ARC music professor Kirt Shearer recognized for his contribution on commercially successful ’ 90s rock album

Shearer engineered and mixed ’ 90s rock band ‘Cake’s “Fashion Nugget” album


Album cover for Cake’s 1996 album, “Fashion Nuggets.” (Photo by Sony Entertainment)

American River College’s own Kirt Shearer, music department professor, was a speaker at Welcome to 1979 Studio’s annual recording summit held in Nashville, Tenn in November.

Shearer engineered and mixed the album, “Fashion Nugget,” for the rock band, Cake. The summit included a listening party for the 1996 album followed by a Q&A session with Shearer. 

The album contains the hit songs “Frank Sinatra,” “I Will Survive,” and the hit single, “The Distance.” In 1997, the song topped at No. 4 on the Billboard charts for alternative airplay and No. 35 for mainstream play.

Welcome to 1979 Studios, formerly a record pressing plant, is now a multifaceted recording studio located in Nashville, which is owned by Chris and Yoli Mara.

“I was very surprised to get a call from Chris a couple of months ago asking if I wanted to come back and be the Saturday night focus,” Shearer said.

The album also earned a double platinum certification for selling over 2 million copies while topping out at No. 38 on the Billboard 200 album chart. 

“They chose Cake, “Fashion Nugget,” which is hilarious because some of their other projects had been “Purple Reign” and “Dark Side of the Moon,” Shearer said. “It was fun. I had a great time doing it,” 

Jon Talbot, who is an instructional assistant at ARC, has worked with Shearer on various live sound and recording projects.  

“He also has a way of meeting students where they are at, and it really is most admirable. Kirt is the perfect marriage of musical skill, technical understanding, recording experience, and compassionate humanity,” Talbot said. “He is able to create a culture of openness and freedom to express oneself while exploring creative ideas in a safe and welcoming space.” 

Talbot and Shearer have worked alongside each other since 2009 when Shearer was the director of commercial music at Sacramento City College.

He uses my availability to the advantage of the students by including me in class-time activities that allow us to spread out into multiple spaces,” Talbot said.

The annual recording summit is an exclusive event, where Welcome to 1979 Studios only makes room for 60 attendees.

Shearer has piled up quite the resume, and not only in the recording studio with the albums he has mixed. He is an ARC alumni, formerly in charge of the audio department at SCC and he is also a former resident sound designer at ARC.

“He gives all the students the opportunity to build confidence in themselves by getting time to do what they really love, and use all the latest professional equipment with their own hands,” Talbot said.