Howard Benson

born in in Havertown, PA, United States

Howard Benson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Howard Benson

Howard Benson is a music producer.[1]

Life and career

Early years

Howard Benson began playing keyboards in rock bands at the age of 13 and learned music arrangement intuitively from the experience.[2] He attended college at Drexel University and studied engineering. During his years at Drexel, Benson took a year off and studied composition at the Philadelphia College for Performing Arts before graduating from Drexel with a degree in materials engineering. After graduation he moved to Los Angeles and worked for Garrett AiResearch, where he worked on aircraft such as the C-5s and F-18s.[3] At that time he regularly played with his band in small Hollywood clubs and when his band finally went into the studio with a producer, he knew right away that producing was what he wanted to do.[4]

His breakthrough came with the production of two albums for hardcore punk band T.S.O.L. (Revenge (1986) and Hit and Run (1987)), but the first really big record he produced was Bang Tango's Psycho Café in 1989.[5]

Major Label work

Benson states that discovering Pro Tools, in 1998 while working with Sepultura, was a major turning point in his career. He was asked to produce P.O.D.'s The Fundamental Elements of Southtown album in 1999 which then became a platinum-selling record.[6] In 2000 Benson produced P.O.D.'s multi-platinum-selling Satellite at Bay 7 Studios and since then he has recorded numerous multi-platinum-selling albums there.

Over the next few years Benson produced records from acts like Cold, Crazy Town, P.O.D.'s follow-up to the multi-platinum-selling Satellite, Payable on Death, and really hit his stride with the influential record Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge from My Chemical Romance, after which, he produced numerous multi-platinum records such as The All-American Rejects, Hoobastank, Flyleaf, and Daughtry which has sold well over five million records worldwide, Seether, Third Day, Theory of a Deadman, Three Days Grace, Adam Lambert, Skillet, Kelly Clarkson, and Santana.

He now works exclusively at West Valley Studios, in Woodland Hills.[7]

Production style

"The main focus for me, you know, is on the songs, and the lyrics and the vocals. I don't let anybody in the studio when I'm doing vocals. I do them myself. No one's allowed in. That's like, to me, where I really get the impact of the record across. That's something that I didn't really pay attention to early on. I was like, 'Oh, I've got to get this great guitar sound, that's important.' It is important, but what's really important is the singing, the performance of the singer.[3]

He has also expressed the need for star power in an artist. "When I don't see that compelling element in an artist or an artist's message, that spark you need to be an entertainment star, it can be hard. You can fix everything else, but you can't fix that."[8]

Benson prefers to record in what he calls a parallel system: "We don't do one thing at a time. When we're doing our guitars and bass, a lot of the time we're recording vocals in another room at the same time. We constantly keep everybody working. So the songs are coming together all at once."[4] After the recording of an album he has usually brought everything to his home studio, Sparky Dark Studios, where he does the arrangements, adds harmonies and his own keyboard parts. His personnel consists of main engineer Mike Plotnikoff, who had previously worked at Little Mountain Sound Studios, Pro Tools engineer Paul Decarli, Guitar tech Mark Van Gool, who had worked for Dave Navarro, and second engineer Hatsukazu "Hatch" Inagaki[1]

Benson has exclaimed that he is happy to jump genres in his work, going from pop to really hard rock, and everything in between. "I worry about the songs only. If you worry too much about genres, it'll cause trouble as they change so much and so quickly."[6]


In 2010, he established and teaches the advanced production class at Drexel University's Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. In 2011, he established the Howard and Monica Benson Endowed Scholarship Fund for students enrolled at the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design.

A&R Background

Year Position Label
1994-1996 VP/Producer Giant Records
1999 Consultant/Producer Enclave Records
2001-2004 Executive VP, Sr. VP of A&R/Producer Elektra Records
2007present A&R/Production Consultant Warner Bros. Records


Howard Benson has been Grammy nominated twice for Producer of the Year:

2007 for producing Hoobastank (Every Man for Himself), Flyleaf (Flyleaf), Less Than Jake (In With the Out Crowd), Three Days Grace (One-X), Relient K (Five Score and Seven Years Ago), Papa Roach (The Paramour Sessions), Head Automatica (Popaganda) and Saosin (Saosin)

2008 for producing Daughtry (Daughtry), Mêlée (Devils & Angels), The Starting Line (Direction), and Sound the Alarm (Stay Inside)

Dove Award, 2009, Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year, Revelation by Third Day

Drexel 100 Medal, Class of 2011[9]


