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Author Topic: First recording songs of different studios  (Read 2897 times)
c-man
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« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2020, 10:30:45 PM »

When did the Boys started to record in Al's Red Barn studio? (It was during the KTSA-sessions, right?)

Yeah, but it wasn't called Red Barn quite yet (it's credited in the inner sleeve of the album as Jardines Barn).
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2020, 09:42:45 AM »

COMMENT:  I have engineered Beach Boy sessions in ALL of the studios mentioned in this thread.

If you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them to the best of my ability and memory.


~Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2020, 10:01:03 AM »

COMMENT:  I have engineered Beach Boy sessions in ALL of the studios mentioned in this thread.

If you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them to the best of my ability and memory.


~Stephen W. Desper

Hello Stephen, I definitely have a few!  Smiley

For roughly 20 years off and on I've been trying to keep up with any new info available about Wally Heider's LA studio, where he basically copied Western's studio 3 for one of his rooms. I listed some general info about it here in this discussion and scattered around various old forums and discussions, but I'm still curious about the first 6 months or so of Wally's studio after he opened it. Along those lines:

Do you recall more specifically when Wally opened his doors in LA to his studio 3? I recall reading that it was roughly in the summer of '67, and that Brian and the Boys *may* have been one of Wally's first big-name clients to book it. Jim Lockert in the interview published in the Byron Preiss book says he and Brian mixed down Smiley Smile in a "marathon" session that saw a lot of editing and moving sections of songs around, basically what sounded like digital DAW editing only done with the razor blade. I've always been interested in what they did that day at Heider's - Do you recall anything from the Smiley mixdown session(s) Jim described as a "marathon"?

As far as recording, did you take part in the re-recordings of the Hawaii material that was booked at Heider's in early September 1967 or do you recall any further work being done on those Heider tapes after the sessions? They already had the full concerts taped from Hawaii, engineered by Jim, and then the re-records, and a memo from Fall '67 points to a release of these around the Wild Honey album. Do you recall working on or with any of these Hawaii tapes, and was there a sense that they were "ready" as far as opinions of the band, or were the opinions negative after hearing all of them?

Brian was working often at Heider's in October '67 and thereabouts, including with Redwood and involving larger groups of musicians. Did you work any of those sessions at Heider's with Redwood, and what was the atmosphere like surrounding those sessions and those tapes? Ultimately Carl and Mike took the tapes for the BB's to use, but it seems Brian had a burst of creative energy recording that way at Heider's with outside musicians.

There are very few photos I've found showing Wally's LA studio in '67, do you happen to have any or know of any? Wally's San Francisco studio picked up more fame and therefore has more info and photos available, but I've always been curious if anything exists showing inside Wally's studio 3 "recreation" of Western 3, if it was as obsessively copied as quite a few around Wally at the time have said.
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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2020, 01:48:03 PM »

COMMENT:  I have engineered Beach Boy sessions in ALL of the studios mentioned in this thread.

If you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them to the best of my ability and memory.


~Stephen W. Desper

Hello Stephen, I definitely have a few!  Smiley

For roughly 20 years off and on I've been trying to keep up with any new info available about Wally Heider's LA studio, where he basically copied Western's studio 3 for one of his rooms. I listed some general info about it here in this discussion and scattered around various old forums and discussions, but I'm still curious about the first 6 months or so of Wally's studio after he opened it. Along those lines:

Do you recall more specifically when Wally opened his doors in LA to his studio 3? I recall reading that it was roughly in the summer of '67, and that Brian and the Boys *may* have been one of Wally's first big-name clients to book it. Jim Lockert in the interview published in the Byron Preiss book says he and Brian mixed down Smiley Smile in a "marathon" session that saw a lot of editing and moving sections of songs around, basically what sounded like digital DAW editing only done with the razor blade. I've always been interested in what they did that day at Heider's - Do you recall anything from the Smiley mixdown session(s) Jim described as a "marathon"?

As far as recording, did you take part in the re-recordings of the Hawaii material that was booked at Heider's in early September 1967 or do you recall any further work being done on those Heider tapes after the sessions? They already had the full concerts taped from Hawaii, engineered by Jim, and then the re-records, and a memo from Fall '67 points to a release of these around the Wild Honey album. Do you recall working on or with any of these Hawaii tapes, and was there a sense that they were "ready" as far as opinions of the band, or were the opinions negative after hearing all of them?

