I started a security and audio/video company in 2002, and part of my hiatus from music was when I was taking time to build the business. I got a call from one of my local musician friends, Mike Mitschele, who had just closed on his first house and was putting in a studio. He wanted to make sure he had a security system installed so that he could protect all of his gear.
I knew Mike was a really talented musician who had recorded multiple albums. His band Jolene was signed to Sire Records and toured with Hootie and the Blowfish in the ’90s. I also knew he was doing his own production and engineering. He and I had always gotten along well, and I felt like he would be a good fit to help me with my future album one day. We worked out a deal for some bartering of our crafts, with the mindset that he would work as a producer on my album. The idea was to record most of the music in his studio and then do all of the drum tracks at a professional studio. We had actually chosen the studio and engineer we wanted for the drums, but at that point I told Mike we should just record the whole album in the studio with him as the sole producer. We had a plan in place and were ready to execute it; however, the engineer and owner of that studio passed away unexpectedly so we needed a Plan B.
The day after our October show, I called Mike and said, “Man, I got the band that I want together and I am ready to record.” We discussed options for a studio and an engineer, and Mike mentioned that Jason Scavone was basically running Sioux Sioux Studio in Charlotte. I had heard of Scavone, and Trey and I are good friends with his bass player. We looked up some YouTube videos and loved his music. Jason Atkins, aka Greazy Keyz, Satchel Foot’s original keyboard player, had done a lot of work with Scavone both in the studio and live, so I asked him what he thought about working with him in the studio. His text response was simply: “He’s brilliant.” That was all I needed to hear, so I got Scavone’s number and texted him. He had a gig that night but told me he would contact me the next day.
When he called, one of the first things he asked was, “Are you Rusty from Satchel Foot?” I said, “I sure am,” and he said we’d actually played together before. I laughed and said, “Those days were hazy, man.” Lol. We immediately hit it off and discussed the studio and his recording process. We talked about having him and Mike work as co-producers. They knew each other but had never worked together, so I was hoping this would fly. They were both also very open to it and genuinely excited about the project.
We were ALL SET! I had chosen the studio and both producers, and we reserved a three-day weekend starting the week after The Visulite show. I saw a video of Scavone speaking about what he thought made a good recording session. He said something to the effect that he liked when a band came in well-rehearsed, with intention and an open mind. I had seen that clip after our first three days in the studio, but it was exactly the way we were approaching this time in the studio. I absolutely HATED the entire process of recording my first album with Satchel Foot and always thought the album was not the best it could’ve been. We had some small-label interest back then that we turned down, however, I always wondered what it would’ve been like to have been able to work with a great producer.
Well, we were about to find the hell out.