DS Interview: Getting precise with Dan Precision (Dan Wleklinski)

Dan Wleklinski, aka &#8220Dan Precision,&#8221 is one particular of the Chicago space punk scene&#8217s top-stage multi-hyphenates. As a musician, Wleklinksi was a founding member of 88 Fingers Louie Rise Against Soulscape Split the Silence, and now The Iron Spiders.  He is also a prolific report producer. I just lately spent a couple hours documenting his manufacturing do the job, on the impending Bumsy and the Moochers file, at The Bombshelter Recording Studio. He launched the studio in the basement of his suburban childhood home in 1999. Later on, in a broad-ranging interview, in which we talked over his get the job done as a musician and as a producer, he recalled some of his wildest encounters, his enjoy of street journeys on his bike, and far more.

MerGold (Dying Scene)How did you get into tunes to commence with? 

Dan Wleklinksi:  My mothers and fathers had a very slight musical track record, and my dad started out to educate me some simple piano taking part in when I was about 5 several years aged. I started out getting actual piano lessons at the age of 10, but I seriously wanted to participate in guitar. Unfortunately, my moms and dads didn’t have ample funds to obtain a guitar for me and claimed that I could not just take guitar classes. I informed them that I would quit piano out of spite if I could not consider guitar lessons, and currently being the minimal a**gap child that I was, I give up piano a several days afterwards. Seeking back, I want I hadn’t finished that because I would have been a a great deal much better and learned musician at this age. Luckily for us I started off discovering guitar at the age of 13.

Were being there any displays or situations you locate especially unforgettable?  Good or lousy? 

The unforgettable activities and demonstrates are beyond count…both very good and bad…like obtaining 13 cop vehicles identified as on us in 2004 [in Fresno, CA when a member of Break The Silence] immediately after we threatened a venue proprietor for not having to pay up. We had been on tour with A Wilhelm Scream and A lot the Very same. Or in 1999, [with 88 Fingers Louie], practically preventing some Germans in Hamburg for accusing us of trashing their van. The dudes in At The Drive-In had been heading to back again us up if that fight at any time occurred, but we acquired out of that one. We were on tour with A Wilhelm Scream and A lot the Very same.

Just one of my favourite periods was the weekend in 2014 [again, with 88 Fingers Louie] where we performed Rock Fest in Montebello, Canada. There had been so numerous awesome bands that we shared the stage with, together with Blink-182, Primus, Motley Crue, Megadeth, Danzig, Weezer, Cypress Hill, and so many a lot more. Most of the bands stayed in the same 5-tale lodge on the web site of the festival, so we got to dangle out and converse with so lots of amazing musicians. We also had a view of many phases from our lodge rooms, so if we didn’t come to feel like likely down, we could check out the bands from the consolation of our very own rooms.

Preferred venues and events in Chicago the exact dilemma for other places?

I have performed very a couple of fantastic venues in Chicago, together with the Fireplace Bowl, Bottom Lounge, The Metro, Livewire, Property of Blues, and The Vic, but I have usually loved participating in Reggies.

There are a lot of functions that have been a blast to perform, such as Riot Fest in Chicago (we also performed the Denver dates), Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas (and we performed the New Jersey edition as effectively), both equally Groezrock and Brakrock in Belgium, Songs 4 Cancer and Rockfest in Canada, Rebellion Fest in the United Kingdom, and Punk Rock Getaway in Slovenia.

How do you decide which jobs, bands, or musicians with whom to function?

As a musician, I really get pleasure from performing with other gamers who share the identical very long-time period eyesight and expertise. I have been fortunate to have began bands this sort of as 88 Fingers Louie, Rise Versus, Break the Silence, Soulscape, and now The Iron Spiders. At this issue in my existence, if I were going to think about staying in a experienced band, they would need to be a touring band. 1 of the most tricky things to deal with is the truth that I have the independence to tour though many bands I’ve been a component of have misplaced that means over time.

How did you then get into creating information? What was your 1st file?

My to start with actual band, 88 Fingers Louie, recorded multiple instances setting up in 1993 with the esteemed producer, Mass Giorgini, at his studio, Sonic Iguana in Lafayette, Indiana. We recorded a bunch of EPs and 2 complete albums there, including “Behind Bars” and “Back on the Streets.” For the duration of the “Back on the Streets” classes, Mass commented that I had a really excellent ear for songs and requested if I wanted to study how to be an audio engineer. I agreed. I commenced by comping vocal tracks on “Back on the Streets” so that was technically the to start with file I at any time labored on.

I opened my studio, The Bombshelter Recording Studio, in 1999, and the 1st band I recorded was The Poonanies. The singer, Tony, went on to type Chicago’s pretty individual, Shot Baker.

How do you decide which musicians to get the job done with?  Are there parameters for which you will convert down bands or initiatives?

Typically, bands question to operate with me from phrase-of-mouth of previous customers, or seeing my identify in the credits of albums I’ve recorded. I come to feel that with the increase in streaming over the past ten years, the latter has been ever more challenging to attain visibility. I believe Spotify not too long ago has begun demonstrating recording/manufacturing/mixing credits if you click on on the launch, but the bands however will need to enter that details.

Most bands are wonderful with sharing the recording credits to streaming platforms, and I feel it is in their greatest desire to do so. Not only could it perhaps open up other avenues of listeners, but it also helps the engineers and producers get their names out to other musicians who may like their manufacturing. 

