The Record Factory: Sausalito's dream recording studio is being reborn
SAUSALITO, Calif. - The North Bay has always been home to many world-class musicians, actors and entertainers.
Soon, once again, it will become the home of a legendary recording studio that played a big part in the musical soundtrack our nation. It was, and will again be, Sausalito's most legendary music venue: the Record Factory.
Sausalito's Record Plant, originally the Record Factory, was created in 1972 to be a special, quirky and laid-back recording studio well away from the New York, LA and other big city music scenes.
It was so much more; a world unto itself.
"This was a community center. This was a place where stuff was going on when stuff was going on,: said rock critic and author Joel Selvin. The special twist: it also presented a series of live radio broadcasts on Jive 95, KSAN.
It opened on Halloween 1972 with John Lennon and Yoko Ono among the guests.
Closed for 13 years now, Jim Rees and some other music enthusiasts with solid business credentials mean to make this not just reopen, but to be reborn.
"This has to be saved, you know, for future generations," said Record Factory partner Jim Rees.
Long ago and right here, a young gal by the name of Stevie Nicks sat at a piano and came up with a song called "Dreams."
It is on this album; one of the greatest albums in the history of rock'n'roll, recorded right here.
For 36 years, years, until 2008, it was one of the nation's legendary recording venues turning out hit after hit after hit, gold, platinum and diamond in many genres and five of the top 50 selling albums of all time. Prince did his first recording here. Even an 11-year-old Beyonce first recorded here on the recommendation of Stevie Wonder who recorded Songs in the Key of Life at the same studio.
Rick James, Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, Linda Ronstadt, Jefferson Starship, Huey Lewis, John Fogerty, The Grateful Dead, The Doobie Brothers, Heart, Journey, and the list goes on and on and on.
Rock legend David Freiberg recorded here as a member of Quicksilver Messenger and Jefferson Starship.
"It was the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company and a whole bunch of other ones. And, everybody would go to each other's shows when they weren't playing you know. Everybody was rooting' for everybody else. That was really kind of nice like it ought to be," said Frieberg.
"A lot of great creative times. We wrote, Love will Find a Way, right there," said Pablo Cruz lead guitarist and singer Dave Jenkins. "Whenever we were here, it was almost like being in church for us because of our reverence for this place," said Night Ranger’s Jeff Watson.
Later this year, The Record Plant will once again, come back to life for recording and live streaming performances worldwide. "Billions of dollars worth of music has come through this building. Now, we getting just a ton of interest in recording, Said Rees.
There’s much to see.
"It's a virtual kind of a time capsule. You come in and it's like you out of the '70s, '80s and '90s. The gold records are still on the wall. You know, you've got the kind of redwood, funky, psychedelic wall stuff going on. Studio B exactly like it was when Fleetwood Mac recorded Rumors and Studio A was like it was when Metallica recorded Load and Reload," said Rees.
Here, everyone's like a kid in a candy store.
"I listen to a lot of it. Bob Marley, all the stuff that was recorded here. I listened to a lot of that," said Rees’s 9-year-old son Brady.
Thanks to the visionary investors, music will be produced at the Record Factory again very soon.