The TRCPG legacy
The TRC Production Group (TRCPG) was formed even before the studios opened. The first projects were singles for Indiana rock groups, recorded in the same garage studio where Reformation’s “Without You” had been cut. This is the second one, recorded and released in 1972.
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From 1973 on, TRCPG produced hundreds of “jingles” and film sound tracks, helping to develop a strong cadre of session musicians, many from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and others from local bands. The theory at TRCPG was that commercial music should be as appealing as the music the target market preferred. It was not uncommon to produce rock/pop, easy listening, and country versions for a single client.
TRCPG, predominantly Gary Schatzlein, also produced a number of regional and national records for Polydor, United Artists, and their own TRC label. Artists included Peddler, Krystof, Starkravin, and Larry Crane.
Later, the group produced original music for trade shows for Hampton Inn (Promus Hotels later sold to Hilton), Eli Lilly (Prozac) and Resort Condominiums International (RCI), among others, and music for some independent feature films.
Gary Schatzlein produced the self-titled debut LP "Peddler" for Carl Davis at UA Chi-Sound in 1976. Here's the single from the album.
"Blinded By Love" by Peddler 1977
Discovered by Gary Schatzlein, First Rush was signed in 1978 by Polydor, who changed the name to Starkravin'. This is their first single, produced by Gary. We thought the master tapes were lost, but Mark Hicks sent us a copy that we baked and transferred. The lead singer slips sharp here and there, but this was way before Auto-tune.
"Can’t Wait" by Starkravin' 1978
Polish rock star Krystof Krawczyk came to the United States in 1980 to record the album "From a Different Place" at TRC. The single from this album, “Solidarity,” became the anthem of the Polish revolution lead by Lech Walesa.
“Solidarity” by Krystof 1980
Larry Crane toured and recorded as lead guitarist with John Mellencamp for many years. In Larry’s first, self-titled, solo album he applied his own songwriting, voice and interpretations to the “southern Indiana style” he and John had previously explored together. Gary Schatzlein was executive producer.
"Independence Day" by Larry Crane
Guaranteeing the Future – Hampton InnTRCPG produced a lot of music for film and for trade shows, including a decade's worth for Hampton Inn. In Mike Schatzlein's favorite from that library, franchisees are encouraged to "Guarantee the Future" for travelers and for themselves. The chain is "off to foreign shores" with a global expansion.
This cut was recorded on 24-track tape at TRC Indianapolis in 2000 and remixed by Mike Schatzlein at TRC Nashville in 2016. In many ways, it best exemplifies the quality of TRCPG's work.
"Guaranteeing the Future"
PromusTrade show tracks for Promus Hotels.
"Power of the Promus" 1996
"Share the Vision" 1997
Mike, Gary & John
Many people contributed to the hundreds of TRCPG productions, but the constants over the first 20 years were Mike and Gary Schatzlein, and John Cascella. All three wrote, arranged, produced, and performed, and the brothers also served on occasion as engineers.
Gary played guitar and bass, and sang. Mike played keyboards and trumpet, and sang. John was a supremely talented musician, the best of the three at composing and arranging, and a wizard on keyboards, sax and accordion. He recorded and toured with John Mellencamp when not working with TRCPG. The Indiana music world mourned his untimely death in 1992, and Mellencamp dedicated the “Human Wheels” album to John.
Today, the sole surviving member of TRCPG is Mike Schatzlein, now also sole owner of TRC Studios. He has participated in the design and construction of half a dozen studios. He can tweak a 24-track tape machine, and is a beta tester for the Avid S6 control surface. He was never more than an average guitar player, but keeps trying. The years have taken their toll on his voice and trumpet playing, but he remains facile on drums and keyboards. His passion has always been producing and remix engineering, the focus of TRC today. Here's Mike and Jason Harris (guitars) in a 2018 cover of a 1971 Bachman/Cummings tune.
No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature
The Guess Who were signed with RCA in 1969, the same time as The Chosen Few (who later, as Faith, recorded at TRC). This song was on their first album, and was covered by Reformation in live performances soon after its release. Here's Reformation at TRC in 2018.