Joseph Michael Palmaccio, age 56, died unexpectedly on October 16 while recovering from injuries following a motorcycle accident.
Joe was Nominated for six Grammy Awards and won four in the Best Historical Album category for Mastering: 1998’s The Complete Hank Williams, 2003’s Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey, 2004’s Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues 1945-1970, and 2014’s Bill Withers: The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums. He was also recognized by the W.C. Handy Blues Awards, the 2019 Latin Grammys for Toda Pasa (Juan Delgado), and a 2016 Hungarian gold record for Rackák Menni Amerika.
Joe began his formal musical training at age eight outside of Chicago. First as a trumpet player and later as a drummer. His love of music led him to record his first demo at Hedden West Studios as a teenager. While a student at Libertyville High School, a bright future was hinted at as he shared the stage with schoolmate Tom Morello and later played in a rival band, Destiny. Morello recently shared with Howard Stern on-air his good-natured envy of the band.
After completing a B.A. from Indiana University in Telecommunications with a minor in Religious Studies, he went on to work as a mastering engineer for Bonneville Broadcasting (1988–1990), PolyGram Records (1990–1995), Sterling Sound (1995–1998), and Sony Music Studios (1999–2006), before opening his own studio The Place…For Mastering in Nashville.
Joe left New York for Nashville to pursue the dream of building a studio to his exacting specifications and, more importantly, to have more time to focus on his family. The move also allowed him to curate his prized drum collection and play with wonderful old and new friends in the area. Being an adjunct graduate professor at Belmont fed his soul as he served upcoming engineering talent. Upon his death, Joe was the president and chief engineer of The Place…for Mastering in Nashville where he enjoyed the variety of working with major labels and independent artists in both digital and analog formats. Concurrently, he rejoined Sony Music in Nashville during 2019 where he enjoyed making new dear friends.
Joe has over 600 mastering credits across diverse genres, but his work often featured rock and R&B. Artists include: Donald Fagan, Michael Jackson, KISS, Jeff Buckley, Wu-Tang Clan, Elton John, Patti LaBelle, Eric Clapton, Taylor Swift, James Brown, Phoebe Snow, Nas, Soul Asylum, Johnny Cash, ELO, Godsmack, Eagles, ACDC, John Mayer, Heart, Jerry Lee Lewis, Steve Winwood, Luther Vandross, Laura Nyro, Tito Puente, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Liza Minelli, Mahalia Jackson, Village People, Tony Bennett, and Tower of Power.
Joe was so much more than mastering. He was an innovator, entrepreneur, collaborator, educator, mentor, musician, host, and dedicated family man. PapaJo, as many knew him, had wisdom beyond his years and was beloved by all who knew him.
In addition to uncountable friends, colleagues, and audiophiles, Joe leaves behind his wife, Alex. Rockafellar; children Maddie and Michael Palmaccio; sisters Marguerite (Dan) Dadabo, Linda (Bruce) Becker, and Janet Palmaccio. Aunt Margaret Jodice and many nephews and nieces also mourn his loss.
A Celebration of Joe’s Life will be held on Saturday, October 23 at the Vanderbilt Dyer observatory from 3-6pm. 1000 Oman Drive, Brentwood TN. Please register if you plan to attend: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/joe-palmaccio-memorial-and-celebration-of-life-tickets-194742809987
LINK to discography for Joseph M. Palmaccio: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/joseph-m-palmaccio-mn0000270403
LINK to discography for Joe Palmaccio: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/joe-palmaccio-mn0002408120
LINK to Tom Morello interview on Howard Stern where he describes his rivalry with Joe’s High School band Destiny. Joe also played with Tom in a band one summer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F88TLQH2qo
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