Joe Chiccarelli got his first taste of the studio through a cousin who owned Boston's Fleetwood Studio. Chiccarelli moved west in the late '70s where he scored an assistant engineer gig at L.A.'s Cherokee Studios. As often happens within the studio world, Chiccarelli caught his break when he happened to be at the right place at the right time (or the wrong place at the wrong time, depending on who you ask). As Cherokee's resident flack, Chiccarelli was assigned to assist difficult clients such as Frank Zappa, who was known for moodiness, being demanding, and keeping late hours. When Zappa's main engineer got held up and couldn't make it to the studio, Zappa upgraded Chiccarelli from assistant to engineer. The album, Sheik Yerbouti, was a giant step forward for the young studio man, and from there Chiccarelli went on to engineer several other Zappa discs, such as Joe's Garage and Baby Snakes, as well as produce groups like Oingo Boingo and the American Music Club.
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