Brian was working often at Heider's in October '67 and thereabouts, including with Redwood and involving larger groups of musicians. Did you work any of those sessions at Heider's with Redwood, and what was the atmosphere like surrounding those sessions and those tapes? Ultimately Carl and Mike took the tapes for the BB's to use, but it seems Brian had a burst of creative energy recording that way at Heider's with outside musicians.

There are very few photos I've found showing Wally's LA studio in '67, do you happen to have any or know of any? Wally's San Francisco studio picked up more fame and therefore has more info and photos available, but I've always been curious if anything exists showing inside Wally's studio 3 "recreation" of Western 3, if it was as obsessively copied as quite a few around Wally at the time have said.

Comment to guitarfool 2020:

I’m afraid the questions you ask were about a time after I left recording activity. While Wally was expanding his San Francisco studio complex into the LA area, I was designing studios for other people and going into the studio equipment manufacturing business.  What I can tell you are my impressions and experiences with Wally Heider – a name synonymous with the recording scene of the 60’s and 70’s – while engineering for the Beach Boys.



Wally Heider was a presence in any setting. He was a portly man, always casually dressed, and spoke in a hip hop way or with many jive expressions, probably from his background of recording big bands from the 40’s and 50’s. Today he would be right at home with rap music. But aside from his jazz manner of speaking, he was an astute businessman. Early on he saw a need in the just-getting-started independent studio action beginning to take shape and was successful at filling that need.

As popular music increased in sales the need for studio space also increased. Brian along with many other rock musicians were becoming successful enough to demand independence from the major union operated studios. By the time I got into engineering it seemed as if there was a studio on every block in the Hollywood area – even venturing out into the valley (northern) areas of Los Angeles. Many of these studios, including all those listed in this thread, were built in rented buildings wherein sound walls were constructed to isolate a studio area from a control room area. The studios were damped using basic acoustic panels and were not scientifically designed. The control rooms were likewise converted spaces to house consoles and monitor speakers, In short, with a modest budget you could rent a building, build some sound walls, put up various damping material on the walls, buy or have built a console, install big studio monitor speakers and call yourself a recording studio. AND you could make money as soon as you opened your doors.

I have always said, “this is the music business” with emphasis on business, and Wally saw a business need.  A studio is more than what I listed above, but it’s a start. You also need lots of equipment, peripheral equipment that is beyond the console. All that equipment needed to support a recording session or mixdown session is expensive, not used all the time, and requires adjustment and maintenance. This expense proved beyond the abilities of many young studio entrepreneurs.

With Wally’s familiarity of remote recording, he knew the recording business. In the LA area, he was known as an equipment rental supply person. He already was well- established as the place to rent equipment. He had several garage-size rooms full of professional equipment for rent, several technicians to fix the stuff, headed by his key engineer, Frank DeMedio. Within these buildings he did eventually build some proper studios, but his primary business was equipment rental and remote recording.

So, if you were a smaller studio doing a string recording date, for example, may not have enough microphones in the house to cover such a session, so call up Heider’s and rent what you need. Let’s say for a string date, you need six RCA ribbon mics, booms, cables, six quality headphones, headphone distribution boxes, music stands, music stand lights, low-noise microphone preamps, some UA3A limiters, a couple of Pulec equalizers. To have this equipment on hand, and not use it every day is an investment not every small studio can afford. Or maybe you need an extra 2-track or even an 8-, 16-, or 24-track tape recorder for some session, but don’t have one at the studio – call Heider’s and have it delivered.

Wally saw the advantage to renting and so did many studios. (1) You only pay for the time you actually use the equipment, (2) you don’t have to maintain the equipment, and (3) – the big advantage – since the stuff is rented rather than bought, the cost can be written off as a one-time expense, rather than a capital outlay, which has to be taken over a five-year period. At the end of five years most equipment is obsolete or worn out anyway. This was a great tax advantage.

Another big advantage is that suppose some key piece of equipment develops a problem … a hum or intermittent sound, or who knows what?  Rather than closing down the session and maybe even loosing use of an entire studio until the problem is fixed, just call up Heider’s and get a replacement within an hour. He takes the bad equipment back to his place and fixes it, or has his techs fix it – and your session goes on to make you money.

