|HISTORY/BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: |
Damon Productions was founded in Edmonton in 1966 by Garry McDonall and Wally Petruk. McDonall and Petruk were members of the Edmonton-based rock band, The Nomads, and created the company as a means to create and promote their own music. The name “Damon” was selected as it is “Nomad” in reverse.
In 1968, McDonall, Petruk, and Nomads drummer Don Paches decided to expand the company by creating a recording studio. The three were joined by Petruk’s brother, Len Petruk, and Edmonton-based singer Robert Harlan Smith and the partnership founded Damon Studios in 1968.
Damon Studios was initially a 4-track recording operation but upgraded with an 8-track system in 1972. The studio eventually upgraded to 24-track recording and was the first recording studio in Canada to install the fully-computerized Neve 8108 sound board.
In addition to the recording studio, McDonall and Damon Productions also ran two record labels, Damon Records (focusing on country music) and Mustard (focusing on rock and popular music), as well as two music publishing companies, Pet-Mac and 3 P.M. These publishing concerns made Damon one of the largest music publishers in western Canada.
Over the course of its history, Damon recorded or released two double platinum, three platinum, and eight gold records. Some Damon artists include Tommy Banks, Tim Feehan, Randy Broadhead, Kennedy Jenson, Bob Ruzicka, and Donna Adams. Damon Studios also served as the recording facility for Garry Lee and the Showdown’s 1980 hit single, The Rodeo Song, and the Emeralds’ worldwide polka sensation, The Bird Dance.
Garry McDonall served as the President of Damon Productions from its inception in 1966 to his death in 2010, as well as being chief recording engineer. He was also a member of the Alberta Recording Industries Association (ARIA), serving two terms as president and various positions on the board since ARIA’s beginning in the early 1980s. McDonall was awarded the Heritage Award at the 2004 Western Canadian Music Industry Awards, honouring his lifelong career in the music industry.
Garry McDonall died on October 5, 2010 at the age of 72. After his death, Damon Productions and all of its subsidiaries ceased operations.