Call me weird, but I’ve always been fascinated by recording studios.
When I was young I used to closely examine photos of bands
shot in studios while making their masterpieces, like some kinda junior, musicologist detective. The Beatles at Abbey Road, the Bryds in some LA studio or Dylan (always in shades!) at the mid-town CBS studios in NYC. It’s like they were musical, mad scientists and these were their laboratories. Always late at night in their element, cooking up some gem that in a few months time would get mixed and pressed into vinyl. Ultimately, making it to me and my turntable at some radio station. It was truly a magical process!
Here in the Bay Area as I head home every night from my radio gig, I often find myself driving by one of THE legendary studios of the 70s and 80s. It’s the world famous Record Plant, Sausalito. There it is, in an industrial area, closed up and for sale. Occaisionally opened up for some groovy wine and cheese party. “Ooh, this is where Fleetwood Mac recorded Rumors, may I have another cabernet?” Yeah, it’s the room where Rumors, The Dead’s Wake of the Flood, Santana’s Supernatural, Gregg Allman’s Laid Back, Nils Lofgren’s Cry Tough, Stevie Wonder’s Songs In the Key of Life, and John Fogerty’s Centerfield all happened! It’s a California landmark. Yes, if those walls could talk!
One of the more famous radio broadcasts on KSAN back in 1973 was with Bob Marley and the Wailers here at the Record Plant. Saxman David Sanborn told me recently that most of the famous recording studios are now gone. Artists just don’t seem to record in big rooms anymore. What a shame. Let’s hope this building stays standing and gets another chance to make some sonic magic.