Darrell began his recording career at Sunset Sound in 1966 while a film student at UCLA. He started mastering at DCT Recorders in 1967, cutting many hit records early in his career. Darrell and former Capitol Records A&R Executive Jack Chartoff launched Great Mandella Productions in January of 1968. With Johnson serving as President and Chartoff as Vice-President they built a multi track recording studio and opened offices in Studio City on the site of Foto Kem, a motion picture film laboratory and post production facility. Great Mandella setup BMI and ASCAP affiliated publishing and brought on Wayne Dailey to head music production. The group signed several artist to publishing and record deals and began releasing singles, EP's and LP's on the Great Mandella, Quaint, Peace, and Gloryland Records labels. Following Chartoff's untimely death a couple of years later Darrell sold off the publishing catalogue and artist agreements with the exception of Gloryland Records and returned to mastering at Sunset Sound. At Sunset in December of '69 one of his early Top 10 mastering projects was James Taylor (2) - Sweet Baby James for a 1970 release on Warner Bros. Records to be followed shortly by Loretta Lynn - Coal Miner's Daughter on Decca and then Elton John - Elton John on UNI Records making 1970 his break out year. By mid 1970 he was working full time for Decca where he spent several years at MCA Recording Studios. While at MCA Darrell did extensive mastering work for MCA/Decca's famed country producer Owen Bradley. In addition to cutting many country hits he also mastered pop material including first releases for Elton John and Lynyrd Skynyrd. All of the early inscriptions bore his scribe "DJ" or "DWJ". Darrell went on to become the first Mastering Engineer and Director of Engineering at JVC Cutting Center. It was JVC's special half speed mastering system used to cut CD-4 Quad records and later modified for stereo audiophile half-speed disc mastering that lead him to use the "DWJ/2" inscription. In 1977 he founded Precision Lacquer/Precision Mastering with Larry Emerine and Stephen Marcussen. Darrell is also a Commercial Pilot with Multi Engine and Instrument Ratings and is passionate about General Aviation and light planes. He was a Vice President and principal partner in Southland Aviation a Southern California private aircraft charter operation for more than two decades. The advent of stereo audio for television in the 80's took Darrell away from the recording studio to work in systems engineering for broadcasting where he remained until his retirement in 2010. He currently resides in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Darrell's Professional Affiliations include: The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS); Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE); Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE); Audio Engineering Society (AES); Hollywood Sapphire Group; Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA); Baja Bush Pilots. He is also a Lifetime Fellow of the Hollywood Sapphire Group and the John Edwards Memorial Foundation at UCLA.