As new equipment came onto the market, and a demand for that equipment was created, Wally would buy it – and rent it. For example, when we built The House Studio (and by the way, it was always called “The House Studio.” It was never referred to as Brother Studio or Brother Records studio. Brother Records Studio was the name of the later-built studio in Santa Monica. In fact, The House Studio preceded Brother Records creation as a business by a year or so.) was an example of using the Wally Heider business model to the extreme.

The House Studio’s console(s) monitor amps and speakers and many Shure dynamic microphones were all owned by American Productions (a Beach Boy corporation), but all the tape machines, many microphones, outboard EQ’s and esoteric microphone preamps, limiters, delays, etc. were all rented from Heider’s for the entire time that studio was functioning. It was still cheaper than buying the equipment, and I did not need to worry about fixing any of it. All I had to do was keep the tape recorders in alignment.

But before The House Studio was built, Brian and the guys used all the studios listed in this thread. This was a boom time in Hollywood. Studios were constantly booked, many for lock-out bookings lasting weeks at a time. Sometimes Brian would become frustrated when he could not find studio time anywhere. So Wally, being the keen businessman he was, saw an opportunity to help out his friend and good client, Brian Wilson. Wally converted one of his storage rooms into a makeshift studio by putting up some absorption baffles on the walls, and carpeting the concrete floor. He already had all the equipment and set up a little “control room” next to the converted storage room to make it possible for Brian to do some sweetening sessions when he couldn’t get booking elsewhere. And Brian liked it. It was simple; informal; kind of funky, actually; and available on a moment’s notice. As time went along the facility was used by other groups, but I always remembered how accommodating Wally could be. Perhaps over time that kind gesture of one musician to another has translated into “Wally’s first client,” as you said, because Wally did expand on the idea and eventually build some proper studios into the complex. Wally called his friend, Jimmy Lockert when Brian booked time at Heider’s little studio, and so when it became a request of BB management to facilitate a studio at Brian’s home, Jimmy set it up like the one at Heider’s place, with the addition of a black and white monitor and camera between the studio and den. Heider also rented those.

Other times the Beach Boy’s have used Heider’s rentals was during the time we or they decided to venture up to Alan Jardine’s home in the hills of Big Sur, California, at his request. At that time, Alan was breading Arabian horses. He had about five, maybe six, I remember. The so-called Red Barn, on his property, was their home, but the horses would soon be moved to a new stable complex he was building further up the road. Inside the 100+ year old red barn was a large space with a staging area at one end. The stables had been removed, but two were still occupied, but the doors now faced to the outside and the inside was walled off, so there was no hey smell inside the barn. Two horses were still there, but you would never know it. I used one old stable as a drum booth. So Alan wanted Brian and everyone to come up to Monterey, stay with him or at a nearby resort hotel, and record in the barn. That was reasonable enough, but was before the actual Red Barn Studio was constructed. That would come years later. In order to record up in Big Sur, and get Brian out of drug-infested LA, the Beach Boys rented one of Heider’s well-outfitted sound trucks or mobile recording trucks.

Wally had two such trucks, and each was equipped with a twenty input console and a sixteen-track recorder. It had JBL monitors, lots of UA limiters and Pultec EQ’s, de-sers, envelope generators, and things like that, with a Harrison (if I remember) 24 position console; at that time all SOTA. Wally’s sound truck was packed with equipment normally including a 16-track recorder, but if I recall we took an 8-track on that trip. The inside is acoustically damped, the console stretched from one side of the truck to the other. The two monitors were on a shelf, forward of the console. Behind me (as I faced the console) was a door flanked by the multi-track and an equipment cabinet/patch bay. With the door closed, it became a technical ambiance of sound completely isolated from the outside world.

John Parks drove the truck up the costal route along the California coast. In those days this was a mountain road with rocks on one side and the ocean a hundred feet below on the other side. If you had a flat or lost control of your vehicle, the flimsy little fence between you and disaster was not going to change your fate. It took a day of cautious driving to move the truck from Wally’s in Hollywood up to Monterey, specifically, the complex Alan Jardine called home.

Permit me to reminisce a little.

At Alan’s invitation, I have taken this trip many times to stay with his gracious wife Maryann and Al, along with all the horses, five dogs, numbers of cats, chickens. Alan’s property stretches from the Pacific Ocean inland for a mile or so. As you travel north from LA the road “hangs” or was cut into the mountainside. A hundred feet below you can see the ocean waves breaking with much fury over the rocky shore – more like boulders. Close to the California shore the ocean is still very deep, so the waves have a lot of energy as they hit land (meaning the waves are large and powerful). The drive is both beautiful and dynamic, especially if you get caught in a rainstorm.

