Prestigious List of Influential Music Industry Colleagues Makes Up New Advisory Council
New York, New York – (February 28, 2022) – The Les Paul Foundation, whose mission is to honor the legacy of Les Paul, has announced the appointment of a new Advisory Council. The Les Paul Advisory Council is made up of a prestigious group of influential music industry friends, colleagues and educators. They will be helping to further the mission of the Foundation. The Council will offer insight and guidance for music education, engineering and hearing health, three priorities for Les during his lifetime. Each member of the new Council brings an extraordinary level of experience and expertise in the music business and will contribute to the current and future work of the Les Paul Foundation.
The Les Paul Advisory Council members are K-Pop producer Alawn; President of CAA Nashville, Rod Essig; Grammy winning artist and guitarist Peter Frampton; Musician and Composer Brian Hardgroove; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Joan Jett; CEO of TMWRK Management Andrew McInnes; Department of Recording Industry Chair at Middle Tennessee State University John Merchant; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and Les Paul’s Godson Steve Miller; Multi-instrumentalist/producer and Assistant Arts Professor and Area Head of Musicianship at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music Jeff Peretz; Three-time Grammy winner singer, songwriter and producer Nile Rodgers; Guitarist and Recording Artist Slash; Singer/songwriter and producer Richie Sambora and record producer and music executive Don Was.
“The individuals who have joined the Les Paul Foundation Advisory Council are a prestigious and influential group of music industry artists, educators, executives and friends. The names we announced today are a fitting tribute to Les. We look forward to their ideas and are thankful for their commitment to helping us share the historic legacy of such a great man, our friend Les Paul.” – Michael Braunstein, Executive Director, Les Paul Foundation
Alawn is a multi-platinum producer with more than 12 Billboard #1 chart entries to his name. Born in France, Alawn began his commercial career with an Artist/DJ project signed to Universal Music. He has gone on to produce for other artists including Flo Rida, Snoop Dogg, Gucci Mane, Boyz II Men, Paul Wall, Emma Heesters, Eurovisions FOURCE and others.
Rod Essig co-heads CAA Nashville and represents some of the world’s top musicians including Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Joan Jett, Styx and many others. A seasoned agent, Essig joined CAA in 1993 after servicing as Vice President and co-owner of Variety Artists International. He has also served as the Chairman of the Academy of Country Music Association. Essig was named to the 2019 IBEA Hall of Fame and he serves on the Boards of Lifting Lives, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, Musicares, NARAS, Tennessee Performing Arts Center and others.
Grammy winning artist Peter Frampton is one of the most celebrated artists and guitarists in rock history. At 16, he was the lead guitarist for British band Herd. At 18, Frampton co-founded one of the first super groups, seminal rock act Humble Pie. After 46 years, Frampton Comes Alive! still remains one of the top selling live records of all time selling over 17 million worldwide and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2020. His collaborations in recording sessions and live performances range from such legendary artists as George Harrison, Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, Hank Marvin, Ringo Starr, B.B.King, Mike McCready & Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam), Buddy Guy, Steve Miller and more. Frampton’s relevancy has never waned and he remains one of the most iconic musical artists of his time.
Brian Hardgroove, record producer, bassist, drummer and member of the legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy. Hardgroove has been involved in extraordinary productions that include Chuck D, Steve Tyler & Joe Perry, Burning Spear, Marc Anthony, Supertramp and The Fine Arts Militia and the production of two of China’s premier punk rock bands Demerit and Brain Failure. His musical repertoire spans the genres of hip-hop, soul, rhythm and blues, rock and reggae. In 2013, Hardgroove joined the faculty of Santa Fe University of Art & Design in Residence. Hardgroove has also been recognized by the State of New Mexico for his commitment to the regional music scene. “Brian Hardgroove Day” in Santa Fe has been declared twice since 2009. He is currently producing two separate album projects with Stewart Copeland (The Police) and Fred Schneider (The B-52s) in addition to his role as multi-instrumentalist in the band “Ghost in the Hall.”
Andrew McInnes is CEO of TMWRK Management, a music management company that handles a diverse roster of globally influential DJs, producers, and recording artists. Andrew co-founded TMWRK in 2011 after successfully running his own management outfit alongside his A&R role at Epic Records, and formerly worked at Columbia Records as an A&R scout. TMWRK is a management collective who’s roster currently includes A-Trak, Animal Collective, Dillon Francis, Diplo, Major Lazer, Sturgill Simpson, Turnpike Troubadours, TV On The Radio, and many other accomplished artists. In addition to TMWRK Management, Andrew also heads TMWRK Records which includes a curated roster of artists across genres and is a partner in Canopy Media Group who manages an array of writers, directors, and actors.
