Bad Sue Records

Bad Sue Records is a family business in every sense of the word. Operated by siblings Aaron, Alexa, and Matthew; Aaron’s wife Jackie; and mother Laurie, the label is named for maternal grandmother Susan Mae Balko—affectionately nicknamed "Bad Sue" for her fun-loving, down-to-earth personality. It was Bad Sue Balko who encouraged the Paolettas to seriously pursue their music, and Bad Sue Records and the family band, One Tap POP, are part of her legacy.

The label currently is home for two vocalists and a jazz group, as well as for One Tap POP, which plays a type of rock and jazz with a twist of fusion that the Paolettas call "Razz." The band has issued three albums, and Aaron has released two solo albums, all of which are available on iTunes. The Bad Sue team also records, mixes, and masters music for a wide variety of other projects and artists.

As you might expect with a family act, music has been part of the Paoletta heritage for a long time. Father Frank Paoletta plays drums and has performed in alternative-rock bands. He's the only member of the immediate family who doesn't work at the record label. Mother Laurie plays piano and is the general manager of Bad Sue Records. Aaron plays woodwinds, low brass, percussion, drums, and bass guitar and fronts One Tap POP. He serves as the president of the label. Matthew plays guitar, piano, and woodwinds and is Bad Sue's chief operating officer and mastering engineer. Alexa plays drums and takes care of Bad Sue marketing and promotions. Jackie is not an active musician but loves to sing, and she handles artist relations and photography.

The family originally hailed from Mercer, Pennsylvania, but moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2005. There, Aaron (the eldest of the siblings) graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and became a professional chef, while twins Matthew and Alexa finished high school and began their current studies at the College of Southern Nevada. Between their day gigs, the record label, and the band, everyone stays busy.

Bad Sue studios is packed with PreSonus gear, including a DigiMax FS multi-channel mic preamp, Blue Tube mic preamp, Studio Channel channel strip, and Eureka channel strip. Tracks are captured and played back with a FireStudio Project interface. The Paolettas have also tested an ADL 600 preamp and a StudioLive 24.4.2 mixer and are planning to acquire a StudioLive mixer of their own.

"We are always looking to use more PreSonus gear," states Aaron. "We have a commercial recording studio, and we use PreSonus equipment for recording, composing, commercials, and soundtracks. We also use it for our live-performance personal rigs, front-of-house system, monitor system, and even for live theater, broadcast, and contracting gigs."

The family became interested in PreSonus gear because of its reputation for sound quality and affordability. The FireStudio Project was recommended by a salesperson at the Las Vegas Guitar Center, and the legendary Bad Sue herself paid for it. "It wasn’t until after the purchase that we realized that PreSonus products were not just good but great," enthuses Aaron. "Ever since, we have continued to purchase and use PreSonus gear."

The FireStudio Project won them over with the sound of its preamps and its overall quality. With the Studio Channel, the attraction is its "great compression settings," Aaron reports. "It gives a very crisp, clean sound to anything that is run through it." The family loves the Eureka's warmth and clarity, and, says Aaron, "we love that we could get this sort of quality in our price range!" The Blue Tube preamp gets the call when an instrument needs a boost without losing clarity. "All of the PreSonus products we use have great sound quality, are affordable, and can stand side-by-side with some of the more expensive interfaces and preamps," Aaron declares.

"Our motto is, 'quality recording at an affordable price,' and we pride ourselves on providing the best services to our customers through great equipment," concludes Aaron. "By being part of the PreSonus family, we are able to accommodate not only our needs as a recording studio, but also the needs of the musicians and artists that walk through our doors looking for great sounding recordings."

Here's a hot tip: If you're in Las Vegas, and you're near the JW Marriott hotel, stop by for breakfast or dinner at the Ceres Restaurant. Based on the music that emanates from Bad Sue Records, it's obvious that Chef Aaron knows how to cook!

Sound Samples

  • Glance-One Stop POP

Bad Sue Records Uses