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The Inner Ear of Don Zientara: A Half Century of Recording in One of America’s Most Innovative Studios, Through the Voices of Musicians

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A photo-filled oral history of the DC-area music studio that brought us some of the most iconic recordings by Bad Brains, Bikini Kill, Fugazi, and so many more

Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before June 6, 2023.

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Forthcoming: 6/6/23

$35.00 $26.25

What people are saying…

“If Memphis rock-and-roll had Sun Studio, and the Beatles had London’s Abbey Road, DC punk had Inner Ear.” —Washington Post

“Don had a very gentle approach, and everything he did was perfect. He did not assert himself on the music, but rather had the sensitivity to respond to the vibe of the songs. I wanted everything to sound very intimate, with minimal compression and no reverb, and Don was comfortable with that. More importantly, he knew how to make those restrictions sound good.” —John Frusciante, Red Hot Chili Peppers


Description

Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before June 6, 2023.

In the late 1970s, Don Zientara—a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War—founded Inner Ear Studio in the basement of his home in Arlington, VA, using the electronics training he received from the army. Inner Ear remained in Don’s basement until its 1990 relocation to a larger space on South Oakland Street. Along the way, Inner Ear became best known for recording iconic DC punk musicians including Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Bikini Kill, Rites of Spring, Mary Timony, and Fugazi.

The Inner Ear of Don Zientara is an oral history of not just Inner Ear’s recordings, but the role that Don played in creating one of the most welcoming and nurturing recording studios the world over. Alongside 250 photographs, the volume includes testimonials from members of Fugazi, Scream, Fire Party, Shudder to Think, Jawbox, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Dismemberment Plan, as well as musicians like Kathleen Hanna, Henry Rollins, among other notables.

In addition to DC punk bands, Don also recorded many other styles and genres, including Celtic folk tunes, harp music, Russian balalaika groups, political advertisers, and choral singers. The studio was also featured on Dave Grohl’s Sonic Highways television mini-series. The Inner Ear of Don Zientara pays tribute to this iconic studio, celebrating the man at the heart of this remarkable space.


Book Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Published: 6/6/23
  • IBSN: 9781636140926
  • e-IBSN: 9781636140971

Author

Antonia Tricarico worked as a photo archivist for Lucian Perkins (a Washington Post Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer) and has collaborated with Tolotta Records, Dischord Records, Kill Rock Stars, and Youth Action Research Group. Her work can be found in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History and in the permanent punk and go-go music exhibit and archive of the Special Collections Division of the District of Columbia, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Her photos have appeared in Photo Review, Guitar World, Kerrang!, Razorcake, and Fretboard Journal. She is the creator of Frame of Mind: Punk Photos and Essay from Washington, DC, and Beyond, 1997-2017. Her latest work is The Inner Ear of Don Zientara: A Half Century of Recording in One of America’s Most Innovative Studios, Through the Voices of Musicians.

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