Bart Thurber: The Man of 1,000 Bands

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Why you should care

Because if good music is hard to find, it can be much harder to make. 

There was a period when Guitar Player magazine wanted to uplevel the guitar-playing genius of San Francisco Bay Area musician Bart Thurber. It never happened. But for Thurber, it turned out that being a guitar god was less exciting than being the guy at the mixing board, the one who made the gods real.

Band after band — some paying no more than lottery tickets and cans of soup for their sessions — came to Thurber’s House of Faith Recording. More than 1,000 at last count, some as big as Neurosis and, in past times, The Donnas. Some as small as one-man bands. Through it all and over it all, Thurber — married and father of one — did the delicate, unsung duty of making musical cool a bit cooler. Minus the limos, cocaine and hookers that, in the popular conception, go along with being a record producer.

“Music is cool, and it’s even cooler being the first person there when it’s being immortalized,” said Thurber from his Oakland, California, redoubt. “And as long as my ears hold out, I’m in.”

Damned straight.

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