Audio Engineering Faculty
From Paula Abdul to Yanni and Bobby Z, as well as hundreds of artist in between, John “Chopper” Black brings over forty years of experience to McNally-Smith College of Music.
As a Musician, Producer and Audio Engineer, Chopper’s extensive knowledge in Recording Studios, Audio Recording, Music Production, TV and Radio Advertising, Live Performance and Live Sound, inspires his passion in the mentoring of students in the arts of Music Production and Recording.
He has worked with many of the major record labels such as Virgin, Capital, MCA, Motown, and Warner Brothers, just to name a few. Chopper has multiple Gold and Platinum Records to his credits.
Department Head, Music Production
Christopher Blood has covered a lot of ground in his two decades in the recording industry. Starting off as a drummer in a local rock band, Blood worked his way up the studio ranks, recording several of the premier artists in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In 1997 he became co-owner of A440 Studios. In nearly a decade at A440, Blood recorded and produced countless albums for top local and major label artists. He has also worked in a number of the top recording studios around the country, including Stankonia in Atlanta (Outkast’s studio) and Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood.
In 2006, Blood started a new chapter in his recording career opening the Twin Cities-based Sonic Edge Studios, where he continues to work with top local, national and international talent. He is also very active in the live sound scene and has been a design and operations consultant for recording studios in Minnesota, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Texas. Blood’s recording credits and clients include: Atmosphere, Next, Juvenile, Mr. Cheeks, James Grear and Co, Big Walter Smith, Lil’ Romeo, Eyedea & Abilities, Brother Ali, Unknown Prophets, Black Flood Diesel, Anderson Windows, MN Dot, Boulder Buddy’s, Sony Records, No Limit Records, Universal Records and Rhymesayers Entertainment.
Ricardo has been active as a recording engineer for a variety of bands, commercials, and television spots as well as drummer and band manager for Tim Mahoney and the Blue Meenies. He has expertise in software, computer hardware, and high-end pro audio equipment and has served as store manager for Knut-Koupe and sales representative for Guitar Center.
Bryan is the owner of Forrester Audio Networx, a production studio specializing in broadcast audio, including V/O record, music composition, sound design, and mix for radio and TV commercials. Bryan has worked as audio engineer or producer for numerous commercial clients including Target, Best Buy, Pillsbury, Chili's, Northwest Airlines, and Purina. While at Hudson-Forrester Studios, Bryan worked on numerous acoustic and jazz recordings. Bryan is also an accomplished bass player and vocalist and has worked throughout the U.S. and Canada as a performer and recording artist.
Joe Mabbott was raised in a musical family, and began his own life in music as a drummer at the age of 2. He grew up as a performer, and after high school he felt it was time to turn his passion into a career. After graduating from The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Phoenix, he relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota in February 1995, and accepted an assistant engineer position at Trail Mix Studios. At the time, Trail Mix was a studio primarily known for its work in post production for the television and film industry. After four years at Trail Mix working on a vast array of commercials and short films, as well as numerous album projects (in all facets- engineering, mixing, editing, sound design, and playing drums and percussion) Joe then started freelance engineering around Minneapolis at several post and music studios.
In 2001, after two years of steady freelance work, Trail Mix Studios hired Joe back full time as manager and head engineer of the facility. In 2003, he bought out Trail Mix Studios and reorganized it as The Hideaway Studio, and his experience and style lured many of Minneapolis’ top hip-hop and indie rock acts, immediately establishing The Hideaway as a favorite of local artists. Joe’s work with national and international touring artists like Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Cloud Cult, Golden, Heiruspecs, I Self Devine, The Plastic Constellations, 5 Mile Chase, and many others has turned the Hideaway Studio into one of The Twin Cities more reputable and successful studios.
Michael is an audio engineer, producer, and owner of Tracks On 6th Recording Studios. Michael has been a part of the Twin Cities music scene since 1975 working with local, regional, and national artists. He is active in developing new talent as well as restoring and archiving important and historical music associated with the Twin Cities music scene. In addition to his work as an audio engineer, Michael has been involved in the design and installation of several commercial and educational recording facilities, including the McKern Complex at McNally Smith College.
Michael started at McNally Smith College of Music in 1994. Over the years he has held various positions in the institution. These include: Instructor, Head of the Recording Program, Executive Director, and Vice President of Administration and Operations.
Michael is a member of AES (Audio Engineering Society) and SPARS (Society of Professional Audio Recording Services).
Greg Reierson is the owner and operator of Rare Form Mastering in Minneapolis. He has spent the past 27 years working in the audio industry with a primary focus on audio mastering since 1989. In that time he’s mastered more than 4,000 commercially released albums for a diverse group of local, national and international artists including Prince, The Cure, Jonny Lang, Rita Coolidge, Bernard Allison, The Marshall Tucker Band, Tommy James, John Kay,Willie Murphy, Alexander O’Neal, Cloud Cult, The Honeydogs, Bruce McCabe, The Suburbs, Lorie Line and many others. In addition to the art and practice of mastering itself, and always in the pursuit of improving his craft, he spends countless hours designing, building and modifying electronic and electro-mechanical devices and learning as much as he can about music, sound, audio perception, acoustics and audio technology. Mastering is a subtle art — every little bit helps. Greg is a member of the Audio Engineering Society and a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Formal Education: B.S. Mass Communication, B.S. Sociology, North Dakota State University
David Wiens graduated from the Conservatory at the University of Missouri, Kansas City with a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance. He then began freelance session work as a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, and producer until he was hired as the Chief Engineer/Producer at Forerunner Music, a small ministry related record label in Kansas City, where he recorded and produced over twenty albums. Along with teaching at the McNally Smith College of music, David still works independently as a producer and recording engineer, and enjoys making music on his Chapman Stick.