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© 2019 Salt Lake Academy of Music (SLAM)       |      A  Utah 501 (c)(3) Nonprofit Organization  

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We're All Ghost - Cavedoll ELEFANTE 2019
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Cavedoll's Camden Chamberlain's 21st album is a masterpiece; four years in the making.  One my favorite producers and a genius of both production and songcraft.  This album is an art rock album (to me) that I hope that you enjoy!

Whether or Not - Terence Hansen
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What I don't Have - Terence Hansen
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I used to joke that I was raised at the intersection of Broadway and Madison Avenue.  The two streets do not intersect, but for me, they did.  My dad was a 'Mad Man' - a Madison Avenue women's fashion advertising man and my grandfather was the Concertmaster at The Broadway Theater for 20+ years. 

 

Sitting in the orchestra pit with my Grandfather as a young boy and hearing how all of those instruments sounded together up-close left me in awe of my grandfather...and music, itself.  That, plus seeing how the graphic artists pasted-up ads for magazines gave me a taste for visual and musical arts.

 

Sticking to music, I started on clarinet at age 9 or so in elementary and continued in high school band and jazz ensemble.  By age 12, I tried guitar because I had become a huge rock fan by then - but I didn't do very well with it.  At age 15 I heard Chick Corea play synthesizers with Return to Forever, Rick Wakeman with Yes and Joe Zawinul with Weather Report and I knew that I had to learn synthesizers, but piano first!

I took a few private piano lessons and talked my high school jazz director, Bill Ellington into letting me play piano in the jazz band. Mr. Ellington had been playing piano and conducting the jazz ensemble a la Count Basie.  Mr. Ellington allowed it and gave me a practice room key on the condition that I meet him after school for jazz piano lessons.

A practice room key!  I had the 'keys to the kingdom'!  My music friends met me there after-school to jam until the janitor kicked us out!  We had kids piled up in there with amps and drums and horns and stuff - it was crazy fun!  Growing up in the 1970s in New York, thanks to the Civil Rights Act of 1968, NY schools were by then, integrated.  So I was bussed to the black neighborhood for school and vice-versa.  This provided me black music partners who shared albums and tapes of Parliament-Funkadelic and Al Green I shared the same from Frank Zappa and Led Zeppelin.

In my high school years, Bill Ellington managed to inspire music careers for me, the A&M Records R&B hit-machine Atlantic Starr, Mark Plati my High School Jazz Ensemble bassist and David Bowie music director and co-producer and many more.  Mr. Ellington was also my mentor for my senior project; writing, arranging, copying, rehearsing and performing two pieces for a 20+ piece big band that I talked my friends into doing!

I played jazz, rock and funk keyboards and blues harmonica throughout my teens.  Back then, you only had to be 18 to get into a nightclub.  So between 17 and 19, I had been gigging and recording with a couple of bands in New York.  I didn't like the scene and moved to Los Angeles.

 

In LA, my first friend was Peter Wesley, a DJ at at Madame Wong's and Cathay De Grande - two seminal LA punk/new wave clubs.  He invited me to a house party the night the Talking Heads album, Remain in Light was released.  It was totally different music from any we had heard before; Talking Heads meets Afrobeat.  It was groundbreaking.

There were a bunch of kids my age at the listening party - we were all dancing like maniacs to this new music.  Four of the kids also played music, so we got together and jammed on some funk in a Chilean kid, Alain's mom's garage.   We tried to make a funk band, but Alain Johannes got a contract with MCA that year with his band, What is This? (later Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, PJ Harvey, Chris Cornell, Arctic Monkeys and more) and the other kids; Hillel on guitar,  Mike (Flea) on Flugelhorn and Jack on drums went on to become the Red Hot Chili Peppers that summer.

 

I landed a job at Guitar Center in Sherman Oaks selling synthesizers, which were all the rage at the time and scores of famous artists and producers came down from Laurel Canyon, Coldwater Canyon, Encino Hills and so on - all wanting the latest sounds on their records.

I met most of my clients there and made my career as a synthesizer mentor/consultant to rock and pop stars and producers.  I was a recording session keyboard player, synthesist, sound designer and pre-production consultant for Rick James, Berlin, Rockwell, Harry Balk, Avatar Records, Tina Marie, Kansas, Devo, Van Halen, Kenny Loggins, Smokey Robinson, Sonny Burke, Frank Zappa, Ike Willis and many others.  I finished up in LA as Staff Writer and Arranger at Avatar Records in Malibu working for blue-eyed soul Detroit producer Harry Balk.

I moved to Utah in the late 1980s and was soon Teaching Assistant at the University of Utah for the Composer-in-Residence, Dr. Vladimir Ussachevsky.  Dr. U was an electronic music pioneer who co-founded the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Laboratory, heck the guy composed with a razor blade, stopwatch and a reel-to-reel tape deck!  During my time at the U of U I launched a film scoring program with the film department after I scored a soundtrack for a film that won an award at a NY film festival.

 

I got back into performing music in SLC's 1990s music scene with bands like The Committed, Blue Healer, Dick & Jane, Control, Saltifunk, H. Street, Chunga's Revenge, Ike Willis & Chunga's Revenge and more.  The bands had attracted agency representation but when our agent moved out of the country, I took over his Planet Agency and grew it from local casual and corporate business to international scale by adding members of Frank Zappa, Jane's Addiction, George Clinton's P-Funk All-Stars, Rat Dog, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, The Minutemen and Wilco to the roster.

