Carbon-Neutral Rock

Anne Tropeano, manager for San Diego roots rockers Tapwater, recounts a stroke of good luck the band had while on a recent five-month tour:

"We were touring through Georgia and someone recommended a booking agency called Degy to me," wrote Tropeano in an e-mail. "I contacted the agency and a guy named Chad agreed to accept a press kit in person from us. We were excited and decided to bring our acoustic instruments in to serenade him. We drove out to the office, only I did not realize that the booking agency rented space from Tree Sound Studios.

"When we walked in, we were blown away. The place was gorgeous. Gold records from big names like Elton John, Whitney Houston, REM, Sevendust, and Outkast hung on the walls.... We played it off and asked for Chad. When he came down I introduced myself, handed him the press kit, and told him we'd like to give him a taste of some live music, if he didn't mind. He said, 'Sure, why don't you come back here.' So he took us into the next room, and our jaws hit the ground.

"It had a living room with pool table, a totally decked-out kitchen with granite counters, beautiful wood cabinets -- the place was awesome. He offered us some beer from the local SweetWater brewery, which they kept on tap. Chad said, 'Hey, wait a second, let me get [studio owner] Paul [Diaz], he'll want to hear this.' We looked at each other [thinking] who's Paul?

"They both came back, everyone introduced themselves, and then Paul said, 'Hey let's go into the studio, it will be more comfortable there.' He took us through this gorgeous hallway and into the studio. And again, we couldn't believe what we saw: a giant recording room with a bazillion-channel mixer, all hardwood fixtures, [and a] grand piano off to the side.

"We found out later this was voted the number-one recording studio in 2005 [and] is entirely carbon neutral and draws half its power from methane gas created at a local landfill.... We took a deep breath, smiled, and played our best 'Spring Jubilee.' Apparently they dug it because Paul said, 'Hey, I just got this new microphone. Would you like to get some of this down? I need to break it in for my trip next week.' We ended up staying around five hours, getting about eight or nine songs down. It's a one-track recording, and he mixed us by placing the guys certain distances from the mike. At one point, Paul said, 'I'd be happy to give you this recording. You can use it for whatever you want...just put my name on it.' "

On January 27, Tapwater plays at Pete's Place in La Mesa.

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