Since Elvis moved like Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show, rock 'n' roll has played a key role in widening the cultural gulf between parents and their kids. Producer Nick Raskulinecz wouldn't know from that, though: As a music-obsessed teenager growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee, he used to bond with his mother over their mutual love of rock, metal and even prog albums.
“My mom had great taste in music," Raskulinecz says. "She and her friends would play Rush and Yes and all kinds of cool bands. It was awesome having a mother who loved music. Anytime she went to the record store to buy a couple of albums, she'd get some for me, too."
In the early '80s, Raskulinecz developed a particular fondness for glam metal ("great guitar players, killer tones"). He cites Ratt's 1983 debut, Out Of The Cellar, as the first album that made him appreciate the role that a producer plays in crafting sounds. "Beau Hill produced that album," he recalls, "and he did a lot of cool things that were probably very innovative at the time, all of these backwards effects and reverbs. There's even Simmons Drums on the record. My ears definitely perked up."
Since he made his first big splash as a producer, manning the board for the Foo Fighters' One By One in 2002, Raskulinecz has racked up an impressive list of credits: Alice In Chains, Stone Sour, Evanescence, the Deftones and, of course, his childhood heroes, Rush. Right from the start, however, his production ethos was already fully formed: "I want to make records that I'd actually listen to," he explains. "I'm as much a fan as I am a producer. The experience of putting an album on in your car and just wanting to drive to it for hours and hours – that's what I want to capture. Those are my favorite kinds of records."
On the following pages, Raskulinecz runs down 10 albums (well, 17, if you count multiples by Rush) that he's logged a lot of miles listening to. Ranked in order, here's his 10 Essential Rock Records.