Local Music 'Mericans: Eric Delegard Has Recorded Hundreds of Bands In His Studios

Welcome to Local Music 'Mericans, where we'll be meeting some people behind the local music scene who aren't necessarily members of a local band, but are more behind-the-scenes folk.

Eric Delegard
Eric Delegard

Denton's Eric Delegard was the recording engineer (and executive producer, for that matter) for the LP that really ignited things for Bowling For Soup -- their 1997 release, Rock On, Honorable Ones! He's also engineered Deep Blue Something's 1993 debut LP, 11th Song.

And if that ain't enough, he's also worked just about everything Brave Combo have ever put out, as well as Cross Canadian Ragweed's self-titled 2002 LP, and Fair to Midland's all-important Drawn and Quartered EP, among about a zillion more.

These days, still hard at it, he divides his time between his two studios. One's north of Denton, the other in Dallas. Oh, and he's getting set to open up another, too -- needs to. Among the musicians he's currently recording is an artist who played on the song "Lean on Me," on Pink Floyd's The Wall, and even with groovy cats like Steve Wonder and Bob Dylan.

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Just who the hell does Eric Delegard think he is? He'll tell us -- after the jump. 

You're primarily known for your work with DFW hard rock artists, it seems. But, your repertoire actually runs much deeper. Brave Combo is a prime example, another is youngster pop balladeers Darcy. How'd you get involved in regional music.
I actually moved to this area to study jazz at UNT. I bought a piano and started recording jazz in the living room of my duplex, which used to be a church. I've recorded quite a few "red dirt" country records with bands, like Cross Canadian Ragweed, No Justice and Jason Boland.  The scene around here is just a phenomenon. Everyone should go to the Rockin' Rodeo in Denton on a Thursday night at least once. Darcy came in and auditioned at my studio and we did a record. Incredibly talented and excellent songwriters.

Rumor has it that you're in possession of the recording console that Ted Templeman recorded Van Halen on. Is that true? If so, tell us about how you acquired it, and all about its magical powers for creating great sound.
Oh, man, I love rumors! I've actually seen pictures of that mixing board for sale on, I think, eBay. It's held together with duct tape and looks incredibly rough. Imagine the partying that board has seen! My console actually came from Nashville. It was at Sound Stage studios, one of the huge, mega-studios on music row, and was a part of thousands of country records in the '90s. As well as recordings by TLC and Shaq! I think it still has magical powers, or at least great stories to tell.

Can you even remember all the records you've worked on? I know we can't name them all.
It's a blur. Safe to say over a hundred. When I met you, I was working on the new one from Secret of Boris, formerly known as LaMe -- I remember that much. Most are on my website. Some of the more notorious ones are on AllMusic.com. It's great when bands from different states find me and take a vacation in Denton to record. It's a wonderful and cheap place to hang out and record.

To borrow a question from last week, posed to David Castell, how does one develop a penchant for acoustics? Is it an art form you can learn in a classroom?
Studying music and constantly being around musicians definitely helps, but I think it's an acquired thing. No matter what room I'm in, the acoustics are something I'm always checking out. It's fun to find the resonant frequency of a shower. Awareness has its downsides, too. If the sound isn't right at a club or concert, it's like fingers on a chalkboard for me.

Some say recording studios are becoming a relic of times gone by. Meanwhile, word is that you're just opening up a brand new one.
Most of big rooms in L.A. and New York are gone because the property became more valuable than the businesses. Recording budgets are way way down, and it's true that anyone can buy software and record themselves at home. There are even software emulations of pieces of gear called "plug-ins" that sound pretty close to the original hardware. But there is nothing like being in an inspiring great-sounding room with a separate set of ears and opinions from someone who has been around the block. Hopefully, there will always be a place for recording studios, but I'd leave building a new room up to people with too much money on their hands. A great way to make a million in the studio business is to start with two million.

What do you have on your plate right now?
I've got a band in now called Good Shive Low, and they are one of the really few bands I can't describe the sound of. We recorded a great horn section last week, and. this week. Bobbye Hall is laying down the percussion for them. She's played with the majority of the classic Motown artists as well as Dylan, Taylor, Nicks and Wonder. She played on "Lean on Me" as well as Pink Floyd's The Wall. Also doing a couple country records now. The country guys love me because I always try to give them a more aggressive rock sound. It's been a solid year so far.

Do you have a music muse? Either a producer, artist, or a combo platter of both?
Prince has always freaked me out with his talent. He's probably made some bad decisions in the past, but he always hangs it out there. Eric Valentine is a great rock producer whose stuff always sounds great.

Is there a record that you have yet to make that you're dying to?
Hmmm, tough one. I've always wanted to record an '80s-style metal record -- just over the top everything, with hundreds of tracks of junk going on and pure excitement.

How about local stuff? Do you go listen to local bands when you have some time to yourself?
I like a lot of the folk bands lately -- the ones where everyone plays a dozen different instruments. Some are a bit like watching paint dry live, though. I enjoy being entertained when I see a show, which was a big reason I loved Jibe. Seems like everyone has their own "Joe from Jibe" story, and there was always something wacky happening at their shows. I'm really hoping for a Deep Ellum musical comeback to put Dallas back on the map.


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