This was my first trip to Alan’s ranch, as he calls it. At the time I was driving a Mercedes 190SL convertible sports car – blue with a white leather upholstery, so I wanted to take my car up this demanding road. As I said, John Parks drove the sound truck, at a much slower pace. Sometimes I would drive ahead for the fun and then drive back to the truck as it lumbered along the sometimes steep mountain elevations – steep enough to require shifting to first gear in the truck. After four or five hours of this, we finally got to the point in this journey were the roadway moves inland for several miles and then continues northward. Between this part of the road and the coast are a number of private properties, one of which is Al’s. We had been given instructions where to turn off the road and into Al’s driveway, but it is so secluded we drove past it three times before even recognizing it as a turnoff. No signs, or indications it’s a road. All there is, is  a small break in the trees lining the road – which is actually cut through a thick forest. Turning in, the road becomes one-lane, winding down and following along a small creek. A panoply of tree branches forms a canopy of dense leaves, blocking out direct sunlight, which together with the trapped moisture, causes ferns to carpet the entire forest floor in an intense green color. As we drove down this narrow dirt road, several times it was necessary to cut some of the tree branches so the truck could pass. This road continues for about half a mile or more. Along the way are a few turnoffs for other hidden homes in this area. It takes about five minutes of drive time to reach Alan’s ranch. Just when you wonder if this road will ever get there, it breaks open to reveal two giant tree logs (like redwood trees) standing on end and holding up gates and an overhead rot-iron fixture. I don’t think the gates are ever closed. Passing through this impressive entrance you move down another one-lane road for several hundred feet and then, rounding a hill, a small lake comes into view as well as a vast clearing of land. Surrounding the lake are five or six small cabins where one houses a young family who serve as help to keep up the property and house. At the far end of the lake you see chickens pecking in a pen with a coop. Moving along you pass the new stables, the old red barn comes into view. Across the road is Al’s 5-bedroom house, which sits on top of a hill. The sides of the hill are completely covered with vibrant wild flowers. The house is surrounded by a deep wooden deck or porch. A hottub, I mean an old-fashion big oakwood tub, filled with hot water, is sunk into the deck. Pulling up, several large and friendly dogs came out to meet us with waging tails. Shortly Al showed up wearing overalls. He had been changing hey in one of the horse stalls. After some discussion we decided to back the truck up close to the barn with the back of the vehicle facing the barn’s big door. This still gave enough room for all the cars arriving the next day with the boys and their wives or girl friends, in tow.

After laying out some mic lines, headphone wires into the barn and a placing a playback speaker on the stage in the barn, John bowered a car from Al and we both drove back to our rooms at the nearby Big Sur Inn. At this time the area was not developed. Big Sur Inn consisted of a number of cabin rooms laid out in a clearing. My room was cold as I entered. As it was, a pile of firewood had been placed in the room, but it was my duty to build a fire in potbelly stove to heat the room. Likewise if I wanted a hot shower, I had to build a fire under the water-heater boiler that would give me five-minutes of hot water. I knew it was a rustic place, but this was a little over the top. But that was the way it was. There was no TV or telephone, but when darkness set in, this city dweller was completely mesmerized by seeing thousands of stars in the sky. On a moonless night, you could even see the edge of the Milky Way. I just sat outside all evening taking it in.

The next morning I had a wonderful breakfast while sitting in a garden setting, flowers of all types, everywhere. Late in the morning John and I drove back to the complex where some of the fellows were beginning to arrive. Eventually, Michael and Dennis decided to stay on the property in a couple of those cabins. But they had to make their own fires too. When Brian, Carl and Bruce looked over the situation, they decided to rent rooms at the only place with hot water, a five-star premium hotel ($$$) back on the main road. All that got sorted out by the afternoon, and we started to do some recording. I should add that Daryl Dragon, who was also included in the sessions, but unknown to anyone, had rented a small house off one of those turnoffs on Al’s road, and probably had the best living conditions of everyone. I’m not certain but I think Ed Carter came up for some of the sessions also.