I do not really switch down bands or initiatives. I have worked with bands who were 13 and 14 many years old who were eager to master. I’ve also labored with seasoned musicians in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s…and everything in concerning.

I have prompt bands to potentially go to a unique producer if I feel we would not be a fantastic in shape. For example, I sense that bands and producers require to acquire time in the studio to make their recording the ideal it can be. If a band would like to record 10 songs in 2 days, I permit them know that I never perform that quickly as I consider the system and the high quality suffers. 

How collaborative is the procedure? Do you want the bands to appear in with unique thoughts, or do you take the guide?

The recording procedure can be very collaborative, and which is one particular of my beloved parts in creating bands. I appreciate when bands have distinct ideas and alongside one another, we can incorporate all of our musical working experience and hone each and every track. Even so, there are numerous situations when the band would like me to just take the guide, and I am satisfied to do so.

That can be a minimal additional tricky when I function with a band for the 1st time, but fortunately, I have a ton of repeat shoppers, and just about every subsequent time, the collaboration turns into much easier and far more fruitful. It seriously is a stunning issue to be imaginative with other musicians who may possibly have different musical styles and backgrounds.

Have you worked on some musician’s debut albums? As in the musician has in no way been in a studio? What is that knowledge like?

Certainly, I have labored with a several bands’ with it currently being their very first time in the studio. Usually, people are teenaged bands on the lookout to reduce their 1st EP. I’ve also worked with visitor musicians who are singing backing vocals or taking part in an accompanying section on an proven band’s recording. Sometimes they are young…like a band member’s son or daughter. Other instances they are gifted moms and fathers of the band at the moment in the studio. Possibly way, it’s constantly an pleasant encounter as they leave owning learned one thing. I consider I’m a little bit like my father, who was a terrific trainer. It is an amazing experience to have bands return and to see the development they have realized because their very last recording with me.

Similar to remaining a producer, what are the ideal sections of possessing your possess studio? Are there troubles you were not entirely aware of right before proudly owning your possess studio?

As you might have gathered from my previously solutions, I enjoy currently being in the studio, performing with musicians, and also mixing and mastering on my own…basically, I love the audio portion of managing the business. Just one of the much more challenging areas for me is the promotion part. Although I’m happy of the get the job done I do, and I take pleasure in advertising bands’ releases, I do not genuinely like “talking myself up.” When I first begun, I think I was fortunate due to the fact persons heard about the Bombshelter as a result of the bands I was in. About the a long time, phrase-of-mouth from pleased purchasers has assisted me proceed to do what I love…for 25 many years! I’m continue to slightly shocked that the thirty day period of September 2024 will be the 25th anniversary of The Bombshelter Recording Studio. “Thank you” to all of my past and primarily return purchasers who have assisted me do what I adore for so lengthy!

 Last 12 months you left the studio and the stages for a genuinely great motive. You embarked on a solo motorbike street excursion throughout portion of the state, and brought your close friends and enthusiasts with you via photos and movie. How and when did you get started using?  What does riding do for you?

Although I commenced riding 30 years back, my first solo bike tour was in 2022.  Riding is ordinarily really stress-free for me, and I believe the pleasure I working experience on extended tours are an extension of my time touring with bands. There are so lots of unforgettable times I have experienced the last several a long time, like driving the “Million Greenback Highway” in Colorado and via the “Needles Eye Tunnel” in South Dakota.

What was the journey like? Were there any significantly unforgettable moments good or negative? Any hair-boosting times? 

I question that final issue recalling some of my possess hair-boosting times using in vans as a result of Southeast Asia, and buses when I lived in Guatemala. Some of all those steeply curved mountainsides ended up rather frightening. I can&#8217t consider how nerve-wracking it may well be on a motorbike. 

I try out not to feel back again too substantially on the “bad” or “hair-raising” moments like when animals bounce in entrance of you, or hoping to stay awake through the very last hour of your Saddlesore 1000 (touring 1000 miles in less than 24 hrs).  However, I will always keep in mind very last year’s 10-hour experience from Fort Collins to Montrose, Colorado around Path Ridge Road by Rocky Mountain Countrywide Park. It was equally hair-elevating and memorable to cross the greatest position of 12,183 toes in 34 diploma (1 diploma Celsius) temperature with snow on the sides of the road. The good thing is the streets have been primarily distinct of snow and ice thanks to the warmth of the climbing sun.

1 of the much more complicated points when touring in a band is having the time to appreciate the cities, environments, and scenery along the way. I get to take pleasure in all of people factors when on my motorbike excursions. It is a intention of mine to incorporate both touring in a band although riding a motorcycle. The late Neil Peart wrote about his time accomplishing that precise issue on a number of Rush tours, and it seems heavenly to me!

Wleklinski is a single of the most authentic, humble, and all-close to nicest persons I&#8217ve achieved, not just in the punk scene, but anywhere.  And of study course, he has one particular of the greatest heads of hair in this scene as effectively.  His very long silver mane tends to make for some awesome on-stage images as he rocks it all in excess of the position.  

Individuals of us photographers who have had the enjoyment to shoot him in live performance will rue the day he ever decides to reduce it off.  However, which is a person transfer I never see Wleklinski generating. 

I do seem ahead to the long run moves he tends to make in music, in document producing, as very well as documenting more two-wheel adventures.

Thanks Dan, risk-free travels on your up coming road trip, and cheers!

Highway trip images courtesy of Dan Wleklinski. All other pictures by MGold for Dying Scene.