Oral History -
Being a woman in the music industry has not always been easy. These woman innovators have not only broken the glass ceiling but helped paved the way for others to follow.
Albie Donnelly started playing saxophone at an early age and played with Merseybeat groups in Liverpool, England. He was then signed to Virgin Records with his group, Supercharge, which he formed in 1974 with drummer, Dave Irving. Their first album, released on the Stag label, was titled Between Music and Madness.
Billy Butler started in the early 1960s singing with the Merseybeats group, The Tuxedos, having also sang with The Merseybeats and even performed on the same stage as The Beatles. He soon became a celebrity in Liverpool, becoming the resident DJ at the Cavern and working with Bob Wooler. He went on to work for the BBC on Radio Merseyside for over thirty years.
Ryan Hewitt grew up following his father, David, on musical adventures that took them around the world. David Hewitt is the award-winning mobile recording engineer who passed down his passion for music and audio to Ryan. Ryan’s career focuses on recording engineering in the studio and mixing. He was mentored by Phil Ramone and Rick Rubin.
Robert Hobbs is very proud of his father’s role in music. His father, Ravis Hobbs, was a radio engineer for station WSM and later created the r/f switch for radio frequency stability. In 1962, Glenn Snoddy asked Ravis to provide the circuit board and box for the Fuzz Tone, an idea Glenn had to create a guitar effect pedal.
Arthur Sloatman was working at Valley Sound in Los Angeles when he was called to the Record Plant to repair a synthesizer that required attention during a session with Frank Zappa. Later when Frank had a question while learning the Linn Drum Machine and other synths, he called on Art to help.
David Kramny proudly joined his father in business to help run PPV Media. His father, Thilo, formed the company in 1984, which has grown to include 27 magazines. The magazines range from music and lighting to aviation; all of which are passions of Thilo. The company also created an online sheet music business with over 450,000 titles.
Paul Leim established himself as one of the top studio drummers in both Los Angeles and Nashville. Paul has recorded with the likes of Randy Travis, Dolly Parton, Brian Setzer and Lionel Richie (along with many others). He has also played for several television shows and movies including Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
David Prater has produced a series of successful albums for the bands Firehouse, Dream Theater and Night Ranger (among others). He recalls that he always loved music but pinpoints the birth of his true passion for music when he saw Frank Zappa live in 1973. David played drums, which landed him gigs with Santana, Patti LaBelle and Sam & Dave.
Byron Berline established the Double Stop Fiddle Shop in Oklahoma back in 1995. The store became a major hub for musicians which bought and sold a great number of both vintage and new instruments.