Jim Wheeler

Here I am at my first studio gig: rock'n'roll recording engineer

Here I am at my first studio gig: rock’n’roll recording engineer

I started out as a rock’n’roll sound engineer at Cavern Sound, Kansas City’s first 16-track recording studio (remember analog tape?). Some of the artists recorded were Danny Cox, Brewer and Shipley, James Brown and Groucho Marx. I also freelanced for the Record Plant-Sausalito 16-track truck, recording dozens of shows at the Cowtown Ballroom.

Denver Sound, Applewood Studios and Caribou Ranch were my next stops. While in Colorado, I worked with acts like Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Doug Kershaw, John Hartford and Jerry Jeff Walker’s band The Lost Gonzos.

From there, I moved on to Sound Recorders in Omaha. My engineering credits in Nebraska included the Kris Kristofferson / Ali McGraw movie “Convoy” with C.W.McCall, and “Fresh Aire” with Chip Davis. Omaha saw my first exposure to ad agency work. I learned that a VO was not a whiskey-drink, and that a needledrop was not hard-core drug related.

Dick Marx studios in Chicago was my next stop, recording ad music for accounts like United Airlines, Pillsbury, Kellogg’s and Oldsmobile. I also cut demos for 17-year-old Richard Marx, Dick’s son, before his pop music career began.

I returned to Kansas City in 1980 to build and manage Sound Recorders’ new studios on State Line, in the same building where Substation K is now located. After that gig ended in the mid eighties, I started my own studio across the street, Wheeler Audio Associates. That operation continues to this day, with a new crew and new facility. Gone are the days of working in dimly-lit studios with dungeon-like atmosphere — or caves. It’s great to be in the daylight.

Hobbies include scuba diving, motorcycling and rock’n’roll in combination with digital photography.

Check out my personal website to see pictures of my scuba diving, and motorcycling adventures!

I have mentored or employed several members of KC’s pro-audio community. Sound has been my passion for some time now, but never more strongly than today. Cool staff… cool digs… cool tools … life is good!