The Record Plant Page 2

Water Music
Miles was supported in his claim by radio station boss Tom 'Big Daddy' Donahue who went on to run an occasional show from the studio, Live From The Plant, on the KSAN rock station, featuring The Grateful Dead, Peter Frampton, Bob Marley And The Wailers and Fleetwood Mac amongst many others. The shows continued until Big Daddy died in 1975.


Steven Tyler (left) and Joe Perry of Aerosmith performing live in concert

Like the LA studio, Sausalito boasted a jacuzzi and added a conference room with a waterbed floor. Another attraction was the constant supply of industrial grade pure nitrous oxide. Refilled tanks were delivered weekly until allegedly a friend of Kellgren was found dead from asphyxia under one of them.


Alice Cooper, who recorded his 1972 LP School's Out at the New York Record Plant, pictured the year the LP was released

Cover Songs
Sly Stone instigated the creation of The Pit, a studio built into one of the office spaces. It was a 140-square-foot acoustically dead room that had the engineer's controls sunk ten feet into the foundation of the building with bright maroon plush carpet on the floors, walls and ceiling. A bunk bed was accessible from the edge of The Pit, reached only by climbing through a giant pair of red lips. At the head of the bed, audio jacks allowed for mics to be connected to the console so that an artist could do vocals from under the bed covers.


The group Blondie in between poses for the cover of their 1978 album Parallel Lines

Apart from Sly, Bill Wyman, then still of The Rolling Stones, recorded some of his solo album, Stone Alone, there, lying down to do his vocals with a bottle of brandy to hand. Elsewhere in the studio complex, Stevie Wonder worked on his Songs In The Key Of Life and, in February 1976, Fleetwood Mac blocked time to lay down tracks in Studio B for their monster-selling Rumours. A year later saw Prince arrive to cut his debut LP, For You.


Debbie Harry in 1977

Raising The Roof
The fun and games were interrupted in July 1977 when Kellgren drowned in the swimming pool at his Hollywood home. His girlfriend and secretary, Kristianne Gaines, who couldn't swim, also drowned trying to save him.


On stage in London in 2008, Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield of Metallica

While the facility at Sausalito saw numerous owners over the years that followed, the artists still arrived. Metallica virtually lived there in the mid-1990s, recording both Load and Reload, before moving on to found their own facility in San Rafael. The owner at the time, Arne Frager, spent $1 million on renovations customised for the band, including raising the ceiling to 32 feet to boost Lars Ulrich's drum sound. 'They basically built the room exactly how we wanted it', says producer Bob Rock. The Sausalito site finally closed due to bankruptcy in 2008. A new studio opened at the site in 2021 called The Record Factory.


Beyoncé in 2019. She recorded her sixth studio album, Lemonade, at the LA Record Plant after it had been relocated to Sycamore Avenue in Hollywood

Meanwhile, the LA operation had been moved to another location within the city, at 1032 Sycamore Avenue in Hollywood. Among the albums recorded or part-recorded over the ensuing years were Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, Guns N' Roses' Appetite For Destruction, Lady Gaga's ARTPOP and Beyoncé's Lemonade.

West Side Story
Rapper Kanye West also worked there. On the 23rd of October 2002, he was leaving the studio at about 3am after doing a production stint when he fell asleep at the wheel of his rented Lexus and crashed. Rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, he had his jaw wired up in reconstructive surgery. A mere two weeks later he was back at The Record Plant recording a song about the incident called 'Through The Wire', his jaw still wired shut.


Stevie Wonder used The Record Plant studios in LA as well as Sausalito to record Songs In the Key Of Life

The track appeared on his Get Well Soon mixtape before being re-recorded and released as the first single from his breakthrough debut LP, The College Dropout, in 2003. The album was recorded at the Plant, as were his next two phenomenally successful opuses, Late Registration and Graduation.


Kanye West recorded his 2003 debut album at the LA facility in Hollywood

West said later: 'Well, the only thing this accident's saying is, "I am about to hand you the world, just know at any given time I can take it away from you". Kanye may have swerved off the rails of late but The Record Plant is still going strong.