Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hanging With The Village Ghost by Ellie Perleberg

Building Manager Tina Morris and CEO Jeff Greenberg guided 24 excited GRAMMY Camp® students through The Village Studios in Santa Monica on Tuesday, July 14.

Founded in 1968 by Geordie Hormel with only one room (affectionately known as "Studio A") built specially for Steely Dan, the Village Studios complex contains four community studios and nine that are private to artists like John Mayer and Robbie Robertson. The various studios have been utilized by an array of artists, from Oasis to Jet, Wolfmother to Smashing Pumpkins, and Spinal Tap to Barbara Streisand. At the time of our tour, the Los Angeles band Wake Up Lucid was recording tracks in the room that was created specifically for Fleetwood Mac.

As the single-file line of students made their way into Studio A, a few people had to pause and gasp at the analog recording equipment and its glorious two-inch tape. Morris noticed the students' fascination and was excited to tell us, "Analog is still alive!" Their collection of vintage gear also includes five plate reverbs and an echo chamber.

The studios themselves are beautiful. The lights are low and the tapestries hanging on the walls smell like years' worth of incense and stories. The whole building has warmth to it and the perfect vibe for creativity. Even rumors of a Village ghost couldn’t stifle it.

The rumored ghost is said to be a bassist who used to bother people until a concrete wall was built between studios A and C and fewer people witness him. Some say he still roams the halls at night, drinks the booze, and fixes bad bass tracks.

The comforting creative quality is one that you would assume musicians love when you hear the long list of bands who’ve worked at The Village.

“I love the history that’s always being made here,” said Greenberg.

From the studio tour, Morris led us to “The Shop,” where items to be repaired are kept, and “The Graveyard,” where broken equipment is stored behind an amusing landmark.

“Anything behind Frankenstein is dead,” said Morris.

The Village tour wrapped up with students sitting on the stage of the live-recording auditorium and being photographed by Greenberg as he told campers that he wanted to see them again in the future.

“I expect to see you here as a star, okay?”

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