The next few days we recorded in the barn doing some tracks and some sweetening with guitars. During breaks, I went hiking back into the forest around the property. You could follow that little creek well back into the trees and overgrowth. I soon saw an opportunity that rarely befalls an engineer. After convincing the guys that it would be productive, everyone agreed to try a full day of vocal recording outside – in the forest!

During my hikes, I found a little abandon campfire area, about fifteen feet square. It was several hundred feet into the forest. John backed the truck up an old farm road and back into the forest as far as we could manage. This was along the creek. Taking a pathway away from the truck for about fifty feet was the clearing. John and I took a couple of oriental rugs from the barn and placed them over the pine needles and leaves in the clearing (to reduce standing noise). We ran a hundred feet of mic cables to a mic boom and a mic stand holding a AKG C-24 stereo mic on the boom and an RCA Ribbon on the stand (for Michael). We also ran lines for six headphones and a talk-back speaker, all sitting on two TV-tables (remember those?) Each Beach Boy carried a chair into the area as we got it setup.

So picture this . . . the singing area was completely encircled by forest trees and growth. You were standing on a carpet. An ice chest had plenty of soft drinks on ice. If you had to pee, that was an easy stroll into the forest. The weather was California perfect. Thankfully, there was no wind in the forest that day. The nearby creek was just audible, but did not prove to be a recording problem. Otherwise the outside acoustics were ideal for vocalizing. The guys enjoyed the experience, and so did I. Going from the technology of the truck out the door to the forest’s edge was really a contrast. I’ll never forget it.

In late afternoon it became too dark in the barn to record, so without anything else to do, everyone went to one of several excellent high-class restruaunts in the area. Everyone went, all the boys, wives, girl friends, Al’s kids (Matt was a teen) John and myself. And we had a blast! Those were the best of the best days!

The Big Sur sessions lasted about ten days, until everyone wanted to get back to Los Angeles. Wally Heider’s remote truck proved to perform without problems and yielded many tracks of music.

I encountered a Heider sound truck on one other occasion; The Monterey Pop Festival. I mixed the sound (live sound) for that event, while Wally had his truck parked behind the staging area to record everything via split mic feeds from my stage microphones. My console was several feet from Wally’s sound truck, but we did have field-phone communication. He stayed in his truck maintaining the recorders. Since each mic feed was being recorded on a separate track, mixing would take place later. He could not see the stage. If you have ever viewed the recent DVD release of that event, made from those tapes and video footage, when the WHO do their stage act and start to destroy everything on stage, you will see Wally come on stage to remove microphones. Seeing what was about to happen during this act, I had called Wally on our phone setup and ask him to run on stage and rescue the mics – which he did. 

That about covers my involvement with Wally Heider. I should add . . . Nick Grillo (past BB manager) told me that when Wally was to retire, he wished to dispose of part of his estate (music copyrights and big band videos,) that he, along with other managers had negotiated that deal with MCA and Filmways, later to become Filmways-Heider Studios. Wally had always been some what of a conspiracy believer, so according to Nick, the properties were sold with the payout to be in gold bullion bricks deposited in Wally’s Swiss Bank account. Wally was planning to retire to Switzerland, he said. This was done, but unfortunately, in the end, his planned retirement never came to be. He was diagnosed with cancer and died at his daughter’s home in California.

I will always remember Wally as a kind and caring man who was a help to me as a young engineer and gave me several good recording tips.


~Stephen W. Desper




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« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2020, 02:22:11 PM »

Mr. Desper, would these sessions at Al's barn have been for the Keepin' the Summer Alive album around 1979-1980?
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« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2020, 03:51:23 PM »

Mr. Desper, would these sessions at Al's barn have been for the Keepin' the Summer Alive album around 1979-1980?

COMMENT to All Summer Long:  The way I keep these 50-year old memories straight in my mind is by the number of tracks used for the multi-track.

20/20 -- all 8-track using Scully 260, Ampex 440 and 3M M79 recorders
Sunflower -- 8-track and 16-track  using 3M M79 recorders
Surf's Up -- all 16-track using 3M M79 recorders
Keepin' the Summer Alive -- 48-track, using two Studer A80 24-track recorders linked together

So, although Alan had his studio up and running for his personal use around 1984, and 1989 as a commercial enterprise, because of the number of tracks in the truck, I believe it would be around the Sunflower era. Now it could also have been around 20/20, but I really think it was later. Since Dragon & Parks were there, and Matt was quite young, that would put the date around the Sunflower time.

