The Right Time and Place
Toby Scott developed an interest in music at an early age after experiencing Elvis Presley perform a show on live television. In high school, Toby began playing guitar and piano, and he later joined a rock band as bass player on the local garage and party circuit. He became a music major in college while continuing to play in bands and later in an acoustic guitar trio. During this period, he started managing and producing several local bands, acquiring contracts and recording acts in studios. This exposure to the world of professional recording piqued his interest in the art form and he soon created a home studio.
Toby moved to Los Angeles in 1975 and following two brief courses in an early recording school, he was offered work as an assistant at Clover Studios in Hollywood. Clover was a one-room facility with a history of great artists. Musicians loved to work at the studio for its wonderful “vibe” and recording capabilities. The session bands working at the facility included: Toto, Attitudes, The Yellowjackets, Little Feat, Booker T and the MG’s, and Jim Horn’s horn section. Within weeks of starting the job, Toby was recording artists, as well as handling a variety of other duties. After two years, he had become the Chief Engineer and Co-Manager of Clover and he was engineering for an increasingly robust client roster. He maintained Clover’s reputation for high quality recording while exploring cutting edge technology. He was able to experiment with both traditional and innovative equipment and techniques learned from the producers and other engineers on the sessions. Among Toby’s notable mentors were Tom Dowd, Steve Cropper, Steve Smith, Phil Brown, and Keith Olsen. After many years at Clover, Toby found himself working on numerous projects that involved recording in other studios. He enjoyed experiencing multiple environments and differing equipment arrays. The quantity of his independent work had grown, and he moved on from his role as Clover’s Chief Engineer.
While working at Clover, Toby’s career took a monumental turn when he received a request for a job by one of his favorite clients, Bruce Springsteen. They had met in 1978 during the completion of Bruce’s album “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” when Toby helped remix a track at Clover and aided in the final sequencing process.
Bruce returned in 1980, seeking a Mixing Engineer for the “River” album. With Bruce’s Co-Producer, Chuck Plotkin, Toby mixed 25 songs for the album and the “B” sides. When the album was released, Bruce asked Toby to perform the remote recording for 30 shows during the course of his US tour. In 1982, after mixing an album Bruce had produced for Gary US Bonds, Toby was asked if he would relocate to NYC for work on the next record. He consented, and worked during the day on Steven Van Zandt’s first album “Men Without Women” as Engineer/Mixer at the Hit Factory while working nights at the Power Station recording “Born In The USA” and “Nebraska” for Springsteen. During and after that period he also worked with other artists and producers in the New York area, diversifying his experience while gaining knowledge of dance and electronic music. After a couple of years of sustaining an expanding workload, Toby and Springsteen made an arrangement for Toby’s engineering availability to be prioritized for Bruce, while still allowing for outside work with other artists.
In 1987, work began on the album “Tunnel Of Love” in a home studio that Toby designed and built. For that album, Springsteen played all the instruments except for drums, which Toby programmed. The E Street Band later replaced a few parts where necessary. For the ensuing recording of the tour, Toby designed a mobile recording studio that could travel in road cases and could also be set up at venues or in a home facility. That studio and its subsequent incarnation was for many years the technical basis for albums recorded at home. For the duration of their close working relationship, Toby’s role with Bruce evolved to include many other areas of the recording process. Toby oversaw the mastering and manufacture of records, the archiving of Bruce’s entire audio and video catalog and administered Bruce’s Archive Concert Series for download from his website.
In late 2017, with their mutual agreement, Toby parted company with Springsteen. Currently, Toby has reignited his role as a freelance Engineer and Mixer. Working primarily out of his studio in Montana, he has recently mixed and recorded a number of artists in country, rock, pop, jazz and classical. He is currently involved in a film-scoring project that is soon to be completed at Skywalker Ranch.