Woolly Mammoth Sound marks 20 years

Kenyon King
Dave Minehan, owner of Woolly Mammoth Sound in Waltham.

For nearly four decades, musician and songwriter Dave Minehan of Arlington has rocked audiences worldwide as a founding member of the Neighborhoods and a touring guitarist with the Replacements, Paul Westerberg, and Aerosmith.

On Jan. 1, 2018, the Boston Music Awards Hall of Famer will celebrate his 20th year in business helping fellow musicians achieve their own best sound as owner, producer, engineer, arranger, and session musician for Woolly Mammoth Sound in Waltham.

The full-service music production, recording, mixing, and composing studio has been the creative center for hundreds of artists. Comfort measures include an array of seating, wi-fi, stereo, fully stocked kitchenette, and a futon and washer and dryer for musicians stopping by mid-tour.

Q. What differentiates Woolly Mammoth?


A. I have extremely high-end recording equipment, spacious rooms that sound great, and a museum collection of instruments that I’ve been acquiring since 1979. Most studios feel like a cramped, dark bunker and you can’t wait to get out, but this one has fantastic ambiance and actual sunlight. When everything is set up and rolling, it’s pretty special.

Q. Do some musicians seek your expertise as much as equipment?

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A. I’m happy to share trade secrets with those who want to better themselves because I want them to succeed. The musicians I work with want to make art, even though they’re going to have to give it away because people aren’t buying music. All I want to hear is that I helped a band sound like themselves, and appeal to their fans and maybe some newbies out there. That’s success to me.

Q. How else has the industry changed?

A. Technology is so ubiquitous now that anyone can make music on a computer. If you listen to the top 40, there’s barely anything real except for the vocals. Hopefully the pendulum will swing back for those of us who like hearing musicians make music with their hands on wood and strings.

Q. Does working here make you nostalgic for life on tour?

A. I love being knee-deep in music without having to travel 500 miles every day. The music coming through these speakers blows my mind on a regular basis, and I hum the tunes all the next day. I’m here 50 hours a week as a general rule, but I go home happy.

Woolly Mammoth Sound is located at 180 Elm St. in Waltham. For more information, visit woollymammothsound.org.

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at cindycantrell20@gmail.com.