Recording Connection Mentor Don Zientara featured in Foo Fighters HBO Documentary Sonic Highways!
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Recording Connection is proud to have some of the biggest names in the music industry as mentors who partner with us, enabling our students to get the hands-on training and real-world experience they need to launch their careers. Don Zientara, founder of Inner Ear Studio in Arlington, Virginia, just 20 minutes outside of D.C., has been a mentor with us for close to two decades. Producer, engineer and studio owner, Zientara has been an integral part of the D.C. punk and rock music scene since it all started going down in the 80s. A recent Rolling Stone article says, “One man’s name is on almost every single landmark hardcore D.C. album: Don Zientara.” That’s no exaggeration: Don’s name appears on hundreds of punk, hardcore, and post-punk record credits, including Fugazi, Bad Brains, Jawbox, Minor Threat, Scream, Government Issue, Q and Not U, Joe Lally and Möbius Strip.
Zientara’s recent mention in Rolling Stone magazine stems from coverage of another major act with ties to his Inner Ear Studio: Foo Fighters. Frontman and documentary producer, Dave Grohl, grew up in the D.C. area and in an earlier time he even recorded there as drummer with the D.C. area band Scream. So when Foo Fighters came to Inner Ear to record “The Feast and the Famine” for their eighth album Sonic Highways, the occasion marked a musical homecoming of sorts for Grohl. Zientara was even interviewed by Grohl himself for the series.
Zientara tells us that having Foo Fighters in the studio where they were recording and filming for a week was “total madness in a good way. They were editing and recording, there was a makeup person, camera guys, the whole film crew and there was the band, the musicians and lots and lots of equipment.”
So how does Zientara feel about all the coverage? He’s taking it in strides and says the studio work was great and that’s what he’s most excited about. He stresses that even though he’s got decades of experience, he’s always learning more. While recording with Foo Fighters (a band he describes as “very professional” and great to work with), Zientara says, “I got more stuff to add to my bag of tricks.” Maybe it’s his combination of humility, openness and discovery that has made Don Zientara the legend he is today.
Despite the punk status, Zientara’s the first to say he isn’t exclusive to rock or punk. In fact, Inner Ear Studio has recorded everything from Celtic folk to jazz and blues and even spoken word.
Check out an excerpt of the Sonic Highways HBO docuseries below.