Erwin Musper

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Erwin Musper (born 11 December 1948, The Hague) is a Dutch music producer who started as keyboardist/singer of the Dutch bands Windmill and Partner. He also is an internationally acclaimed mixer, producer and engineer of acts like Anouk, Doe Maar, Toontje Lager, Normaal, Herman Brood, Solution, Chicago (band), Gorky Park, Elton John, Jeff Beck, Paco de Lucia,[1] Metallica, Vengeance, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Scorpions. From 1993 until 2015, he wrote a monthly column for the Dutch music magazine Music Maker.[2]

Born December 11, 1948 in The Hague, the Netherlands, Erwin soon moved to Limburg where he lived from 1949 until 1984. He moved to the USA in 1991.

Erwin discovered music via Radio Luxemburg and started playing guitar. Erwin's first band was Keem in 1968, with Charles Bouwens, John Jacobs, Piet Volders and Martin Bouwens. Erwin played guitar and sang in this group. In 1970 they played the first unofficial Pinkpop festival at the Gulperberg. There, Erwin was spotted by The Sharons, a professional band from Maastricht; he joined their ranks after a few weeks, with Pierre Beckers, Jo Robeers and Harry Heltzel. They tour Germany and Czechoslovakia. After releasing a couple of singles the band breaks up.

Erwin continued with Pierre and Jo in 1972 under the name of Opus, with Chrit Mandigers briefly as organist, who brought the name with him. They mainly toured in Germany and Scandinavia. With Jean Innemee and Conny Peters (The Walkers) they record a single titled 'Ohio Sun'. On the track, Erwin sang the lyric "I'm a son of Cincinnati," which later appears prophetical, as does the name Opus. After this single Bert Bessems joins as solo guitarist. For a while they play covers in the Limburg dance halls under the name of Windmill in which Erwin plays keyboards. It becomes a regional success and they record four singles, 'Angeline', 'Lelia', 'Amy', and 'For you to remember', which is a modest hit. Ab van Goor replaces Jo Robeers on vocals and drums in 1976. Despite a busy agenda the band works silently on their own material and sends a demo to Phonogram Records in Hilversum. Producer Dennis Kloeth hears the material and offers the band a record deal.

In 1977 'Kayuta Hill' is recorded and the band's name is changed into Partner. The single is a big hit and the band moves into the brand new Wisseloord studio to record their first album. 'A man size job requires a man size meal' is released in 1978 and is an instant hit. The band is invited to play the Pinkpop festival in front of 55.000 people. They also open for 10CC and their live concerts are broadcast on radio and TV. Two albums follow; ' On second Thoughts' and 'The sky is the limit'. No big hits this time and in 1981 Partner calls it quits.

STUDIO

For Erwin, being in a studio became his obsession to the point that he, together with Jean Innemee, Conny Peters, Pierre Beckers and Charly Prick, built a studio in the old castle of Borgharen and started a record label named Marlstone. Here they discovered Frank Boeijen, with which Erwin and Pierre, who both worked in the pop/rock department of Marlstone, had their first hit as producers. Another idea was a record with bands from Limburg. This became the now legendary "Southern Harvest" in 1978. Dutch language hardrock band Vandale had their albums also produced in the Marlstone studio. After a while, Pierre moved into the organisational side of the label, and Erwin started living in the castle and recorded The Press, The Chaplin Band and Decennium. In 1980 Erwin's studio tricks are recognized by the Telstar label in Weert. He is offered a contract as technician/producer and starts a series of successful recordings. His first platinum album is a production for Toontje Lager after which he records 'Virus' by famous Dutch band Doe Maar. This was the first digital recording in the Netherlands.

When the platinum album from Virus was released, Erwin received a CD and a prototype of the first CD player. Records with Maastricht born Leon Haines and two albums with Herman Brood plus an album with Girls Walk By from Roermond (including Gé Reinders in English) followed, but Erwin couldn't forget his memories from 1977 in the Wisseloord studios. He sent a letter to the studiomanager in Hilversum and is hired immediately. In 1984 Erwin sells his share in Marlstone, which until now is still having successes in the Limburg artist world, and he moves to Hilversum where he becomes a talent scout for Phonogram, bringing in vocalist Blanche Elliz, also Maastricht-born. He scores his first international act because he is the only technician who speaks French. Paco de Lucia records two albums with Erwin and thus starts his worldtour. Erwin produces rockband Zinatra, for which Erwin (co)writes many songs. He also produces Robby Valentine, breaking through in Japan. In 1986 Erwin works on the album 'Hysteria' by Def Leppard. This is a one and a half year long production that eventually sells 24 million copies. He also does sessions with Elton John, Mick Jagger and Metallica.

