About Musicworks Entertainment
Launched in 1998 by keyboardist & entrepreneur J.T. Garrett and veteran hard rock vocalist Paul Shortino (also This Is Spinal Tap’s Duke Fame), MusicWorks Entertainment encompasses both a state-of-the-art production facility and a newly launched record label, Rock Quarry.
In addition to being ground zero for Garrett and Shortino’s own creative projects, the team’s multi-faceted Southern California-based company is now focusing on discovering and developing new musical talent across diverse genre lines. Rock Quarry’s virgin release, Simplexity, by the L.A. area alt-rockers Level, is due out later this year, and stands to put the new imprint squarely on the map. Fronted by singer-songwriter and Seattle émigré Matthew Twining—also a regular on TV’s perennially popular One Life To Live—Level’s debut disc features ten original songs that remind both Garrett and Shortino “of Jim Morrison, because of their lyrics, or a young U2, because of their range. It’s very fresh sounding, and we felt these guys would be worth putting time and energy into.
MusicWorks co-founders Garrett and Shortino originally met in 1996 in a Los Angeles recording studio, each in for a different session. At that time, Garrett, a Virginia native, had been in Southern California for just over a decade, pursuing dual careers in music and business. Shortino, former lead singer for Rough Cutt and Quiet Riot—and instigator of a diverse collection of side solo projects—was in cutting a demo for a good friend. Garrett heard his potent vocals and was intrigued—“Who was that,” J.T. remembers wondering. The two struck up an immediate friendship and subsequent partnership that has continued to evolve ever since. Their first project together, begun in ’96, was the blues-based rock disc Stand Or Fall from Paul Shortino & The Rhythm Junkies, released independently in 1999. Paul and J.T. either wrote or co-wrote more than half of the album’s tracks, which feature a host of Shortino’s rock compatriots, including fellow Rough Cutt alumnae David Alford (drums) and Amir Derakh (guitar), and Matt Thorne (bass). During the course of recording and mixing Stand Or Fall in various studios, Garrett and Shortino became enamored with ProTools, and decided that making—and producing–records themselves was their shared vision for the future. In late ’97, Paul studied the advanced pro audio phenomenon, they invested in a top-of-the-line system, and MusicWorks was born.
Work soon commenced on their second collaboration, Sacred Place, a hard rock tour de force infused with a spiritual edge. Executive-produced by Garrett and boasting Shortino’s blockbuster vocals, the album evolved over an almost three-year time span. Shortino has described Sacred Place as “kind of Plant and Page meet Soundgarden meets Aerosmith,” and, in fact, the disc spotlights ex-Aerosmith axeman Jimmy Crespo on lead guitar. It also features a veritable who’s who of ace hard rock players, among them Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot), Chuck Wright (House Of Lords), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger), and Howard Leese (Heart, Paul Rodgers). Shortino originally envisioned the project—which he feels is some of his finest work–as a possible Rough Cutt reunion. It never materialized, and the CD that did emerge was released in 2003 as Paul Shortino’s The CUTT, Sacred Place. The Sacred Place sessions generated one song—“Freedom”—that didn’t quite fit the rest of the repertoire. The composition ended up inspiring what will be Shortino’s next MusicWorks solo endeavor, a Southern rock flavored album, yet to be titled. Featuring Paul on bass and vocals, and Howard Leese on guitar, “Freedom” is a blues/country-inflected rocker that Garrett and Shortino feel is the centerpiece of a sound certain to appeal to classic rock fans looking for new alternatives.
Also forthcoming is MusicWork’s limited edition 10th anniversary re-release of Back On Track, Paul’s 1993 album with guitarist JK Northrup, as well as an all-new collection from the duo. Most importantly, together, Garrett and Shortino are also working to build a roster for Rock Quarry. “We’re mining for gold and platinum,” quips J.T. Garrett believes his background in business, coupled with his intuitive ability “to think like a music guy,” makes him especially able to spot diamonds in the rough. The polish, J.T. adds, is Shortino’s specialty–“Paul’s extensive studio experience as a vocalist and musician translates amazingly well to his gifts as a producer—he’s able to bring out the best an artist has to offer.” With the label’s imminent debut of Level, and the band’s distinctive first album Simplexity—produced by Shortino—MusicWorks may just be on its way to striking the mother lode
Stay tuned, we’ve just begun!