In 2003, I booked Ike Willis (Frank Zappa) for an all Zappa music festival in Germany where Willis was part of the documentary film, 
Rock School about the founder of School of Rock, Paul Green.  Green had brought his students from Philadelphia and Willis was impressed.  Green got my phone number from Willis to talk about growing his business and after two years of courtship, Green hired me to begin the national expansion of what became School of Rock.  I developed and supervised five western USA branches for those nice people until the company was sold.

So in 2009 I started musicgarage.org. Since then, hundreds of Utah's youth have enrolled at musicgarage.org for an average of 3.5 years, performing on over 300 venue and festival stages, writing and recoding original music and making memories for a lifetime.

The inscription of Salt Lake City Weekly Newspaper's 2014 Best of Utah award
 says it all:


BEST MENTOR TO FUTURE ROCK STARS: MUSICGARAGE.ORG
Junior high can be some of the most difficult years in a young person’s life, and finding your passion and someone who believes in you can make all the difference. For many local young folks, MusicGarage.Org founder Steve Auerbach is that person. The music-education programs and private instruction available through MusicGarage.Org are often a kid’s bridge from feeling like an outcast to working toward a common goal with like-minded musicians. The kids are challenged through group sessions, as well as playing at local shows and festivals. When they graduate, they do so equipped with the tools to make a career out of playing music—or at least to do what they love for life.


My work is a privilege.  I sure do look forward to doing more in the future!

My business background on me at https://linkedin.com/in/steveauerbach1


Steve

Don't Take Me Alive - Steely Dan (cover) by ATF
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ATF

AUERBACH, THOMAS & FLANDERS

Auerbach, Thomas & Flanders is a trio where I play left hand bass with the drummer, Shawn Thomas with John Flanders on woodwinds.  This is just a rehearsal recoding, but all I have of this.  Some clams, but fun!

IKE WILLIS & CHUNGA'S REVENGE

PERFORM THE MUSIC OF FRANK ZAPPA

LIVE AT THE FOX THEATER

Cosmik Debris (F. Zappa) - Ike Willis & Chunga's Revenge
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I'm The Slime - Frank Zappa cover by Ike Willis & Chunga's Revenge
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Woodstock - Joni Mitchell cover by ATF
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Dirty Love - FrankZappa cover by Ike Willis & Chunga's Revenge
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Didn't Have Electric Light - Kenvin Lyman
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I loved working with this artist.  We met in his 72nd year and demo'd up tracks at my studio for his bandmates from the 1960s to learn and come to SLC for a reunion show and album.  Kenvin Lyman, the Utah Kid was a genius; the renaissance man  who painted in light.  Google him! This track is scratch demo of the arrangement I came up with for this song about the home he grew up in Morgan, Utah.  All of the instruments are Apple Logic instruments.

I produced the music and sang this 2008 Truth About Tobacco Campaign's TV spots for Crowell Advertising.

'SMOKERMAN' CAMPAIGN ADS

I produced this Frank Zappa tribute band with Ike Wills (on 25 or more Zappa albums from 1980-1993).  Great musicians, fun music and killer shows like this one at Denver's Fox Theater in 2000.

Terence is a renowned genius of the guitar; playing two guitar necks at ones while singing.  I play on the two tracks above.  What I Don't Have features Bon Jovi bassist Hugh McDonald.

UNCLE REMUS - (F. Zappa) Live: Irving Plaza, NYC
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Inca Roads - (F. Zappa) Live: Irving Plaza, NYC
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On Halloween Night 2001, I was 'special guest' performer at this benefit a few blocks from Ground Zero only 50 days after the 911 attack.  As teens we used go see Frank Zappa every Halloween just a few blocks away and I got to perform his music with the guys on the record for my teen friends...and their kids!  In the top link, I play piano and sing backing vocals on Uncle Remus and in the bottom link, I play the synthesizer solo on Inca Roads.  Both are in tribute to the late George Duke.

The Hollow Earth - Ike Willis: Selected Works
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The Doctor is IN - Ike Willis: Selected Works
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I co-produced this compilation for Frank Zappa Singer & Guitarist, Ike Willis with Ike and Grammy Award-winning producer, Douglas Spotted Eagle in 2002

While a student at the University of Utah, I composed and produced this soundtrack to an experimental film, "Malignant" by Mel Halbach about the deterioration of industrialized man that won an award at a New York Film Festival.

While a student at the University of Utah, I was privileged to serve as Teaching Assistant and Manager of the Electronic Music Laboratory for two years under Dr. Vladimir Ussachevsky, one of the grandfathers of electronic music pictured in the center of the photo taken at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Laboratory in Harlem, NY, which he co-founded.  This piece, "Fishing with Peter" (Auerbach, 1987) is dedicated to Dr. U. and is about baptism, redemption, salvation and hope.  All composed with tape loops, Steiner Modular Synthesizer, Yamaha TX16 and some 1960s, 70's and 80's vintage outboard gear we had at the Lab (studio) to Otari 8-Track.

Steve Auerbach