Because another engineer became ill, Erwin is asked to record Bon Jovi live in England. The band's producer, Bruce Fairbairn, is pleased with the recordings and asks for Erwin's phone number. Three weeks later Erwin gets a phone call from the USA. Bruce is producing a session with David Bowie and asks Erwin to help. This is the start of a long collaboration with Fairbairn. Between 1988 and 1996 Erwin works on albums with Van Halen (3), Chicago and Scorpions (5). With the Scorpions he works in 1990 in Los Angeles on their album 'Crazy World'. With the monster hit 'Wind of Change', this album sells 8 million copies. Because of these successes, the phone keeps ringing and albums with Danger Danger, Warrant, and David Lee Roth are a few that follow.

In 1991, Erwin moves to the USA, first settling in Florida. He works mainly in the famed Criteria studios in Miami en New River studios in Fort Lauderdale. One of the bands he brings to the US is dialect rocking legend Normaal, whose hit album 'Gas d'r biej' is recorded, after which four more collaborations follow.

Erwin travels back to Germany and Austria to record an album with another Opus, from the hit 'Live is life', and the English band Laos. In München he produces and engineers an album for American Tony Carey. In the meantime, Erwin works on soundtracks for films, of which Twister and Gladiator are the most known.

Despite living in the USA, Erwin works with Van Dik Hout, Raccoon, De Poema's, BLØF, Mennen and Hennie Vrienten, which he produces at the Wisseloord studios. In 2000 Erwin buys a house in Hollywood where he works with Anouk on her album 'Urban Solitude'. In 2003 the Scorpions hire Erwin again as producer and engineer for their album 'Unbreakable'. Recorded in Hannover and mixed in the Wisseloord studios in Hilversum, it yields Erwin a nomination as Producer of the Year in an international acclaimed hardrock magazine. During these recordings Erwin decides to build a studio again, in a giant house on a hill near Cincinnati, Ohio.

Erwin in the control room of the Bamboo Room Studio
Erwin in the control room of the Bamboo Room Studio

Erwin names the studio 'Studio the Bamboo Room' because the flooring in the studio is bamboo instead of wood. Anouk is the first artist to walk through the door, writing songs with Dan Hill for her album 'Who's your momma'. Continuing with a long-standing theme, Erwin produces a local band named 'Oval Opus'.

In 2008 the SCORPIONS have Erwin mix their album again. Erwin recruits the local scene and starts his own label : YEAYEAYEAH Records.

Over fifty American artists have recorded their album at The Bamboo Room. Erwin also has a mobile studio and records video and audio from concerts. Many bands fly overseas to work with Erwin. A few Dutch bands that recorded in the Bamboo Room: Rigby, The New Shining, Ward Palmen, Mennen, the Dudettes, Vanderlinde, King of the World, Mooi Wark, Maladjusted, Exit 31, Touching Tongues, Wasted, Rory Mi, and the LSB Experience.

In 2009 Erwin hears a high school band during a talent contest in Cincinnati. He suggests a name change, a few personnel changes and produces their first album. It triggers the interest of RCA. The label is excited, gives a high budget but hires another producer. The band becomes the best selling RCA act under the name Walk the Moon.

In 2014 Erwin decides to call it a day. He sells the studio and moves to another part of the world to enjoy his retirement. He buys a house on the Pacific Ocean in Ecuador and gets involved in helping a local orphanage. Although officially retired, he keeps the door open to occasionally accept a producer/engineering/mixing job.He pledges to donate at least half of those earnings to the orphanage. For that reason, he builds a mixing studio in his house.

FAMILY

Erwin Musper had a daughter, Muriel and two sons, Jacco and Jeroen (who had two sons, Thomas and Floris Musper). His father Erich moved to Canada after retiring from working all over the world, and settled in Temagami Ontario, where he raised goats and made goat milk and cheese. He was also a great artist and painter, making beautiful artwork and carvings until his death. He also donated several archeological artifacts to the Smithsonian institute in Sudbury, gathered over decades from traveling all over the world. He was a great storyteller and collector of everything. His house was like a museum. He was truly one of a kind. Erwin definitely inherited his talented attributes. He was very proud of his son. Everyone in the Temagami area knew who Erich was. He was a legend in his adopted country just like his son was in the music industry.

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