Tuesday, June 19, 2018
  • Friday, Jul. 20, 2001
Chameleon Music Merges Into Comtrack, Chicago

Composer/executive producer Larry Pecorella has merged his four-year-old Chicago-based commercial music house, Chameleon Music, into Comtrack, Chicago.

The development comes in the wake of recent changes at Comtrack: Composer/producer/ sound designer Bryan Rheude and executive producer Linda Zic assumed ownership of that music house last month after the departure of former principal, veteran composer/producer Manny Mendelson (SHOOT, 6/29, p. 7).

The Chameleon staff joining Pecorella under the Comtrack umbrella consists of engineer and occasional composer Pete Schmidt, graphics and Web designer Renee Schmidt and in-house marketing director Marya Fletcher. The foursome will presently remain in its current studio space, although Pecorella noted he plans to move into a new studio in the East Ohio Street building that now houses Comtrack composers Dave Hutten, Justin Hori and Rheude. (Comtrack also retains a separate business office.)

Remaining independent from the Comtrack banner is SoundPunks, the Internet audio production house that Pecorella launched last year in tandem with Bob Monachino, owner of Chicago-based Radio Bob, which produces audio for radio spots (SHOOT, 11/10/00, p. 7).

Rheude said that Pecorella rounds out the offerings of the other Comtrack composers. "Larry is really good at emotional scoring and has a really good comedic sense," explained Rheude, who described his own area of specialty as experimental, "twisted" scores. "Larry's [also] good at rock, jazz and all the other genres; he covers all of them in a solid way. But these days, it's about specialization and being able to do something one hundred percent."

According to Pecorella, this was the right time for him to make the move. "I've been on my own for four years and I'm ready to get back to working with other people," stated Pecorella, who spent 12 years at the former Intuition Music before launching Chameleon in 1997. "It's great to be able to exchange ideas with other people, but I still will have autonomy, and that's what I like."

Another contributing factor in Pecorella's decision, he continued, was his high professional regard for Rheude, whom he had wanted to hire at Chameleon's inception. When Rheude first approached Pecorella about joining Comtrack in March, the timing wasn't right. The proposed move became more attractive last month when several employees of Comtrack left that firm—namely: Mendelson, composer/ producer Ron Steele (who returned to his Chicago-based shop I Dig Music) and sales rep Kathy Aronstam. "It kind of worked out for our staff, because I wanted our people in the right places," Pecorella related. "I think we have a lot to offer, and Bryan recognized that."

"This past year has been a good one," said Pecorella, citing the Chameleon-scored spot "Pillow Talk" for Disney via Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, and directed by Joe Pytka of PYTKA, Venice, Calif.—which earned a Silver Lion in the corporate image category at last month's Cannes International Advertising Festival.

Pecorella recently completed four Colombo yogurt spots—"Welcome to Andover," "The Bucket," "The Bucket Variety" and "Nothing Wrong with Plain"—via DDB Chicago. He also contributed additional production and instrumentation for a soon-to-break Buddy Lee four-spot campaign for Lee Jeans via Fallon, Minneapolis; T. Bone Burnett composed the original song and lyrics for the spots. Pecorella is currently working on two Hallmark spots—"Kiss Kiss" and "Two Cards"—for Leo Burnett.

"This arrangement is going to be great because we know different sets of clients," Pecorella added. "I know a lot of Manny's former clients and I'll be able to help fill that void. Our [collective] reel will be pretty competitive on a national level. We're going to go after Detroit, Minneapolis and even New York. I think we can compete with anyone."

Added Rheude, "Larry has been going head-to-head with shops on the Coasts … some of the top people. I think [having him] will increase our percentages of winning those types of jobs."

For now, Fletcher will handle national sales for the shop, although Rheude indicated that Comtrack might seek East and West Coast representation in the future.