Originally from Buffalo, NY, musician and producer Dave Schulz started on the piano when he was eleven. He went on to play locally and win various awards. Towards the late ‘90s he got a call from Robby Takac, bassist with the Goo Goo Dolls, and was invited to play keys for them at A Day in the Garden (aka Woodstock ’98). He was then tapped to join the band’s Dizzy Up the Girl tour, which meant nearly two years on the road. After his move to LA, he organized an all-star jam night at Ian Copeland’s The Backstage Cafe. He’s since collaborated with a range of artists including Wang Chung, Berlin and Cherie Currie, founding member of The Runaways.
His latest undertaking is a charity cover of New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give,” which drops on Sept. 24. Artists involved include Currie, Takac and Bumblefoot, formerly of Guns N’ Roses. “That song holds a special place for me because it sounds like a modern Todd Rundgren record and I’m a huge fan,” Schulz explains. “It also felt extremely timely. The message alone speaks to a lot of things today, such as venues being shut down, potentially, by the pandemic and the general turmoil that COVID has caused. It will benefit The David Z Foundation, which helps kids with music education. It’s also aligned with Robby’s [Takac] Music is Art in Buffalo.”
Schulz has always produced his own records and in the past few years began to do the same for other artists. “I’d always wanted to produce and I thought I’d be good at it,” he says of his evolution. “Cherie [Currie] believed in me and let me produce a track––a cover of Burt Bacharach’s ‘What the World Needs Now.’ The cool thing was that her singing Burt Bacharach is completely shocking to most people. It turned out great. Burt heard it himself and liked it. That led to me producing her entire solo record, which we’ll start next month. It’ll be either an EP or full record and I’ll bring in A-list musicians. The goal is to make a record of all the songs you wouldn’t think she’d sing; songs that will be conducive to having a lot of fun in the studio.”
One of his favorite studio memories is when he was working on his song “Back to Me.” Robi Banerji, an engineer friend, had called in a favor and got producer and musician Daniel Lanois to come in and play pedal steel on it. “I’m a big fan and Robi told me that [Lanois] was tough on lyrics and might tell me to rewrite them on the spot,” Schulz recalls. “I’ve heard stories of him making Bono rewrite on the fly. But he liked mine and said that they sounded like a man trapped at midnight. He made me re-sing the lead vocal into an old SM-57 mic just sitting on the couch. I was nervous as hell but ended up getting a really great vocal.”
Schulz does much of his work at “The Dave Cave,” his home studio. “I’ve got both a Logic-based system as well as Pro Tools and Ableton; it’s set up so that different engineers can come in and work [easily],” he explains. “I’m not an engineer, personally, and I like to have one [come in]. I respect other people’s talent in that field and don’t want to do everything myself. I like to put the best minds together and make things happen. That’s where I shine as a producer and that’s the key to a great record.”
Schulz plans to begin work soon with Currie and also aims to produce a record for sax artist Katja Rieckermann, who’s worked extensively with Rod Stewart. A solo classical synth album as well as a project called Into the Frequency, which is a collaboration with cellist Ruti Celli, lies in his future and a Genesis tribute album is also being discussed. A 2022 David Bowie tribute tour is also likely.
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