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Panel Disscussion for “The Inner Ear of Don Zientara”

September 26, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


About the Book:
In the late 1970s, Don Zientara—a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War—founded Inner Ear Studio in the basement of his home in Arlington, VA, using the electronics training he received from the army. Inner Ear remained in Don’s basement until its 1990 relocation to a larger space on South Oakland Street. Along the way, Inner Ear became best known for recording iconic DC punk musicians including Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Bikini Kill, Rites of Spring, Mary Timony, and Fugazi.

Composed by photographer Antonia Tricarico, The Inner Ear of Don Zientara is an oral history of not just Inner Ear’s recordings, but the role that Don played in creating one of the most welcoming and nurturing recording studios the world over. Alongside 250 photographs, this volume includes testimonials from members of Fugazi, Scream, Fire Party, Shudder to Think, Jawbox, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Dismemberment Plan, as well as musicians like Kathleen Hanna and Henry Rollins, among other notables.

In addition to DC punk bands, Don also recorded many other styles and genres, including Celtic folk tunes, harp music, Russian balalaika groups, political advertisers, and choral singers. The studio was also featured on Dave Grohl’s Sonic Highways television mini-series. The Inner Ear of Don Zientara pays tribute to this iconic studio, celebrating the man at the heart of this remarkable space.

“If Memphis rock and roll had Sun Studio, and the Beatles had London’s Abbey Road, DC punk had Inner Ear.” —Washington Post

“Don Zientara had a very gentle approach, and everything he did was perfect. He did not assert himself on the music, but rather had the sensitivity to respond to the vibe of the songs. I wanted everything to sound very intimate, with minimal compression and no reverb, and Don was comfortable with that. More importantly, he knew how to make those restrictions sound good.” —John Frusciante, Red Hot Chili Peppers

About the Panel:
Antonia Tricarico has been taking photos since 1997. She worked as a photo archivist for Lucian Perkins (a Washington Post Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer) and has collaborated with Tolotta Records, Dischord Records, Kill Rock Stars, and Youth Action Research Group. Her work can be found in private collections, in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, and in the permanent punk and go-go music exhibit and archive of the Special Collections Division of the District of Columbia, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Her photos have appeared in Photo Review, Guitar World, Kerrang!, Razorcake, and Fretboard Journal. She is the creator of two books, both published by Akashic Books: Frame of Mind: Punk Photos and Essay from Washington, DC, and Beyond, 1997-2017 and The Inner Ear of Don Zientara: A Half Century of Recording in One of America’s Most Innovative Studios, through the Voices of Musicians.

Don Zientara is an American record producer and musician. He owns and runs Inner Ear Studios in Arlington, Virginia, located just outside Washington D.C., and is most widely known for his production work with Fugazi, Minor Threat and various other Dischord Records artists. Zientara released four albums of music on the Northern Liberties label. Music by Zientara has also been released by Crooked Beat Records in Alexandria, Virginia. He contributed four songs to A Bang On The Ear, released in 2016. He also contributed to Recutting The Crap, Volume One, a tribute to the Clash.

Joe Lally has played bass in Fugazi since the band’s inception in 1987. In 2003, the members of Fugazi decided to take an indefinite hiatus from recording and performing. Since that time, Joe has continued to write and perform solo material, accompanied by various musicians and friends. Joe has released three solo albums — “There to Here” (2006), “Nothing is Underrated” (2007), and “Why Should I Get Used To It” (2011).

Brendan Canty is a musician, composer, producer and filmmaker, best known as the drummer for the band Fugazi. In 2007, Stylus Magazine ranked Canty at No. 29 on the list of “50 Greatest Rock Drummers”.


September 26, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


People’s Book
7014-A Westmoreland Ave.
Takoma Park, MD 20912 United States
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