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Twelve Tone Music bio picture

John Schirmer - Artist and Tour Management, Producer, Mixer

“You don’t grow up in the rich musical melting pot that is New Jersey, without soaking up some of it’s musical heritage.”

2011 Grammy nominated Producer, Engineer and Mixer, John Schirmer grew out of the very seed planted by the Garden States musical royalty. Artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Les Paul, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, George Clinton and William “Count” Basie left behind an indelible imprint within the soil that makes up the Garden State. An Imprint that would inspire for decades, young musicians to break free of their meager beginnings and search for something better, something more musical.

For the last seventeen years John Schirmer has strived to obtain nothing less than something better, something more musical. Cumulating his expectations into a personal journey that has afforded John the opportunity to tour the world with major label and independent artists.

As a Producer, FOH and Studio Mixer, Tracking Engineer, Production and Tour Manager, John has had the opportunity to develop an insiders perspective of the people and places that make up the fabric of the entertainment industry. This is a privilege that John does not take lightly. John believes that his experiences with both live and studio artists , and his interactions with the artists label and management on the road and behind the glass, allow him to meld both the live and studio enviroments into one unique perspective that brings out the best in his artists. Both on the road and in the studio John uses his insight, experience and contacts to facilitate an interaction between artists and environment, that is both positive and creative, and always capable of delivering the best possible performances.

“If the vibe and the energy are just right, the feel of the music will be undeniable.”

Over the last six years, John has worked almost exclusively with three time Grammy winning Songwriter and Artist Keb Mo. John and Keb Mo have established a professional and personal relationship like none other within the music industry.

 “John Schirmer is my right hand man, he is the Holland to my Dozier.” -Keb Mo

John has taken on multiple roles within the Keb Mo organization, roles that have become mutually beneficial to Keb Mo and to the artists outside of the Keb Mo organization that John has had the privilege to work with. For the last six years with Keb Mo, John has filled the role of Tracking Engineer and Mixer (Live & Mo, The Reflection, The Reflection Acoustic EP, The Christmas EP), FOH Engineer, Tour Manager and Production Manager for every tour  Keb Mo has done since 2006’s ‘Suitcase” tour. John designed and equipped Keb Mo’s Nashville based, 2000 square foot Stu Stu Studio, where Keb Mo and John work tirelessly producing, engineering and mixing artists records for Keb Mo’s label Yolabelle International, as well as scores for the multitude of television shows that Keb Mo composes for. (Mike and Molly; CBS, Memphis Beat; TNT and Are you There God it’s Me Vodka; Comedy Central)

Outside of his relationship with Keb Mo, John, through the years has had the esteemed privilege to work with some of the most talented artists in the entertainment industry. Just some of the Artists, John has been able to call clients, colleagues and most importantly friends include:

Keb Mo, Bonnie Raitt, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Brian Wilson, Angelique Kidjo, The Black Eyed Peas, Vince Gill, Lee Roy Parnell, Gary Nicholson, Mindi Abair, Dave Koz, Marcus Miller, Coco Montoya, Melissa Manchester, Playing for Change, Drag Pipe, Monster Magnet, Ween, Reach 454, Nicole Atkins, The Roots, Thelonious Monk Jr., Kirk franklin, Rebecca St. James and India. Arie.

Just as my predecessors from the great Garden State of New Jersey, I live for the moment the lights go down and the bass rolls across the floor. These are the moments that define me, the moments that I anxiously await waking to each and everyday. My life is based around watching V.U. meters and riding faders. Music is my life and it defines me.”

Category Archives: On the Road

Here you can find posts about my life on the road with Keb’ Mo’.

Keb’ Mo’ Continues Summer Tour with Opening Slots for Joe Cocker

images-1 This past weekend Keb’ Mo’ and the band performed at the Sonoma Jazz Festival and the Santa Cruz Blues Festival. We had the great privilege of performing behind one of musics greatest living icons, Mr. Joe Cocker. Both festivals were sold out affairs and the audience was treated to some really great sets from both artists. Once again we had a great time and were treated very well by the promoters and our audience.