As to the credit on KTSA "Jardine's Barn" ... you will also note that the engineers credited not only include me, but other's from the past, some were not even alive at the time of this album's release. Also John Parks is not listed in the Road Crew list. This indicates the use of older recordings made at much earlier times, transferred onto the 48-track for further sweetening and use. The Jardine's Barn credit is undoubtedly a rennet of those earlier sessions, being copied over and used for the sessions at Rumbo. In the insert of KTSA album are photos showing singers using a Neumann M49 microphone. I used that mic at Rumbo studio sessions. The photo of Brian at the white piano and someone sitting on a bail of hey are from a time up at the Barn for tour rehearsals, as we did venture up there before some tours. But I don't remember a second trip with a sound truck during the recording of KTSA. All the other photos show Bruce with the two 24-tracks in the background, M49 mics with singers, and Al with AKG headphones, used at Rumbo. I think I'm remembering this correctly. Bruce produced KTSA entirely at Rumbo studio. The group had splintered by this time and were never together as six members recording at once. it was many years ago, but I just don't remember any recording specifically at Red Barn for that album.  
~swd
« Last Edit: April 09, 2020, 07:27:53 PM by Stephen W. Desper » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2020, 10:03:31 AM »

Stephen thank you for that fascinating reply, chock full of great information and especially the personal recollections! So much to discuss!

One part out of many I wanted to expand on:


But before The House Studio was built, Brian and the guys used all the studios listed in this thread. This was a boom time in Hollywood. Studios were constantly booked, many for lock-out bookings lasting weeks at a time. Sometimes Brian would become frustrated when he could not find studio time anywhere. So Wally, being the keen businessman he was, saw an opportunity to help out his friend and good client, Brian Wilson. Wally converted one of his storage rooms into a makeshift studio by putting up some absorption baffles on the walls, and carpeting the concrete floor. He already had all the equipment and set up a little “control room” next to the converted storage room to make it possible for Brian to do some sweetening sessions when he couldn’t get booking elsewhere. And Brian liked it. It was simple; informal; kind of funky, actually; and available on a moment’s notice. As time went along the facility was used by other groups, but I always remembered how accommodating Wally could be. Perhaps over time that kind gesture of one musician to another has translated into “Wally’s first client,” as you said, because Wally did expand on the idea and eventually build some proper studios into the complex. Wally called his friend, Jimmy Lockert when Brian booked time at Heider’s little studio, and so when it became a request of BB management to facilitate a studio at Brian’s home, Jimmy set it up like the one at Heider’s place, with the addition of a black and white monitor and camera between the studio and den. Heider also rented those.


This was exactly what I have been wondering about for a few decades, and thank you for clarifying this. I mentioned before that with the dearth of solid info about when Wally actually opened his LA studio in a formal way, there was a thought that it was around summer 1967 - But what you said here about Wally opening up his facilities to Brian for him to work ties together several loose ends. It proves - as if it needed to be proven more after all of the info was reported since 1967 - that Brian's difficulties booking studios on demand as he had done more easily in the past led to him using that space Wally provided and also shows just how much of a boom there was to where Brian had to go outside his preferred rooms/studios to get work done. And it led to "The House Studio" with its origins in the early Summer '67 Smiley Smile sessions with Jim and the Gates Dualux radio mixer.

It is pretty comical to think of where several now legendary studio buildings actually came from. If I'm not mistaken, Gold Star was a dentist office. Sunset Sound was an old auto repair garage, hence the sloped concrete floor. Motown was a basement which started with dirt floors. I watched a fascinating documentary about Muscle Shoals studio where the Stones are shown recording Sticky Fingers in the Gimme Shelter film, and it looks like a typical mid-century insurance office or something. And residents driving by at night would see groups of musicians standing on a side stairwell and think there were orgies or some other freaky happenings, when they were really out there listening to playbacks because the frequencies traveled a certain way to that side door, and they could also get some fresh air in the process!

And I think Wally's own LA location at one point was either a burlesque theater, or even a brothel upstairs, or something along those lines...I can't remember.

So it just happened that when Brian needed that studio time working especially in the latter half of '66 and '67 that the boom in demand for studio time hit LA and effectively shut Brian out of a lot of his favored rooms. And Wally stepped in and graciously made Brian a space where he could work. And work he did! I'd easily speculate that after Summer '67 and before the House Studio became fully operational, Brian booked more time at Wally's for his projects than anywhere else.

