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Dave Tough

Dave Tough is the owner and founder of Real Life Music.

As a producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dave Tough has spent the majority of his life creating music. Mr. Tough shares his namesake with the great jazz drummer (Tough's great uncle) who played with the likes of Woody Herman, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey.
Dave Tough was famous (and infamous) for several things. He was a subtle and versatile drummer who hated to solo. He was an intellectual whose career was often rather aimless. Tough was also a painfully thin alcoholic whose drinking got him into trouble on a regular basis and shortened his life.
Although he did not officially attend Austin High School (he was at nearby Oak Park High), Dave Tough was early on associated with the Austin High Gang, becoming a close friend of Bud Freeman.

Tough played at holiday resorts during his summer vacations of 1923 and 1924 and then became a fulltime musician the following year. After playing with Sig Meyers, Husk O'Hare's Wolverines, Art Kassel and Jack Gardner among others, Tough and Danny Polo took a boat to Europe in 1927.
He spent two years overseas, mostly playing with George Carhart on the Continent, returned to the U.S. briefly, and then went back to Paris and worked with Mezz Mezzrow and Carhart again. After coming back home in May 1929, Tough worked with Benny Goodman, Red Nichols, played locally in Chicago and then took time off due to illness. Tough was largely outside of music during much of 1932-35.

Tough began on saxophone and piano moving to jazz drums (a mere coincidence) a few years later. Growing up he was playing drums and bass to Wings and Tom Petty albums and recording several bands in his basement.

Dave Tough has produced, engineered and written for several artists in Nashville and Los Angeles including Come and Go, Cindy Alter, Jake Simpson and Matt Heinecke. While in Los Angeles, Tough worked and studied under engineering names such as Bruce Swedein and Neil Citron. Tough has also worked for Capitol Records, Warner Chappell Music, TAXI, BMG and EMI among others.

As an solo artist, Tough has released two solo albums Gravity Always Wins (2004) and I'm Right Here (1999) which can be found on cdbaby.com

The last few years of this life Tough has been a recording educator at Cal Poly, UCLA, UNA and Belmont University He holds his undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas in Jazz Drumset and an MBA from Pepperdine University.

Tough currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee where he produces artists and teaches music recording.

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