Keb’ Mo’ Kicks Off Summer Tour

images This weekend Keb’ Mo’ and the band have hit the road running. With stops in Augora Hills, CA @ the Canyon Club and Dana Point, CA for the Doheney Blues Festival, Keb’ has begun to bring his mixture of story telling and rhythm and blues to the masses for yet another summer gathering of friends.

On Friday night may 15th, we took our show to the people of LA, performing a two hour set at the Canyon Club in Augora Hills, CA. With opening artist Heather Lauren Donovan and joined on stage by Niki J. Crawford for a performance of Dangerous Mood, and Gerald Albright, Keb’ brought the house down. The show was really well received and most of the audience was excited to see Keb’ in LA, as we so seldom perform there.

On Saturday we took our show to Dana Point, CA for the Doheney blues festival. California’s largest blues festival, and in this engineers opinion one of the best. We played a late afternoon set to about 8000 blues fans, and then were followed by Brian Setzer and the Nashvillians. Again Keb’ was joined on stage by Niki J. Crawford for a killer version of Dangerous Mood. Niki walked away from her performance the talk of the festival.

The very next day Keb’ performed a solo acoustic set to a select bunch of fans while Coco Montoya performed to another group of blues hungry fans. The highlight of day two was listening to Coco tell his fans about his upcoming release that Keb’ produced and I engineered. Coco is really proud of this record and it seems like his fans are eager for it.

Later in the evening Derek Trucks and BB King filled the festival air with soulful performances. It was a magical weekend of music.  Keb’ the band and our crew are off and running. Keep your eyes and ears open, we may be heading your way.

Keb’ Mo’ helps bring the Blues to Mississippi Delta students.

monkpic1bigBetween the dates of April 18th and April 21, 2009, Keb’ and myself, along with members of the Monk Institute of Jazz, traveled into the Mississippi Delta towns of Cleveland and Ruleville. This would be a collaborative effort to reintroduce students of an economicly depressed Mississippi Delta area to the significance and heritage of the music that arose from their home land.  Cleveland and Ruleville, Mississippi, and Dockery Farms are considered by many, including B.B. King, to be the birthplace of the blues.

Keb’ and I participated in a public school education tour that would bring Blues and Jazz back to the Mississippi Delta. The public school education tour included a series of assembly programs, jazz band clinics, and recording master classes. Each assembly featured a six-piece blues and jazz combo led by world renowned saxophonist Antonio Hart, an interactive presentation about the blues and jazz with acclaimed vocalist Lisa Henry and blues guitarist Keb’ Mo’, followed by a question-and-answer session with the students. In addition, jazz drummer TS Monk, Chairman of the Institute’s Board of Trustees and son of the legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, spoke about the influence of the blues on jazz and the impact of both musical art forms on the world. The recording master class was taught by myself (Engineer) and Thelonius Monk (Producer). The recording class introduced the recording students of Delta State University to the experience of working with world class producers, engineers and musicians in a studio environment. It was educational for all, and when it was over we tracked a beautiful arrangement of “You Are My Sunshine.” 

While in Cleveland, the band members, the board members and myself were hosted to a dinner at Dockery Farms by the descendants of William Dockery, the founder and original owner of the birthplace of the blues. Please check out this link to learn more about Dockery Farms significant role in the development of the blues.

My time spent with Keb’, The Monk Institute, Dockery Farms and the Mississippi Delta has forever changed me. I am so grateful to have been a part of this great cause and look forward to working with The Monk Institute again.

For more info on The Monk Institutes Jazz and Blues program, please follow the link below:

San Francisco 3/31/09

bnf09_hmYesterday I awoke at 5AM to catch a plane from LAX to San Francisco where Keb’ would be performing at a benefit concert for Bread and Roses at the Teatro Zinzanni, located on the San Fran water front. For those not familiar with Teatro Zinzanni, it is an evening with European Cabaret and Cirque mixed with Divas and Madman set in a night club (tent) with live music and gourmet 5 course meals and high production standards. I highly recommend checking it out the next time you are in San Fran.

We had a very short but successful set and enjoyed our time at this great venue. Even more enjoyable was getting to watch Lauden Wainwright perform a solo acoustic set with his daughter. 

Big thanks goes out to all those who made this a successful event for Keb’ Mo’ and the Bed and Roses organazation.

Please check out thier websites: