George Drakoulias was a staff producer and A&R executive at the (Def) American label, where he discovered and later helmed albums for bands including the Black Crowes and the Jayhawks. Born in 1965, he initially played drums in local garage bands as a teen, but later switched to bass. While attending New York University, he befriended Rick Rubin, then a campus DJ and aspiring producer. Rubin's dorm room doubled as the headquarters of the fledgling Def Jam Records, the rap label he began with partner Russell Simmons; Drakoulias witnessed firsthand Def Jam's rise to success, looking on as landmark singles by artists including Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys and L.L. Cool J took flight. When Rubin later broke away to form Def American -- subsequently rechristened simply American Records -- he took Drakoulias with him, with the latter soon signing the Black Crowes and producing their 1990 smash Shake Your Money Maker.