Year Artist Album
1986 T.S.O.L. Revenge
1988 Masi Downtown Dreamers
1989 Bang Tango Psycho Café
1989 Pretty Boy Floyd Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz
1989 Slammin' Watusis Kings of Noise
1990 Child's Play Rat Race
1990 Sanctuary Into the Mirror Black
1991 SouthGang Tainted Angel
1991 Tuff What Comes Around Goes Around
1992 Little Caesar Influence
1992 SouthGang Group Therapy
1993 Motörhead Bastards
1995 Kilgore Smudge Blue Collar Solitude
1995 Motörhead Sacrifice
1996 Motörhead Overnight Sensation
1997 Body Count Violent Demise: The Last Days
1997 dBh "Unwilling to Explain"
1998 Less Than Jake Hello Rockview
1998 Motörhead Snake Bite Love
1998 The New Meanies Three Seeds
1998 Sepultura Against
1998 Zebrahead Waste of Mind
1999 The Ernies Meson Ray
1999 P.O.D. The Fundamental Elements of Southtown
2000 PAX217 Twoseventeen
2000 Zebrahead Playmate of the Year
2001 Lucky Boys Confusion Throwing The Game
2001 P.O.D. Satellite
2001 Reveille Bleed The Sky
2002 Blindside Silence
2002 Crazy Town Darkhorse
2002 Cold Gone Away
2002 Skindred Babylon
2002 Switched Subject to Change
2002 The Buzzhorn Disconnected
2003 Adema Unstable
2003 Cold Year of the Spider
2003 Depswa Two Angels and a Dream
2003 Hoobastank The Reason
2003 P.O.D. Payable on Death
2003 Systematic Pleasure to Burn
2004 Blindside About a Burning Fire
2004 Grinspoon Thrills, Kills & Sunday Pills
2004 My Chemical Romance Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge
2004 Papa Roach Getting Away With Murder
2005 Flyleaf Flyleaf
2005 Theory of a Deadman Gasoline
2005 Acceptance Different
2005 The All-American Rejects Move Along
2005 The Used & My Chemical Romance Under Pressure
2005 The Starting Line Based on a True Story
2005 Fefe Dobson Don't Let It Go to Your Head
2005 Trust Company True Parallels
2005 Vendetta Red Sisters of the Red Death
2004-2006 Fefe Dobson Sunday Love
2006 Daughtry Daughtry
2006 Head Automatica Popaganda
2006 Hoobastank Every Man for Himself
2006 Mêlée The War (Alternate Version)
2006 My Chemical Romance Desert Song
2006 The Panic Channel Blue Bruises
2006 The Panic Channel Half Hearted
2006 Less Than Jake In With the Out Crowd
2006 Papa Roach The Paramour Sessions
2006 Saosin Saosin
2006 Three Days Grace One-X
2007 Apocalyptica Worlds Collide (Only "I Don't Care) "
2007 Mae Singularity
2007 Mêlée Devils & Angels
2007 Hawthorne Heights Come Back Home
2007 Relient K Five Score and Seven Years Ago
2007 Seether Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces
2007 Sound the Alarm Stay Inside
2007 The Starting Line Direction
2007-2008 Hawthorne Heights Fragile Future
2008 Gavin DeGraw Gavin DeGraw
2008 Meriwether Sons of Our Fathers
2008 The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Lonely Road
2008 Theory of a Deadman Scars & Souvenirs
2008 Third Day Revelation
2008 Zebrahead Phoenix
2009 Allison Iraheta Just Like You
2009 Creed Full Circle
2009 Daughtry Leave This Town
2009 Dead By Sunrise Out of Ashes
2009 Flyleaf Memento Mori
2009 Halestorm Halestorm
2009 Hoobastank For(N)ever
2009 Kelly Clarkson All I Ever Wanted
2009 Meg & Dia Here, Here and Here
2009 Orianthi Believe
2009 Single File Common Struggles
2009 Allison Iraheta Don't Waste The Pretty
2009 Chris Cornell Long Gone
2009 Skillet Awake
2009 Three Days Grace Life Starts Now
2009-2010 Fefe Dobson Joy
2009-2010 Hawthorne Heights Skeletons
2010 10 Years Feeding the Wolves
2010 Apocalyptica 7th Symphony ("Broken Pieces" and "Not Strong Enough" only)
2010 Ryan Star 11:59 ("Breathe" and "Start a Fire" only)
2010 The Maine Black & White
2010 Allstar Weekend Suddenly Yours
2011 3 Doors Down Time of My Life
2011 Art of Dying Vices and Virtues
2011 Blindside With Shivering Hearts We Wait
2011 Emphatic Damage
2011 Saliva Under Your Skin
2011 Theory of a Deadman The Truth Is...
2011 Black Stone Cherry Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
2011 Daughtry Break the Spell
2011 Kelly Clarkson Stronger
2012 Electric Touch Never Look Back
2012 Halestorm The Strange Case of...
2012 SafetySuit These Times
2012 P.O.D. Murdered Love
2012 Flyleaf New Horizons
2013 RED Release the Panic
2013 Skillet Rise
2013 We as Human We as Human


  1. 1.0 1.1 Interview, HitQuarters Jan 2006. Retrieved on Nov 3, 2012.
  2. [1] Hit Quarters, January 30, 2006
  3. 3.0 3.1 [2] Crusher Magazine, November 2004
  4. 4.0 4.1 Grammy-Nominated Producer Turns Tracks Into Gold Mix Online, Feb 1, 2007
  5. Feature "Howard Benson: Producer" Crusher Magazine; November 2004
  6. 6.0 6.1 [3], May 4, 2011
  7. (June 1, 2013). "Gear: Howard Benson's Round-the-Clock Rock". Billboard Magazine.
  8. [4] May 2012
  9. [5]
This page was last modified 09.03.2014 14:16:21

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