American Recording Studios

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Todd E, Apr 22, 2008.

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  1. Todd E

    Todd E Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood
    Well, I'd always thought that American Recording Studios -- Richie Podolor and Bill Cooper's place -- was in Studio City; where, in fact, they were for many years.

    But recent rebuilding around the Hollywood Palladium has revealed some American Studios signage there. Which prompted my friend Saul to ask Cooper to elucidate. Here's Cooper's reply. Steve, I'm sure, knows this, but there may be some news to the rest of us:

    Yes, our first studio was part of the Palladium in 1959 and 1960. That was the original sign on the front of the studio that was covered up for fifty years.

    At the studio there we cut "Cherry Pie" by Skip & Flip, "A Thousand Stars" by Kathy Young & The Innocents, "Underwater" by the Frogmen, and "Alley Oop" by the Hollywood Argyles. The story is that is how they got their name - they walked out the front door and looked up at the street sign - Argyle and Sunset.

    Eventually, Lawrence Welk (who owned the building) said we were making too much noise and we had to move. The studio had an echo chamber lined with big sheets of metal that Richie glued to the walls. It also, to our knowledge, was the first studio to have solid state pre-amps and was run on car batteries because they were such a pure source of DC current.

    The board in the studio was custom built and had eight rotary knobs. That board was put in the Studio City studio and expanded year after year until it finally had 24 inputs, 10 Langevin EQ's, and three pan pots. That board then cut "Born To Be Wild" (and 8 Steppenwolf albums) and "Joy To The World" (and 10 Three Dog Night albums", and Phil Seymour.

    When we closed that studio, the board was sent to the
    Rock n Roll Museum on loan for five years as part of a Steppenwolf exhibit. Richie also sent the original guitar used on the first two Steppenwolf albums (which he still owns). The board and guitar are now kept in our storage space with all his other guitars.

    Bill Cooper
     
  2. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Senior Member

    Location:
    New York, NY
    Great story! I love all that studio lore.
     
  3. musiclover56

    musiclover56 New Member

    Location:
    Sunnyside-Up USA
    Love love love studio stories.
    send photos.
    -mike
     
  4. kunstwork

    kunstwork Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Is American still open in its later location in Woodland Hills?
     
  5. kentb47

    kentb47 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hot Springs Ark.
    Thanks for that, Todd.
     
  6. DJMurphy

    DJMurphy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    I thought that this was gonna be a thread about Chips Moman's place in Memphis, which IIRC has long since fallen to the wrecking ball.
     
  7. Todd E

    Todd E Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood
    Yeah. That occurred to me, too late to change the subject line. Folks will just have to cope.

    Here's a photo I took an hour or so ago of the remaining signage, from across Sunset.

    The Palladium sign is just out of sight on the right. The corner of Argyle is just out of sight on the left.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Senior Member

    Location:
    New York, NY
    Another great studio!
     
  9. ... great story - many thanks.
     
  10. now_sounds

    now_sounds Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    What a great thread. Thanks for contributing this Todd.

    Steve
     
  11. jcjc

    jcjc New Member

    Location:
    sherman oaks
    WOW

    I grew up working at the Studio City location after school with several other kids. I was there for three dog albums--the SS fools--Phil SEymour Souther Hillman Furay Alice Cooper the ROwans Black Oak Arkansas and many more---I've known Rich and Bill since about 70 or 71. Richie and Bill did an album of mine in the late eighties early nineties at the Woodland Hlls location. have lots of stories where to begin!

    Here's a good one---The studio city location was on the south corner of Ventura blvd and Tujunga blvd... the Podolors who owned the property sold it and it became a strip mall---BUT behind the bus stop on the south side--there is a block of cement that says------1961-----Bill Cooper----Mike Curb---and then a drawing of a guitar which is an acronym for of course Richie!

    Here's a good one---The Studio City location was a converted chinese restaurant and the palce was small! very very small----somehow in the front Richies brother Don had his little American entertainment booking agency---there were four colored phones---red blue yellow and green I think---they had lights for ringin no sound!---after hours when Don went home he occasionally got a booking call but mostly--------it was hello we have a collect call for Cory Wells from Susie in Green Bay do you wish to pay for the call---then Cory or Chuck would wordlessly sign a thumbs up or a thumbs down to indicate yes or no like a Roman emperor

    Ok one more!--- at the Woodland Hills location (much much larger) Richie kept a electric fifty one esquire that is the guitar from the Surfaris wipeout record!------- I would goad him into playing a little Richie Allen riff quite often onto one of my tracks and usually he'd just pluck it out on the Esquire! and he's say Cooper! Run that through the Wendell and just get me a little on the backside----then (they have a real bonafide echo chamber) he'd say o you have a mic on in there ? Lets just go direct


    sadly Rich and Bill have leased te studio on an almost full time basis and are semiretired------However I can tell you the Dogs (some of them) are about to rise again ! (thats a fact) but they are doing it in someones home


    Ok last one------Richie and Bill are credited with inventing the concept of sticking a mike in the kick drum

    Ok Ok one more-------Whenever you ask richie about Ride Captain Ride he will give you a different answer-----last time he said I don't know ask Bill he produced that one I was out having a sandwich!


    I wish I could give you the link because I've just posted a fifteen year old album Richie and Bill did for me that will be coming out soon! All I can say is if you dig the american recording sound, Rich and Bills work and That twangy guitar you'll like this one!-----
     
  12. now_sounds

    now_sounds Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Just went down to Sunset and Argyle to view the American Recording Co. signage. It's still clearly visible as of tonight. I encourage other Hoffman forum members in the L.A. area to go check it out. It's ghostly and awe-inspiring at once. This must be one of the last remaining remnants of the small, bustling Hollywood recording studios that once flourished in the area in the 50's and 60's.

    I'm sure some of you heard this already but the building that formerly housed the Del-Fi offices and studio at Selma and Vine was bulldozed earlier this year. Was there already a thread on this topic?

    One more thought on the American Recording studio site: Del-Fi founder Bob Keane was driving down Sunset, right in front of the Palladium, when he turned on the radio to hear the DJ announce, "Here's a song called 'Donna' by the late, great, Ritchie Valens." This was the first Bob had heard of the crash.

    Best,
    Steve
     
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