Brendan O'Brien (record producer)
|Born||June 30, 1960|
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Brendan O'Brien (born June 30, 1960) is an American record producer, mixer, engineer, and musician. He has worked with many groups and artists during his career, such as AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Bob Dylan, Rage Against the Machine, and Bruce Springsteen.
His career blossomed as a young guitarist with a local Atlanta band by the name of Pranks, signed by what was then Century Artists Management. The management company had what many considered the best of Atlanta and the surrounding region in those days, including the likes of Mother's Finest, Ezra Pound and a dozen other "super-regional" acts. In the late 1970s, he moved on to writing, performing, and recording with the band Samurai Catfish.
O'Brien became a successful local engineer, considered to be the go-to guy to "make a record in a few days for $1500". His studio career was propelled by the success of the first Black Crowes album, Shake Your Money Maker, which he engineered and for which he also performed guitar, bass, and "a potpourri of instruments".  The following year he produced and mixed Stone Temple Pilots' debut album Core and engineered and mixed Red Hot Chili Peppers breakthrough album Blood Sugar Sex Magik. These two records launched his career as an in-demand, multi-platinum producer, engineer and mixer. He would go on to produce and mix nearly the entire catalog of Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam. Most of his productions were engineered by Nick DiDia, who he worked with throughout most of his career.
O'Brien would often engineer and record his own sessions with the help of various assistant engineers. A majority of the records that he produced and/or mixed were made at Southern Tracks Recording Studio near his home in Atlanta, from the late 1980s until its closure.
In the mid-1990s, O'Brien became vice president of Epic Records and the Epic imprint 57 Records. He also played a Hammond organ for Bob Dylan's appearance on MTV Unplugged. In 1995, he joined Pearl Jam and Neil Young on keyboard for the Mirror Ball tour across Europe.
In 2002, he won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album for his work on Bruce Springsteen's The Rising. In 2009, he was awarded the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. In 2015 he produced Higher Truth, the final release by Chris Cornell.
He produced the Italian bluesman Zucchero Fornaciari's 2016 album Black Cat and received production credits for track three of the 2017 EP Cold Dark Place by the progressive metal band Mastodon. The most recent album he produced was AC/DC's Power Up.
Below is a selection of albums Brendan O'Brien has worked on as a producer, engineer, or mixer.
- Kansas - In the Spirit of Things (engineer) (1988)
- Atlanta Rhythm Section - Truth in a Structured Form (engineer) (1989)
- Springhill - Southern Eulogy (producer, engineer, guitarist)
- Black Crowes - Shake Your Money Maker (engineer)
- King's X - Dogman (producer)
- Pearl Jam - Ten (mixer)
- Temple of the Dog - Temple of the Dog (mixer)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik (engineer)
- Black Crowes - The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (engineer)
- Jackyl - Jackyl (producer, engineer, mixer)
- The Jayhawks - Hollywood Town Hall (engineer, mixer)
- Stone Temple Pilots - Core (producer, mixer)
- Pearl Jam - Vs. (producer, engineer)
- Aerosmith - Get a Grip (mixer)
- Paul Westerberg - 14 Songs (mixer)
- Pearl Jam - Vitalogy (producer, engineer) (1994)
- Soundgarden - Superunknown (mixer) (1994)
- Stone Temple Pilots - Purple (producer) (1994)
- Neil Young - Mirror Ball (producer) (1995)
- Matthew Sweet - 100% Fun (producer, mixer)
- Pearl Jam - No Code (producer, mixer)
- Stone Temple Pilots - Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop (producer, mixer)
- Rage Against the Machine - Evil Empire (producer)
- Michael Penn - Resigned (producer)
- Matthew Sweet - Blue Sky on Mars (producer)
- Pearl Jam - Yield (producer, mixer)
- Rage Against the Machine - The Battle of Los Angeles (producer, mixer)
- Stone Temple Pilots - No. 4 (producer, mixer)
- Korn - Issues (producer, mixer)
- Lifehouse - No Name Face (mixer)
- The Offspring - Conspiracy of One (producer)
- Pearl Jam - Binaural (mixer)
- Train - Drops of Jupiter (producer, mixer)
- Papa Roach - Lovehatetragedy (producer)
- Pearl Jam - Riot Act (mixer)
- Bruce Springsteen - The Rising (producer) (2002)
- Train - My Private Nation (producer, mixer)
- The Offspring - Splinter (producer)
- Trey Anastasio - Shine (producer, mixer)
- Audioslave - Out of Exile (mixer)
- Bruce Springsteen - Devils & Dust (producer, mixer)
- Train - For Me, It's You (producer, mixer)
- The Nightwatchman - One Man Revolution (producer)
- Bruce Springsteen - Magic (producer, mixer)
- Velvet Revolver - Libertad (producer) (2007)
- The Nightwatchman - The Fabled City (producer)
- AC/DC - Black Ice (producer) (2008)
- Killswitch Engage - Killswitch Engage (producer)
- Mastodon - Crack the Skye (producer)
- Pearl Jam - Backspacer (producer)
- The Nightwatchman - World Wide Rebel Songs (mixer)
- Incubus - If Not Now, When? (producer)
- The Fray - Scars & Stories (producer)
- Third Day - Miracle (producer)
- Seether - Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray (producer)
- The Killers - Battle Born (producer, engineer, mixer)
- Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt (producer, mixer)
- AC/DC - Rock or Bust (producer) (2014)
- Seether - Isolate and Medicate (producer)
- Bruce Springsteen - High Hopes (producer, mixer)
- Blackberry Smoke - Holding All the Roses (producer)
- Prophets of Rage - Prophets of Rage (producer, mixer)
- Mastodon - Emperor of Sand (producer) (2017)
- Chris Cornell - Chris Cornell (producer) (2018)
- AC/DC - Power Up (Producer, mixing) (2020)
- Sandler, Adam, "O'Brien's Epic Deal," Variety.
- Austin L. Ray, "All Those Yesterdays: Brendan O'Brien Reminisces on the Evolution of Pearl Jam and the Making of Backspacer," Paste Magazine, September 18, 2009.
- "Grammy Winning Producer Brendan O'Brien Gives Advice To New Artists," Renman Music & Business, August 28, 2012.
- "Black Crowes - Shake Your Money Maker CD Album". CD Universe.
- Andy Greene, "Q&A: Pearl Jam Producer Brendan O'Brien on the Making of 'Lightning Bolt,'" Rolling Stone Magazine, July 31, 2013.
- "Past Winners Search", Grammy.com
- "Past Winners Search", Grammy.com
- "Brendan O'Brien - Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved March 10, 2020.