Returning to the Music Game: The Home Studio

Returning to music after a long layoff to raise a family, Brian Drucks finds that technology has benefits and frustrations.

Realizing that being in a casual “dad band” (see my first blog here) was not going to feed my artistic desires, it was time to start my own thing.


Holy crap! If I thought it was hard to put a band together in my teens and 20s, that was child’s play compared to finding other middle-aged musicians who had similar musical interests, chops, flexible schedules, and understanding families. I searched Craigslist, networked in music stores, and posted ads on local music sites (and even at my kid’s martial arts school), and after what seemed like close to a year, I finally put together a core group with the plan of working on some original songs and possibly recording them.

Although there’s debate in the music world about the demise of the music business due to technology, I believe I came back in at a great time. With a small investment, I could put together a studio in my basement. Although I was fortunate in my youth to have recorded at some of the top studios, I did not look at the home studio as a let-down. 

So I used the 24 months, no interest payment plan to put together a pretty decent set-up.

Problem: I hate owner’s manuals, I have no patience, and with a full plate of outside responsibilities, how the heck was I going to learn how to use all this stuff in a way that would give me quality results? Man, did I now appreciate the ability for young kids to spend hours in their basements and bedrooms honing their craft.

So I’m starting to realize that maybe I can’t do this by myself. But I’m not discouraged. I found a way to put the band together, so I’m sure I’ll find a way to get help with the recording process.

Going back to my old network of musicians (realizing that 20-something years have passed), I spoke to my old friend Mike (Metal) Goldberg, who was still engineering and producing. In fact, he worked on Leslie West’s new album, Still Climbing.

Mike came over, assessed the home studio, and gave me some realistic feedback on what could be accomplished with my setup. I was never going to get the results I expected if we did it all at home, and even though pro studio costs have come down significantly, doing it all outside was never going to fit my budget—especially with a kid’s college to pay for, a retirement plan that went south with the economy, and a house that needs a new roof.

Let the recording begin. At home…

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