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Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Veteran rock engineer opening studio in Shelton

Veteran rock sound engineer Jim Johnson decided to leave the road behind him and open up a music studio in downtown Shelton.

The music engineer moved to Shelton for family reasons about five years ago. He opened a small studio near Sanderson Field. Since opening, Johnson said that his studio has been overrun by, as he calls it, "industry."

He said that's why he decided to move his shop to downtown Shelton. He's taken over the old Habitat for Humanity building on Cota, where he will open James Johnson Production Services.

The building has spectacular studio sound, Johnson said.

"It's the size and shape of everything I need -a place to roll cameras, hard floors, hard ceilings,

Johnson said he intends on showcasing artists and supporting local music.

"I want to support them in every way I can. I want to teach young bands how to sound good live. Even feature groups of them in special concerts," he said.

When he was 12, Johnson played his first gig in a rock band. Johnson played the guitar and, on occasion, the flute.

By 18, Johnson, along with his twin brother and two friends, decided to open a concert hall. They played there for two years.

"It was like the Seattle Center," Johnson explained. "We got one of the buildings - it was a round building that held 1,500 people. We turned it into a concert hall."

By 20, he had put down his guitar to go to Los Angeles to work with rock bands as a sound engineer.

"I worked with a bunch of off-duty rock bands," he said.

Two years later, Johnson landed back in the Northwest.

"I went from there to contracting with booking agents out of Seattle and hit the road with 25 bands over the next 15 years," he said.

After years on the road, Johnson opened a recording studio in Fife. There he worked with local and national bands.

He was the mix engineer for the Fabulous Wallers and the Ventures. Johnson said the Fabulous

Wailers were featured on "Pulp Fiction" and the Ventures played the theme for the original "Hawaii Five-0" television show. Eventually, Johnson said he would look to the community for support or sponsorship for larger concerts with national artists.

"I'll be looking at supporting, bringing music back into the core of the city," he explained. "It's all gone out to outward pressures. I want to bring business back into this area."

The doors should open Aug. 1, if everything goes as planned, Johnson said.

"I think I'm going to move (studios) soon. I'm planning tentatively on a concert in the middle part of August, but I don't know the dates yet," he said.

The studio will host two concerts a month, Johnson said.

"Other than that, we're starting productions, working with record companies about doing stuff for their artists," he said.

Other than putting on concerts, Johnson's studio will have a music store and equipment rentals.

The store will be filled with essentials such as cables, adapters, strings, sticks, picks and even trumpet mouth pieces. It will also be a consignment music store.

"I want local people to be able to shop locally — they won't have to go to Olympia or Aberdeen," he said.

"I want to bring business back into this area"

Jim Johnson, owner, Jim Johnson Production Services

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Original Publication Date: July 17, 2014

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