Mooka (Mark E. Rennick)

          Mooka at the board

Born 1952, April 5, Stark County Illinois. Attended Military School. Student of political science, history. A voracious reader, Mark "Mooka" Rennick was born near Galesburg, Illinois, site of the Oct 7, 1858, Lincoln-Douglas debate. “I want to be an artist. Period," says Rennick, who in his limited spare time plays in a politically charged spoken-word ensemble, The Abolitionists, and plays bass in various local bands. After a short stint in Boulder, CO in the early 70s, he established musical headquarters in Cotati, CA. The roar of a chainsaw marked the genesis of his legendary Prairie Sun Recording Studio, founded in 1978 when Rennick bore a tremendous hole through the living room wall of his rental house. "We needed a control-room window," recalls Mooka, who at the time was studying East Indian music at Sonoma State.

          Mooka on bass

In 1981, after being “encouraged” to relocate by beleaguered neighbors, Rennick teamed with Clifton Buck-Kaufman, an art collector and co-founder of the annual Cotati Accordion Festival, and moved Prairie Sun to an old 12-acre chicken ranch just off west Highway 116. Named for the Prairie Grass Restoration Project in Rennick's native Illinois, the facility has accomplished the difficult task of appealing to local bands with small budgets and little experience while garnering established national acts via industry word-of-mouth.

          Mooka with Ramblin’ Jack Eliot at Prairie Sun

Now in his third decade of operation, the studio is known as a residential recording facility with a technical bent toward vintage analog-recording equipment as well as state-of-the-art digital technology. Van Morrison, Greg Allman, Kate Wolf, Mickey Hart, Primus, Faith No More, the Melvins, Ramblin’ Jack Eliot, and surf music creator Dick Dale all have recorded at Prairie Sun or used its post-production facilities. Producer and engineer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, Led Zeppelin) does work at PSR, as does Sonoma County artist Tom Waits, whose Bone Machine CD, winner of the 1992 Grammy for Best Alternative release, was co-produced by Waits and his wife, Kathleen Brennan, entirely at Prairie Sun.


Mooka Online

Prairie Sun Recording Studio hompage

Prairie Sun Recording Studio MySpace page

Mooka at Guitar Nine Records

The Abolitionists