does the arrangements and adds harmonies and his own keyboard parts. His personnel consists of main engineer Mike Plotnikoff, who had previously worked at Little Mountain Sound Studios, Pro Tools engineer Paul Decarli, Guitar tech Mark Van Gool, who had worked for Dave Navarro, and second engineer Hatsukazu "Hatch" Inagaki
Benson has exclaimed that he is happy to jump genres in his work, going from pop to really hard rock, and everything in between. "I worry about the songs only. If you worry too much about genres, it'll cause trouble as they change so much and so quickly."
In 2010, he established and teaches the advanced production class at Drexel University's Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. In 2011, he established the Howard and Monica Benson Endowed Scholarship Fund for students enrolled at the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design.
|2001-2004||Executive VP, Sr. VP of A&R/Producer||Elektra Records|
|2007–present||A&R/Production Consultant||Warner Bros. Records|
Howard Benson has been Grammy nominated twice for Producer of the Year:
2007 for producing Hoobastank (Every Man for Himself), Flyleaf (Flyleaf), Less Than Jake (In With the Out Crowd), Three Days Grace (One-X), Relient K (Five Score and Seven Years Ago), Papa Roach (The Paramour Sessions), Head Automatica (Popaganda) and Saosin (Saosin)
Drexel 100 Medal, Class of 2011
- "Interview, HitQuarters Jan 2006". Hitquarters.com. Retrieved Nov 3, 2012.
-  Hit Quarters, January 30, 2006
-  Crusher Magazine, November 2004
- Grammy-Nominated Producer Turns Tracks Into Gold Mix Online, Feb 1, 2007
- Feature "Howard Benson: Producer" Crusher Magazine; November 2004
-  Ultimate-Guitar.com, May 4, 2011
- "Gear: Howard Benson's Round-the-Clock Rock". Billboard Magazine. June 1, 2013.
-  MusicMag.com May 2012
-  Drexel.edu