Val Garay, Laguna Beach-Based Superproducer

What's humming through the skulls of Orange County?

Photo by Jeanne Rice> Koo's Art Cafe and Linda's Doll Hut. "My favorite places to see shows live, and two great places to discover fresh new talent."

> The Beatles, "I Want to Hold Your Hand." "That song changed my life. I was going to college at Stanford, studying to be a doctor, when I heard this song one night in the car coming home from a study hall. I left school a week later and started a band."

> The Sound Factory in Hollywood. "I made a lot of great records there before I built my studio in Sherman Oaks in 1980. I recently cut the tracks for the new Reel Big Fish CD I'm producing there, and it still sounds the same: amazing."

> Hit Men by Frederic Dannen. "I think the David Geffens and Clive Davises of the world are becoming extinct, and that's what this book is all about—the music industry. It's become a totally Wall Street-driven business, all about bottom lines and bean counters. How else to describe it when a person like Edgar Bronfman Jr. [the president and CEO of Seagram, which owns PolyGram] is one of the principal players and no one even knows him?"

> Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim. "Graham Nash got me the tickets, and I couldn't believe how amazing they were and how great Neil Young is with those three other guys singing backups on his old songs. The guitar interplay between Young and Stills took me back to the Buffalo Springfield days. Amazing and timeless."

> Launch.com. "A great online magazine. I've discovered a lot of music there, and I can instantly watch anybody's video and rate new music as well. If I don't like something, I can score it low and never have to hear it again."

> Milano Music in Orange. "A great rehearsal studio with great vintage games and a bar next door. Many great young bands have either been discovered or rehearsed there, most recently a band called Square, which I'm sure you'll hear more about in the future. It's quite a scene outside in the parking lot on Friday nights."

 
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