Another takeaway is what you said about Wally being an astute businessman - He truly was not only at the right place at the right time and in the right profession, but he also knew how to make money with it. I have also heard other stories about how much of a killing Wally made renting 8-track machines around LA, separate from his mobile truck and business. People thought he was nuts investing in these new machines, but the rental fees he charged were high enough to turn a profit and he rarely had a time when his rentals were collecting dust due to the demand. As you mentioned the specifics of his rentals, Wally made a good living on his rentals alone.

It still amazes me how much the Beach Boys spent on Wally's mobile gear, including the custom DeMedio console which was among the most state-of-the-art available at the time, along with flying all of that along with Jim and Wally's staff to Hawaii to record those concerts. You can see in the silent film footage that same closed-circuit TV setup in the control room with Jim in Hawaii that you mentioned being in Brian's house. I'm guessing that was pretty state of the art too for 1967 standards in recording music.

I guess we can say that even though Wally's LA studio may not have been officially open for formal bookings, he had made it possible for Brian (and Jim) to work there when other rooms were booked solid. Very cool.

Thanks again for the info!  Smiley

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« Reply #32 on: April 10, 2020, 10:55:38 AM »

It is pretty comical to think of where several now legendary studio buildings actually came from.

Western was a grocery store and Western 3 was the meat locker at one point.
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« Reply #33 on: April 10, 2020, 11:03:10 AM »

It is pretty comical to think of where several now legendary studio buildings actually came from.

Western was a grocery store and Western 3 was the meat locker at one point.

Yes! I forgot about that! Years ago I meant to research that grocery store, maybe find some old ads, perhaps I can do that now with more access to archival stuff.
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« Reply #34 on: April 10, 2020, 11:07:53 AM »



Later it became a bit of a den of ill repute as Madam Zucca's Hollywood Casino...

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« Reply #35 on: April 10, 2020, 11:27:16 AM »

Madam Zucca's! Holy sh*t, yes! I remember now. Somewhere in an external drive I have a folder full of research about Madam Zucca's from digging I did, like 10 years ago including ads and original article clippings. So much water under the bridge since then, I need to dig all that up. Some I posted, some I did not.

I think Madame Zucca's - If I'm remembering - made a killing during World War 2 with all the servicemen in and around Hollywood at that time who wanted a place to gamble, meet girls, etc...under the radar. I remember thinking it would make a terrific neo-noir type film if anyone wished to tackle it. And my dad was in the service, stationed at Point Mugu/Port Hueneme near Oxnard and would hitch rides into Hollywood during the war before he shipped out to the Pacific...I wonder if he ever heard of that place when he was there! I wish I could have asked him while I could.

Wow, thanks for the info and reminding me of all that history!
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« Reply #36 on: April 11, 2020, 10:47:03 AM »

COMMENT:

And marching onward in time >>> When the Beach Boys closed their two-story office complex on Ivar Avenue in Hollywood, it became "The Ivar Baths" -- a large gay bath house. I wonder what shenanigans were carried on in my old office?
  ~swd
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« Reply #37 on: April 11, 2020, 12:21:28 PM »

Question and photos for Stephen: These are still frames taken from silent film at the Boys' concert in Hawaii, August 25-26-etc 1967, the same footage shown in a lot of documentaries but zeroed in on the recording setup and people involved.

These are some of the only (if not the only) footage available showing Jim Lockert actively working with the Beach Boys, I thought you'd be interested to see them as still frames because the film itself is pretty jumpy and grainy.

That's the custom Frank DeMedio console which was shipped to Hawaii and rented by Wally for the concert, along with several of Wally's staff including Dale Manquen and Bill Halverson, with Jim at the helm. What I had a question about was first the TV monitor shown in several frames. Was this the same system you mentioned which was also in use at Brian's "House Studio", and does it look like it was the same unit(s) Brian had at the house? It's cool that we can see the action on stage in that closed-circuit monitor in one brief frame.

Also, do you recognize the man with the buzz haircut standing to Brian's right in two of the frames? I assumed for years it was Bill Halverson, but was curious if you recognized who this person was?

Thanks again for all your fascinating replies and stories you're sharing! Very, very interesting and informative reading!

Jim at work behind the board:




The closed-circuit TV monitor during the show:


The "mystery man" next to Brian and a better view of the TV monitor atop the console:


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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
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