Born in Washington, D.C., he was introduced to the music business by his father, owner of the popular local venue Cellar Door and a respected manager whose clients included Little Feat, Weather Report, and Prince. At age ten, Rob Cavallo and his family relocated to Los Angeles, where Cavallo began accompanying his father to the recording studio and learning guitar licks from the blues great Lowell Fulson. Enthusiastic about music, Cavallo spent hours playing guitar and listening to records in his room. His father bought him a Teac A3340 four-track tape recorder, and Cavallo began to experiment with his own multi-track recording sessions.
In his teens, Cavallo began playing in numerous cover bands. After high school, he went to work for top engineer George Massenburg, building electronic equipment and serving as second engineer on sessions by Fleetwood Mac and Linda Ronstadt. He also attended the Dick Grove School of Music. Cavallo's father eventually introduced him to Lenny Waronker of Warner Bros./Reprise Records, who offered Cavallo a position in the label's A&R department. He began working closely with A&R head Michael Ostin and other music business luminaries like Ted Templeman, Tommy LiPuma, and Russ Titelman.
Around 1992, fellow A&R employee David Katznelson approached Cavallo about producing his bi-gender band, the Muffs. The project went well and attracted attention from Green Day, a San Francisco group that had yet to break into the mainstream. Cavallo was asked to produce the band's next album, Dookie, which became of the biggest records of the '90s. Selling over 16 million albums worldwide, it helped establish both Green Day and Cavallo himself as industry icons.
Rob Cavallo was made Senior Vice President of Reprise Records; later, he assumed the role of staff producer at Warner Bros., helped manage the label's A&R department, and eventually became Chairman of the entire company. Even so, his production work continued to earn the most accolades. By producing Dizzy Up the Girl, he helped transform the Goo Goo Dolls into pop music kings. By working on Rock n Roll Jesus, he helped Kid Rock earn his first number one record. By helming albums by Paramore and My Chemical Romance, he proved that hard rock could still have major crossover appeal. ~ Ed Hogan, Rovi