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MUSIC BIZ BIO (The Short Story)

From an early age, Rob enjoyed tinkering with reel-to-reel tape recorders provided him by his father. Years of fascination and experimentation with tape recording led to his first semi-pro projects recording bands in his hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania. While still in his early teens–not yet old enough to drive–he frequented local venues, lugging a bulky tape recorder and a case stuffed with reels of magnetic tape, microphones, cables, and audio adapters. In 1972 Rob's band RMI-TMI, in which he played keyboard, recorded an album at New York's landmark Media Sound Studios. After completion of the album Rob stayed on to intern in the studio for six months. These experiences helped Rob land his first professional position at dB Studios in Chicago in 1973. There he honed his razorblade editing and mixing skills while recording innumerable jingles and radio and television spots and managing the studio's extensive sound effects library.

From 1974 until 1979, Rob was head engineer and part owner of Plaza Sound Studios in New York City, a classic recording facility situated high atop Radio City Music Hall. His years at Plaza Sound coincided with the advent and growth of the New York punk rock scene. Trolling downtown for new artists to record, Rob made contacts at CBGB's, the epicenter of that scene, and managed to position himself in the middle of it all. Rob was privileged to be the recording engineer on such seminal albums as the Ramones' debut album Ramones, Blondie's Blondie and Plastic Letters, and Richard Hell and the Voidoids' Blank Generation. Throughout his Plaza Sound years, Rob made records with a diverse array of artists including KISS, Ace Frehley, Rupert Holmes, Twisted Sister, Salsoul Orchestra, Robert Gordon, Link Wray, Martha Velez, Sunny Fortune, Genya Ravan, John Miles, The Laughing Dogs, and many more.

In 1979 the Rockefeller Foundation sold Radio City to the Disney Corporation, and Plaza Sound Studios closed its doors. So began the free-lance chapter of Rob's career that continues to this day. Early free-lance projects had him recording albums with KISS, Julie Brown, and The Elektrics and mixing a Top 40 single for Agnetha Faltskog of Abba. In time, Rob made the jump from engineer to producer, and, over the decade that ensued, produced singles, EPs, and/or albums for Twisted Sister, Lawrence Gowan (currently of STYX), Tim Moore, Jailbait, Single Bullet Theory, Regina Richards, The Go, Surgin', and Queen City Kids, among others. Notably, Rob co-produced, engineered and mixed the debut album by the Go-Go's, Beauty and the Beat. That album went multi-platinum around the world, topped the US Billboard album charts at #1 for six weeks, spawned two hit singles, was the first #1 album by an all-girl group who wrote their own songs and played their own instruments, and, incredibly, was crowned the CMJ (College Music Journal) Top Album of the Decade (1980-1990).

Rob's efforts over those busy years have garnered him a variety of acclamations and awards such as Billboard's Top 15 Producer of the Year (1982), Pro Sound News' Engineer of the Year (1983), Pro Sound News' 2nd Runner-up Producer of the Year (1983), one RIAA (US) Gold Single, two RIAA (US) Gold Albums, and two RIAA (US) Platinum Albums, eight Ampex Golden Reels, two BPI (UK) Gold Albums, one CRIA (Canada) Gold Album, one CRIA (Canada) Platinum Album.

Today Rob resides in Florida with his wife Teresa, Broker/Owner of Florida Realty Fusion. Though still taking on occasional music projects, Rob has refocused his sound recording skills toward production sound for feature films, documentaries, commercials, and broadcast television.



R A M O N E S


Few of the music recording projects I've been involved with over the years have generated the level of interest of the first Ramones album, RAMONES. There seems to be an ever-growing fascination with the Ramones and with that album in particular. So in 2005, when I was asked by the Ramones Museum in Berlin to provide my firsthand account of the making of that album, I wrote down as much as I could remember about such a fleeting project. Pushing my Photoshop skills to the limit (and with some badly-needed assistance from my graphic designer sister-in-law Sandy), I crafted a tri-fold brochure entitled "Rob Freeman on Recording RAMONES" and sent 1000 copies of it to the museum along with a poster-sized teaser (pictured below) inviting museum visitors to take the brochure hand-outs. The package arrived in early February 2006, just in time for the 30th anniversary of the RAMONES album release. Due to the particular configuration of a tri-fold brochure, I reformatted the content here to fit standard letter-sized pages.

Other than at the Ramones Museum in Berlin or on its website, this is the only place these materials are available for viewing. The exclusive photos of the Ramones in the studio that are scattered throughout the piece were provided courtesy of the band's former manager, Danny Fields, and are not for reproduction or distribution. I respectfully ask that you comply with that.

Poster for museum wall

 
                   Poster next to brochure dispenser                    Happy brochure-grabbing museum-goers
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K I S S

In 2012 I was interviewed by Tim McPhate from KissFAQ.com, a well-established fansite and resource for all things KISS. The interview focused on my experiences in the studio with KISS in early 1981, a volatile time following Peter Chris's departure from the band and just before the release of their most controversial album, "Music from the Elder."


Click here for a downloadable PDF
of the KissFAQ.com "Music from the Elder" interview



I was interviewed again by Tim McPh
ate from KissFAQ.com in July 2013. This time the interview focused on my role as recording engineer for Ace Frehley's 1978 solo album, "Ace Frehley." We talked a lot about Ace and his vision for his album…producer Eddie Kramer…the mechanics of recording back in the day…and what it was like recording at Plaza Sound Studios, NYC.

Click here for a downloadable PDF
of the KissFAQ.com "Ace Frehley" album interview


Ace Frehley, Bobby McAdams, Anton Fig, and Rob Freeman (at door) in Plaza Sound’s control room, 1978


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T H E  G O - G O ' S


As part of their ongoing Classic Tracks series, Mix Magazine featured The Go-Go's "Our Lips Are Sealed" in their September 2011 issue. As co-producer and recording/mixing engineer of that record, I was interviewed and (some of) what I offered was included in the final piece. Here's the article for your perusal.