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Rocco Guarino

Rocco Guarino

Producer, Songwriter, Director
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Rocco Guarino

Rocco Guarino is a producer, songwriter and director whose work spans videography, photography and music production. Either behind the lens or the mixing console, the LA-based creative has worked with Elton John, Juliette Lewis, plus members of Weezer, Pearl Jam, and Guns ‘n’ Roses, to name but a few.

Velvet Revolver, Elton John, Stone Temple Pilots
Rocco's Aston gear:
Starlight
Point and shoot

Growing up in New York, Rocco picked up his first chords at the age of twelve and was soon playing in local bands, on guitar, bass or keyboards. During this period he was drawn to the recording process and found himself elected to produce one of the bands he was playing with. He also designed the artwork for that formative project, a hint of the visual artistry which, alongside his musical talents, would help shape a diverse and illustrious career.

That career gathered momentum when his passion for music and pictures saw him move to LA in 2002, where he met Scott Welland and Slash of post Guns’n’Roses supergroup Velvet Revolver.

He started taking photos of the band; “doing point and shoot stuff with a cheap camera” and soon progressed to the point where he had work published in the tour programmes, for the CD packaging and on the band’s website.

Over time Rocco honed his music production skills and added the videographer’s craft to his skillset, subsequently directing a music video for the band which was to reach the top ten in the MTV VH1 charts.

Creative waves

Rocco says his time is now split between the various creative disciplines, taking on engineering, photography and video while still finding time for writing and producing.

“It’s cyclical, it goes in waves; I’ll be recording and producing then maybe filming; wherever a project takes me.”

He says one of his proudest moments was when he filmed Elton John with producer Mark Hudson in London - and being backstage with everyone for the Grammys!

He was involved in Sharon Osborne’s tsunami relief charity project where he engineered at a performance of Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven and other classics with Sir Elton John on vocals and with members of Velvet Revolver as the ‘house band’. Other participants included Stevie Wonder, Bono, Alicia Keys, Brian Wilson and Steve Tyler. Quite a line-up!

“Elton sat at the piano to sing as he wasn’t used to standing up!” Rocco recalls. “I’ll always remember his finesses, the nuances and the way he connected with the band.”

In 2014 he joined forces with long-time friend Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots) to open a commercial recording studio, and Rocco took on the role as chief engineer. It was during this period he was to start hearing word about Aston microphones from his fellow audio pros:

“Every time I talked to engineers they were saying great things about Aston mics. I kept trying to borrow one from one of the bands to try out but no one wanted to let them go!”

 

Pres, DAWS and a P3

Rocco uses his matched stereo pair of Starlight pencil condensers singly for acoustic guitar recording and as a pair for drum overhead mic’ing.

“I used to use an AKG 451 on the guitars but I get a better range of sounds out of the Starlight. I find the different settings work better for Taylors, Martins and so on.”

When recording Rocco uses API and Neve mic pres into ProTools, and has recently also been trying Ableton as “It’s easier to program”. He mixes ‘in the box’ but usually runs the results through a Neve console:

“It makes the low end heavier, the low mids punchier and the highs less harsh”.

How he has his laser-equipped Starlight SDC stereo pair as part of his kit Rocco says the large diaphragm condenser Origins and Spirits are next in his sights…

“Aston are really ******* killing it man! You just pull up the fader and you can hear the quality.”

Rocco is a member of the Aston 33, a group of audio experts who aid the development of new Aston products by participating in pre-production blind listening tests. He is now back behind the console, as chief engineer at Fonogenic Studios, co-owned by Foo Fighters - other clients have included The Doors, Eddie Kramer, The Eels and The Hollywood Vampires - and says he can’t wait to try the Starlights on Rami Jaffee’s Leslie B3 cabinet!

We’re looking forward to hearing that recording too!.

Out-takes

Q. Who are your favourite artists?
A. Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Elbow, Tori Amos, Pink Floyd

Q. What would be your fantasy mic?
A. One that gives you mid-side stereo all in one, and also gives you magical double tracking!

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?
A. Quality, aesthetics, value, people

Q. First song that made you cry
A. Probably something by Led Zeppelin

Credits

Phil Parlapiano (Rod Stewart, Jon Bon Jovi, Carlene Carter, Lucinda Williams, Social Distortion, Elvis Costello, Tracy Chapman, The Dixie Chicks, Jonas Brothers, John Prine, Dave Koz)

Paul Ill (Michael Des Barres, Pink, Christina Aguilera, Hole, Celine Dion, Reeves Gabrels, Bill Ward, Juliette and the Licks, and Alicia Keys)

David Goodstein (Joe Perry, Jackson Browne, Dolly Parton, Edgar Winter, Pointer Sisters)

Geoff Pearlman (Shelby Lynne, Jakob Dylan, Linda Perry, Norah Jones)

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