ULTIMATE MAN CAVE: Mark Tinson at work in his Adamstown Heights garage that has been converted into a home music recording studio. Picture: Max Mason-HubersMARK Tinson is living the work-life balance most of us only dream about. There’s no long commutes or car park dilemmas, he simply walks through a door and clocks on.
Better still, work revolves around recording, playing and mixing music.
For the past decade Newcastle’s “godfather of rock’n’roll”has operated his music studio out of his Adamstown Heights home. With views from the studio’s window over the leafy Fernleigh Track, it provides an idyllic location for creativity.
“It’s pretty comfortable and best part is I have a whole wall of guitars to give me the sounds I need,” Tinson says.“Some of the acts who come here to record do because they don’t have to bring any guitars. There’s a whole stack of them here.”
Tinson has been entrenched in the Newcastle music scene for more than four decades. His bands Rabbit and The Heroes, were leaders in the ‘70s pub rock scene.The latter mythologisedfor their closing set on the night of the1979 Star Hotel riot.
Later Tinson became aTAFE teacher and producer,workingwith some of Newcastle’smost popularacts inThe Screaming Jets,Silverchair and DV8.
“I’ve had a home studio for almost forever,” he says.“The first studio was just a four-track set up in the bedroom in Cooks Hill when I was with Rabbit. We needed to be able to record demos for our record company CBS. If we didn’t have demos we couldn’t play them the songs.
“Basically I just started fooling around on that, and it’s really good and I enjoyed it. It’s always been a parallel career for me almost, with playing music and teaching. When I was teaching at TAFE Iwas teaching recording. So two parallel streamsintertwinedwith each other.
“Every now and again if live work is at a low, the studio seems to cover it, so it’s been a good featherin the quiver.”
Some studios are considered holy ground in the music world. Think London’s Abbey Road orLos Angeles’ Sunset SoundRecorders.
Tinson’s studio is a far more humble affair. Theconverted garage is soundproofed by gyprock and Wavebar, a noise deduction material made from vinyl, to enable recording at all hours.
The studio is fully digitalised with Pro Tools software after Tinson was “dragged kicking and screaming” away from analog recording. This freedup space forTinson’s treasuredguitar collection. Digital recording also allows for unlimited tracks to be used in songs.
“The old 24-track and two-inch tape recorders are as big as two washing machines, so I don’t have to put that in there anymore or the Hammond organ because there’s a bit of software that sounds close enough,” he says.
“I used to say if you have more than 24 tracks you’ve gone too far. Now having that facility, you go ‘what was Ithinking?’ It can be a nightmare later to mix, but it gives you a lot of flexibility.”
The studio is in operation most days and recently recorded and mixed DV8’s Like It On Top and Tony Johns’Natural. During his interview with Weekender, Tinson was recording Hornet frontmanTy Penshorn’s next album.
“Working with bands, soloists, songwriters, composers it covers all angles,” Tinson says.“I’ve got a client base built up over 35 years and they keep coming back.”