Sure, you have the chops to become a highly recognized rock musician whose peers include Leslie West, Jack Bruce, and Hall & Oates. But can you turn those skills into a real business like Joe Franco has done?
Seriously folks, Franco, who worked his way up the New York rock ladder in the mid-70’s, has toured throughout the world, written a well respected book on the art of his craft (“Double Bass Drumming”) and, for the last 15 years, owned a highly successful audio post production facility, Beatstreet Productions, located in the Flatiron district of Manhattan.
Joe’s no stranger to the pages of Mix, but we thought we’d catch up with him and see how the last several years have treated Beatstreet.
Mix: Joe, how has the audio post industry changed in the last five years or so?
Joe Franco: “Budgets have tightened up, particularly in the last couple of years. Some of the PBS shows we work on are having a harder time finding grants and sponsors. Our business trimmed back as a result of these changes, but we’ve been fortunate enough to pick up shows on Nickelodeon, Playhouse Disney, and Adult Swim.
“We’re also writing music and doing audio post work with a few overseas companies located in the UK, Italy and France. FTP servers have been a game changer, particularly in the area of globalization. Other than time zones, working with someone in Europe is no longer much different from working with someone across town.”
Mix: Has the impact of the home studio revolution maxed out?
Franco: “Probably. If we made a living recording bands we’d be in trouble! Fortunately, our core business is music and audio post for network television series.”
Mix: What’s the latest piece of technology you’ve fallen in love with?
Franco: “Our SNS San Storage System. I can’t imagine carrying around drives like we did in the old days. Our storage is unseen; it lives in a four space array in our machine room. The volumes can be shared by all six of our Pro Tools rigs. They come up as icons on a desktop, cloud-like. It’s great!”
Mix: Are you playing much these days?
Franco: “Not as much as I’d like to- running Beatstreet takes up most of my time. I played drums recently and produced Eddie Ojeda’s solo album. Eddie was the guitarist in Twisted Sister. As you know, I played with that band in 1987.
“I recently played on Kansas guitarist Steve Walsh’s album, and also worked on projects from electric violinist Mark Wood and guitarist Zak Soulum. Both of these will be released later this year. My 70’s band Good Rats, plays an annual reunion show at BB King’s. The next one is on March 31st- check it out!”
Mix: Any final words of wisdom?
Joe Franco: “I’m glad to have found a niche in audio. I read your blog on “Glad All Over.” Dave Clark made sure the drums were mixed HOT! I loved that song, and “Bits and Pieces.” Classics!