David Bianco, Grammy-Winning Producer, Dies
Grammy-winning producer David Bianco died after suffering a stroke, multiple sources confirmed.
His production, mixing and engineering credits include work with Bob Dylan, Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC, Mick Jagger and many others. In 1996, he won a Grammy for his work on Tom Petty’s Wildflowers album. Other notable works include Osbourne’s Ozzmosis, Jagger’s Wandering Spirit and Dylan’s Together Through Life.
Calling him “Rick Rubin’s secret weapon for a while,” Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz recalled how Bianco “lessened the pressure” when his band struggled for direction at the end of the ‘90s. “When it came to production, he was bold, ‘commit it to tape if you believe in it,’ be it compression, reverb, whatever,” wrote Janovitz. “And he felt like, not only should every pop song have a middle-eight, but that the middle-eight should be the key to the lyrical theme. As I said, he loved the Beatles. So we wrote more middle eights. And ‘NO INSTRUMENTAL MIDDLE EIGHTS! COP OUT!’”
The Posies dedicated their track “Solar Sister” to Bianco last night after Ken Stringfellow told the audience in Cleveland how he saved their 1993 album, Frosting on the Beater, after a previous studio operator had let them down. “A great engineer, a great mixer, and he just did everything that needed to be done," Stringfellow said. "That record sounds the way it does largely because of Dave’s effort. His mixes are so fucking good. He passed away today from a stroke. I’d like to dedicate a song to him.”
In an interview with Tape Op, Bianco explained how he got his start at Los Angeles’ Record Plant studios in the ‘70s after landing a job as a janitor there. He went on to recall how Dylan had wanted a one-mic recording setup for 2009’s Together Through Life, and how he’d made it appear that there was only one mic in the studio while having hidden many more in select locations.
“I was prepared when Bob came into the control room and said, ‘I can't hear Mike [Campbell]'s guitar,” Bianco said. “I had an SM57 [mic] tucked inside his amp and pushed the fader up. Bob said, "Oh, yeah. That's better!" It was a lot of fun; we had a lot of success and a number one with that record. The next time we met up was for a Christmas record. He told me that everyone was asking him how we got that sound on the last record. But he said, ‘I’m not going to tell 'em. I can't tell 'em.’ But I'm actually not sure he had any idea.”