You can take the boy out of the music,

The early years - someone should have warned me!

The early years - someone should have warned me!

…but you can’t take the music out of the boy.

The Information Age being what it is, I figured it was only a matter of time before this picture, taken around 1970, was used against me in an extortion attempt. Better to fall on the sword.

The last time I recorded in a studio, tracks were laid down on 2” magnetic tape. Only one studio in Minneapolis was digitally equipped and reviews on the finished product were mixed. It was a moot point anyway, as that studio was far too expensive for working musicians such as ourselves.

My, how things have changed.

This weekend, I was invited to stop by Drum Farm Studio ( ), as I was passing through my old stomping grounds in northwestern Wisconsin. Drum Farm is owned by a new friend, John Richardson (drummer with Gin Blossoms, Joey Molland’s BadFinger, Tommy Keene, Shoes, etc.).

Randy Forte ( ) was in the process of recording his upcoming album. I walked in just in time to be handed some farm implement to begin rattling as part of a “rhythmic cacophony” track. The line for autographs starts over…..there.

Instead of discrete rows of faders and knobs and big machines with spinning reels, there is now a keyboard, several monitors and a Mac.


Oh, c’mon, Dave – they’re still using real guitars and drums – and NO pitch corrector/shifter gadget – give it a chance.

Besides, the organic ambience of John’s converted machine shed harkens back to the era in which some of Rock’s best recordings were captured and masks the neutered ones and zeros written to disc in the control room.

Here’s what hasn’t changed:

The invigoration received from a creative and collaborative environment.

The camaraderie of artists/musicians.

The latter is much more common in, shall we say; more “mature” musicians, when testosterone is no longer the governing agent. Contests and escapades in the past, it’s really nice to hang out with a group of fellow survivors.

Case in point were Producer Ken Coomer (drummer with Wilco, Swag, Uncle Tupelo) and Engineer Jonathan Pines (Fingerprint Audio, Rupert Neve Designs, Private Studios), neither of whom I’d met prior to that session. In some ways, it was like “old home week”, as we knew people in common or had crossed paths with people who had crossed paths with them.

Also added to my list of newest, bestest friends are bassist (and web designer) Marvin Forte ( ) and guitarist Mark Charles Kelly (who was born in Minot, ND shortly after the last time my band played at “The Torchlight” there – but don’t draw any conclusions from that!).

What was going to be a simple meet and greet wound up being over 7 hours of rejuvenation. I only got to hear our HI-TONE amp ( ) used on the last two tracks, but that didn’t matter. Those hours were way more enjoyable than what I’d had planned for the day.

Not exactly sure how to bring this home, other than to say I didn’t realize how much I missed that environment until I was re-exposed to it. Maybe if there’s a lesson here, it’s that we should bring more of our own personalities to our daily processes and act a little less like we think we’re “supposed to be”, as “Professionals”. I bet there’d be less stress, our work product would improve and our Clients could benefit as a result.


About Dave Pluke

Dave Pluke served as "the man behind the curtain" (Principal and VP of Technology) of a successful Structural Engineering firm for over 2 decades. Overseeing the transition from two, stand-alone 80286 Personal Computers, through Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and Design to a fully networked, Building Information Modeling (BIM) integrated environment has provided plenty of "life lessons" (sounds better than "battle scars", doesn't it?). This blog's purpose is to share those experiences and apply lessons learned to better assist meeting the challenges of the future.
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