About Ross Pallone
I have been working in the professional audio business now for over 40 years. I started out as a drummer in my teenage years. Played in many cover and original bands until I was around 22. I was frustrated with the attitude of the musicians I was playing with as they did not take it seriously enough for me. After a year of not playing, I ran into an old high school classmate, Bill Bottrell, that was working at California Recorders in Hollywood. He was nice enough to give me a tour of the studio and that was it for me. I knew right then that I wanted a career in the recording business.
I looked into what I had to do to get a job in the business and found that there was a recording engineering class called “University of Sound Arts”. I also attended “Dick Grove Music Workshop”. These were not like the schools today and I admit that after working in a real professional studio, I didn’t really learn much at the schools.
After completing both schools, I made up a resume and went walking through Hollywood, handing out my resume at all the studios. I walked into Hollywood Sound Recorders on Selma Ave, sandwiched in between Wally Heider’s and The Sound Factory. They happened to be looking to hire someone to answer the phones, put away tapes, mics, cables, etc.
I started right away and I was like a sponge. I took notes, asked questions, helped the tech guys, and did everything I could to move up. After a while, they allowed me to assist the engineers on sessions and when someone came into the studio with no engineer, I got to do the sessions. I worked with many famous engineers. Some of my mentors were: George Massenburg, Tom Perry, John Guess, Rick Pekkonen, Mick Guzauski, and many more.
My first big break was when Tom Perry was recording an album for Amy Holland, wife of Michael McDonald who was producing. I was assisting Tom on the project when he was called away to work on Earth Wind and Fire because George was too busy to do all the work himself. When Tom left, I took over the Amy Holland project and saw it through to the end. When we were done, Michael invited me to his home studio in Studio City to work on demos for his second solo album “No Look’n Back”. I ended up recording and mixing that album and went on to start my career as a Front of House mixer for Michaels tours. I ended up working for Michael for over 10 years. During that time, Michael and I toured and worked on many projects together. I will always be very grateful to Michael for giving me my big break.
Once people in the business found out that I was working for Michael, I started getting lots of call for work. One of those calls was to work with James Newton Howard, the famous film composer. I worked on many films with James over the years and even got to record Barbara Streisand for one of his movies. I also recorded and mixed a single for Olivia Newton John called “The Rumour” with James and Elton John Producing.
When I left working with Michael, it was very hard for me but there was a new guy in town, John Tesh. He was moving to California to become the host of Entertainment Tonight. John was very into Prog Rock at the time and we recorded many albums that were very Proggish. We had a lot of fun and John was very generous to me. We toured and John started his own record label that opened up producing jobs for me. We eventually parted ways after about twelve years.
This is about the time we had the 911 disaster, Napster and the entire music business was in a downward spiral. I left the business for a few years to try other ways to support my family. That did not work well, so I came back and stared pursuing more live show work as FOH engineer. Christopher Cross got me going again and I am very grateful to him for helping me out. I started touring with Christopher and as we were going to a gig one day, he told me I was also now the Tour Manager. I knew nothing about being a TM, so I went to my friend, Tim Aller and he gave me a two hour lesson and gave me some forms that TM’s use and then, I was a TM!
A few years later I was hired by Brian Culbertson to TM/FOH. I did that for about 5 years and at the same time I was hired to be Production Manager for Alan Parsons. This was the first time I went on the road and wasn’t mixing. Alan already had a FOH mixer, Martin “Shrek” Frey. He was an excellent mixer but after my first year, Martin left and I became the FOH/PM.
I did that gig for about 4 years until I got a call from my old friend, Scott Plunkett who thought that the FOH for Chris Isaak was going to quit. This was extremely appealing to me because I was really burned out with being PM or TM. I just wanted a gig where all I had to do is mix. It was again really hard for me to leave the Alan Parsons camp. I loved mixing that show and I loved Alan, Lisa and all my friends in the band and crew. In this business, you have to make a lot of very hard decisions. You have to make those decisions on what you know at the moment. There is no way to know if your decisions will work out in your favor or not.
With the touring business shut down, I have invested a lot of time and money to make my home studio the best it can be. Most recently I purchased the UA Octo Sattelite to go along with my UA Apollo Twin. I can use all the UA plug-ins that I need now on a mix. I can tell you that it does make a difference. UA is the king of the plug-in world for good reason. I can easily promise my clients that they will be 100% satisfied with my mix’s and mastering work. If you send me a song to mix and I can’t make you happy, you owe me nothing.