John Agnello

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John Agnello
John Agnello in the studio.
John Agnello in the studio.
Background information
GenresRock, indie, punk rock, garage rock
Occupation(s)Music producer
Years active1979 - present

John Agnello (born c. 1959) is an American producer, recording engineer and mixer who has been involved with many albums throughout the last 25 years. Most recently, John has been involved with Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth, Alvvays, Sweet Apple, Dinosaur Jr., Thurston Moore and Jemina Pearl.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]


Early work[edit]

Agnello's life in the studio began in 1979 at the age of 19 while working as an intern at the legendary Record Plant Studios in Manhattan. He worked his way up the ladder and became the studio’s go-to-assistant. He assisted on a number of albums including those by Aerosmith, Twisted Sister, Scandal, John Cougar Mellencamp, and John Waite. John also worked briefly on “Born In the USA” with Bruce Springsteen. However, working on Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual! had the biggest recording and production impact on him at the time.[8] He worked with some of the great engineers and producers of that time, including, Jack Douglas, Jimmy Iovine, Rick Chertoff, William Wittman, Mike Chapman, Dave Thoener, Jay Messina, Roy Cicala, and Shelly Yakus.

He got his first true break engineering on the second album by The Hooters. He was involved with artists such as Patty Smyth, Sophie B. Hawkins and The Outfield. The Outfield's first record, Play Deep, had a #2 hit with "Your Love".

Around that time, he also got to do one off session with Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger, two of his favorite artists. The Bob Dylan song was “Series Of Dreams” which he co-mixed with Bill Wittman. That version was used by NARAS when presenting Bob Dylan with his lifetime achievement award. And the Mick Jagger song, "Hard Woman", was for a special made-for-MTV only video.


During the early nineties, Agnello began an association with Dinosaur Jr. and the Screaming Trees. This collaboration has extended through almost a dozen records. In fact, John recently mixed the heralded Dinosaur Jr. reunion record, Beyond, with the original lineup. He was also responsible for productions with artists such as Buffalo Tom, Chainsaw Kittens, Jawbox, Chavez, Redd Kross, Madrugada and Patti Smith, among others. He also worked with Alice Cooper on The Last Temptation Of Alice Cooper.



Agnello has worked with such artists as Sonic Youth, The Living End, Andrew W.K., Drive-By Truckers and Social Distortion. He has helmed both Boys And Girls In America and Stay Positive by The Hold Steady.[2][3][8][9]

Even though he excels at the hard edge sound of many of the aforementioned artists, he's also adept at working with the subtler sounds of artists such as Son Volt, The Kills, Thurston Moore, The Walkmen, and Five for Fighting.[6][10]

Agnello has also been involved with many newer artists including Scottish band The Hazey Janes. Agnello mixed one of their records in Spain in 2006. Agnello also worked with Jennifer O'Connor on her latest album, Here With Me, for Matador Records.

Agnello has had commercial success overseas. The three records he did with Norwegian band Madrugada have scored both critical and commercial success. In the press release for the current record, Madrugada, they describe Agnello as "the external creative force that has had the most influence on Madrugada’s artistic development.” Agnello has also had success with another Norwegian band, Turbonegro, on their last record, Retox.[11]

In October 2012, Agnello produced the sixth album from indie punk band The Thermals.[12]

In 2015, Agnello produced the album Manhattan for the anti-folk singer Jeffrey Lewis.[13]


  • Nothing - "Dance On The Blacktop", 2018
  • Kevin Devine - "Instigator", 2016
  • Kurt Vile - Wakin on a Pretty Daze, 2013
  • The Black Clouds - Better Days, 2013
  • Okkervil River - "The Silver Gymnasium", 2013
  • Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo, 2011
  • Sonic Youth - The Eternal, 2009
  • Dinosaur Jr., "Farm", 2009
  • The Hold Steady, Stay Positive, 2008
  • The Living End, White Noise, 2008
  • Jennifer O’Connor, Here With Me, 2008
  • Madrugada, Madrugada, 2008
  • The Hazey Janes, Hands Around the City, 2008
  • Thurston Moore, Trees Outside The Academy, 2007
  • Turbonegro, Retox, 2007
  • Dinosaur Jr., Beyond, 2007
  • My Midnight Creeps, Histamin, 2007
  • The Ponys, Turn the Lights Out, 2007
  • Son Volt, The Search, 2007
  • Oxford Collapse, Remember The Night Parties, 2006
  • The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America, 2006
  • Andrew WK, Close Calls with Brick Walls, 2006
  • Sonic Youth, Rather Ripped, 2006


  1. ^ "Pitchfork: Kurt Vile Announces New Album". Retrieved December 22, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Sonic Youth: Discography". Archived from the original on 2010-07-27. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Sonic Youth: Discography". Archived from the original on 2010-07-17. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  4. ^ Michaels, Sean (December 3, 2009). "Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis announces new band". The Guardian. London. Retrieved December 3, 2009.
  5. ^ "Audio Pro International: Interview: Engineer John Agnello The man behind Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr.'s latest albums". Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Ecstatic Peace!: Trees Outside the Academy". Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  7. ^ "Spinner: Ex-Be Your Own Pet Singer Jemina Pearl Matures on Solo Album". Retrieved December 3, 2009.
  8. ^ a b "John Agnello: Discography". Retrieved December 3, 2009.
  9. ^ "Paste Magazine: The Hold Steady Studio Diary: Stay Positive". Retrieved October 9, 2008.
  10. ^ "Listen, dammit: Indie-rock producer John Agnello talks shop and explains his favorite records". Retrieved July 22, 2009.
  11. ^ Discogs, Turbonegro Retox,
  12. ^ "The Thermals made a new album, recorded it in Hoboken as Sandy hit, plan to be at SXSW". The Brooklyn Vegan. 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2018-07-08.
  13. ^ "Jeffrey Lewis Announces New Album 'Manhattan' And Streams First Single "Outta Town"". Retrieved 2018-07-08.

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