Bruce Nazarian (1949-2015) was a funk and rock musician, recording artist and music producer from Detroit.
Nazarian was an Apple Certified Trainer and Certified Pro on various professional application, including DVD Studio Pro and Logic Pro. He authored several books on music and technology and served as President of Digital Media Consulting Group, Inc. as well as TDG Foundation, Inc., his non-profit charitable foundation. Nazarian was also President of The IDMA (International Digital Media Alliance) formerly known as the DVDA (DVD Association).
Bruce Nazarian began his musical career as a singer at the age of four, performing regularly on local television (WXYZ-TV) and in USO musical variety shows in his hometown of Detroit. During his grade school years, he studied piano and vocals, and at age 13 took up tenor saxophone and played in the Mackenzie High School band under director Craig Strain. Later, he also sang in the Mackenzie High School Choir, under the direction of Claire Weimer. At age 17 he entered Wayne State University(WSU) for four years of musical study and began playing professionally with local artists and bands in Detroit.
In 1968, he toured Europe with the Wayne State University Men's Glee Club, under the direction of Dr. Harry Langsford, and participated in the 1968 International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, where the WSU Men's Glee Club won first prize.
Also during his college years, he began a career as a studio musician at the urging of recording engineer Jim Bruzzese, owner of Detroit's Pampa Studios. He quickly became a "first-call" guitarist in the Detroit recording scene, working with diverse and influential producers like Don Davis, Don Was, and George Clinton, recording engineers Ken Sands and Jim Vitti, and R&B musicians like Earl Van Dyke, Richard "Pistol" Allen, Uriel Jones, Robert White and many other members of the Motown studio band the Funk Brothers. While doing sessions, Nazarian also maintained an active presence on the local music scene, playing with such diverse musical units as the Austin-Moro Big Band, and even the Glenn Miller Orchestra. All these musical influences formed part of his overall versatility towards music creation. Funk and R&B, however, took hold of a special place in his musical arsenal, as later musical endeavours would reveal.
Shortly after completing college, Bruce began touring and recording with playing with many local and national acts, including Brian Hyland. In the early 70's, he recorded and toured with Invictus Records' "The 8th Day", and was lead singer on "If I Could Just See The Light", their third national single. The 8th Day was a unique act for that period, with half the members white, and half black. During that period he also performed with "The 8th Day" at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, a unique experience for a white musician of that time period.
In 1975, a chance meeting with band manager Al Nalli would lead to his joining Brownsville Station (of "Smokin' in the Boys' Room" fame). During the next few years, he participated in countless live shows and recorded several albums with Brownsville, including "Brownsville Station" aka 'The Red Album' (recorded at Cenacle in Mt. Kisco New York, during which "Martian Boogie" was created), and "Air Special" for Epic, which was to be Brownsville's last recorded work. He remained a member of Brownsville Station until May, 1979.
Around 1979, Nazarian formed "The A-Band", a group of Detroit studio musicians who performed casually in the Detroit area. The A-Band became the basis of a new band, "The Automatix", a contemporary rock/pop band that featured close friend and session veteran Jerry Jones on drums, local vocal legend Shaun Murphy on lead vocals, Luis Resto (of Was (Not Was) and, later, Eminem fame) on keyboards, and funk bassist Hugh Hitchcock. The Automatix changed personnel a few times along the way, and by the time they landed a recording contract with MCA in 1982, the lineup included guitarist Randy Jacobs and bassist Nolan Mendenhall, along with keyboardist Jim Noel. The Automatix' debut LP "Night Rider", released in 1983, was quickly heading up the AOR charts when the band found themselves with a dilemma: Incoming MCA President Irving Azoff had reduced MCA's artist roster from 42 acts to 7, and by the end of 1983, the Automatix were without a label and disheartened - disbanding shortly thereafter. The band recorded its namesake LP in a multitrack studio created by Nazarian for the project, Gnome Sound Studios.