Two-time Grammy winner Joan Jett is an originator, an innovator and a visionary. As the leader of the hard-rocking Blackhearts, with whom she has become a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, she’s had eight platinum and gold albums and nine Top 40 singles including the classics “Bad Reputation,” “I Love Rock n’ Roll, “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and “Crimson and Clover.” Her independent record label Blackheart was founded in 1980 and is the longest running Indie label. Jett was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 CLIO Music Awards. She continues to be a figurehead for several generations of female rockers.
John Merchant is Department of Recording Industry Chair at Middle Tennessee State University. He also produces new and established musical acts in his studio, RedDoor. John has worked with musicians, songwriters, producers and engineers including the Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Toni Braxton, Celine Dion and Lenny Kravitz as well as producers Arif Mardin, David Foster, Russ Titelman, Raphael Saadiq, Phil Ramone and many others. In 2008, John was nominated for a Grammy as producer for the artist Mika. Recently, he produced a top-selling DVD on mixing techniques for Multiplatinum ProTools.
Steve Miller has been an enlivening presence on the American music scene for more than half a century. He also holds the distinction of being Les Paul’s godson. His music has sold tens of millions of records and has been streamed several billion times. Miller’s Greatest Hits (1974-78) received the RIAA Diamond Award with sales of more than fifteen million copies. It is among the top selling 25 albums of all time. Miller was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016 and has been elected into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2022.
Jeff Peretz, Arts Professor and the Musical Director and coordinator of Songwriting at The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music/NYU. He is also a multi-instrumentalist/producer and has written music for television, film & stage. He has recorded and/or performed with everyone from Mark Ronson to Stanley Clarke. His books include Zen and the Art of Guitar, Guitar Atlas: Cuba and Guitar Atlas: The Middle East. As “America’s Pop Musicologist,” he has appeared on several national television programs and been featured in numerous publications as an expert in music theory and music copyright. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Third Street Music Settlement School in lower Manhattan.
Nile Rodgers, award-winning guitarist, singer/songwriter, record producer and arranger is also a recipient of the Les Paul Spirit Award and the co-founder of Chic. He has written produced and performed on albums that have sold more than 500 million units and 75 million singles worldwide. He is a multi-Grammy award winner and has been honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Award for Musical Excellence.
Celebrated American rock icon Richie Sambora has become known throughout his remarkable 30-year career for his raw vocals, legendary rock anthem songwriting and world-class guitar playing. As both an acclaimed solo artist and founding member of multi-platinum, Grammy winning band Bon Jovi, Richie has sold over 150 albums worldwide and has co-written over 20 of top 40 hits and 11 top 10 hits including “Livin’ On a Prayer,” “You Give Love a Bad Name,” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.” He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009, Europe’s Music Hall of Fame in 2006, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 among many other awards. Richie is continuously lending his vocals to support important causes that resonate deeply with him including the environment, disease/illness, homelessness, hunger and music education.
Guitar legend Slash who gained worldwide fame as the lead guitarist for rock band “Guns n’ Roses” was also one of Les Paul’s great friends. During his time with the band, Slash also formed a side project- Slash’s Snakepit and is known for releasing unrelenting tears of rock n’ roll on the guitar. Named one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Slash is also a Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee. He currently released “The Conspirators 4” with Myles Kennedy and his own band. You’d often find Slash sitting in with Les Paul during one of his Monday night shows at the Iridium Club in New York’s Time Square.
One of the most prolific and sought after producers in music, Don Was first emerged as one-half of the satiric R&B duo Was (Not Was), a project originally spotlighting luminaries from Motor City. As a producer, he first gained wide notice for his work on Bonnie Raitt’s revitalized 1989 effort Nick of Time. In the wake of that he began working with everyone from Bob Dylan to Paula Abdul to the Rolling Stones to Willie Nelson. He also produced the B-52’s 1989 album Cosmic Thing which included their smash hit “Love Shack.” From 2009-2012, Was hosted a weekly radio show on Sirius XM radio’s Outlaw Country Channel called “The Motor City Hayride” and later in 2011 appeared in several episodes of American Idol as a contestant producer. He was appointed president of jazz record label Blue Note Records in 2012 and in 2014 won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction for his work on the CBS TV Special “The Beatles: The Night that Changed America.” Was also joined former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir in the Fall of 2018 for a North American tour, led the house band that performed a concert celebrating Willie Nelson at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington DC and is the recipient of the 2016 Les Paul Innovation Award presented at the NAMM TEC Awards.
More information on the Les Paul Advisory Council can be found at the new official Les Paul website at www.les-paul.com
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ABOUT THE LES PAUL FOUNDATION
The Les Paul Foundation inspires innovation and creative thinking by sharing the legacy of Les Paul through support of music education, recording, innovation and medical research related to hearing. The Les Paul Foundation is an approved IRC 501 ( c ) 3 organization and has awarded over $4,000,000 to non-profit organizations. For more information go to the official Les Paul website at www.les-paul.com
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