JZ engineered my latest Waldo’s album and also my side project with the band called The Last Ditches. All of the session were a dream in that we were able to get thru everything with very little problems. JZ knew how to best get our somewhat very loose sound and style under control. The biggest problems were band members forgetting their parts! Some of the songs were written as we recorded them and even they came out great. JZ is one of the best studio engineers I’ve ever worked with.
"When we finished recording we went into the sound room, and JZ played back part of 'Pig Heaven' really loud on these amazing speakers. I said "that's what we just did?" I was absolutely blown away by how good it sounded.
excerpt from "White Zombie - it came from NYC
Fuckin Great!! Drum sound is rocking, the new Cactus mixes sound kick ass!
I first met JZ when I showed up for the inaugural session of what was to become The Last Ditches “Spilt Milk” album back in 2008. The Last Ditches project (named by Walter Lure) was the brainstorm of Randy Pratt who had the concept of an album by a band of two “Punk” guitarists backed by a Prog-Metal rhythm section. Walter and I were the punks, Randy and Bobby Rondinelli were the Prog-Metal guys. All four of us had wildly conflicting schedules. Wildly different styles, too. Once the basic tracks were completed, we virtually never saw each other again. The album took three full years to complete, with overdubbing sessions sometimes months apart. Besides the fact that JZ’s engineering made every instrument sound exactly as you hoped it would, JZ’s production skill was magically able to make these disparate and isolated sessions sound like the whole album was cut by a live band banging on all eight cylinders. JZ’s vision and ability to realize it made the Last Ditches album something inspired and cohesive. I will be proud of that music as long as I live.
In 2017, my longtime band, The Planets, finally (after decades) recorded a full length album, produced, engineered, mixed, and mastered by the unflappable JZ Barrell. The album he put together is (if I say so myself) a masterpiece. Everything is right. Perfect, even. Guitar tones, drum sounds, superb vocals, all coaxed into being by JZ Barrell. Coaxed. That’s the word to describe JZ’s “bedside manner”. While recording, JZ keeps an unswervingly positive, bright, easygoing attitude. He makes you feel comfortable and energized throughout a session. He can hear minute issues in a basic track and know how to fix them (incredibly sensitive ears). He is particularly adept at putting vocalists at ease. I, for one, am very intimidated by the recording process. JZ was aware of that and worked with me to successfully allay my fears. The Planets album, “Established 1972 NYC” garnered a remarkable amount of positive reviews including one in Rolling Stone. Virtually every review mentioned how slick and bold and alive and seamless the sound/production was/is. I can speak for the other three Planets when I say we will only record with JZ Barrell as long as we can still plug in guitars and grab drumsticks.