I am a musician who had to find a way to be in the business regardless of my band "making it". But I have always had a passion for quality audio. When I graduated high school I enrolled in The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe, AZ. This was one of the best years of my life. I had already owned a Pro Tools rig (this was in the 90's). You know, the black and white edit window, the 24 track max, the lack of stereo tracks, and very limited editing features and plugins we all have grown to expect today. This school blew my mind. We had multiple studios from post production digital labs to live rooms to SSL 4000 studios to Neve VR with Flying Faders studio. All with tie lines so that all outboard gear could be patched to the other studio if need be. After graduating I started a record label and studio out of Fresno Ca and had a good run. I was living my dream. However, it started to be like I was recording anything to keep the doors open rather than taking on projects I could really be passionate about and really push the musicians to produce something bigger and better than we had ever imagined going into the project. I felt that I was doing a dis-service to the bands I didn't give everything I could to. And that wasn't fair to the band or the future of music. So we shut our doors and I began taking on projects on the side that I really cared about. I was doing this with portable gear and a home studio setting which I do love and enjoy, but let's be honest, is there really a substitute for the real deal? I mean, yeah these SSL and 1176 plugins are amazing, but they don't hold a candle to a real voltage hitting a real and very specialized transformer on an analogue point to point unit then being saturated to this pristine tone with more character than you could ever "fake" with ones and zeros. I would never stop craving that "real analogue" tone and feel for the rest of my life.
Enter Wings of Silver Studios.
I have had the good fortune to be able to record and engineer/produce projects at WOS in the last couple of years. However, I have known the owner and head engineer and their families for many years, so I knew going into that place that it was going to be an amazing, comfortable, and "no cutting corners" type of studio. Bishop Robert Hooks has been a very dear friend of mine for at least 10 years and since the very first day I met him it was very apparent that he knew exactly what he wanted out of tone and sound regardless of what it took, how much it cost, or how long it would take to accomplish even the simplest thing in order to achieve the final outcome he was "going" to get. He has always collected the rarest, and most sought after pieces of gear that any audiophile would kill for and his new project in building WOS was no exception.
As soon as the SSL 4000 got installed in the building and even the patch bay wasn't completely wired up I went in the studio with my then band, Poor Man's Poison, to knock out a quick trial run and a new single that we had to get to market before a TV show aired of us that was to be played nation wide. He accommodated us at a drop of a hat with open arms (like he does everybody, everywhere he goes). I walked in and my mind was blown with the collection of outboard gear he had ready to us, let alone an SSL. We tracked a live performance that day and added vocals later and were able to release the song in time. And with exceptional quality.
Everyone there is so easy to work with. The environment could not be more comfortable and accommodating. There is always drinks, coffee, and snacks to be had and an extensive menu binder that every studio needs in order to get to the point, not leave the studio, stay focused on the music at hand, and maximize productivity and creativity. If you would like to hear that first run recording look up Poor Mans's Poison - C'mon Down - off the album Providence.
This last year I engineered and produced a project there by a band called Mehrten Drive out of Visalia. They are an original country band that I became friends with while I was playing shows with Poor Man's Poison. We tracked the drums, bass, and acoustics there in one day. Since my last visit there the studio was upgraded substantially!
He always had great outboard gear like the SSL channels, Vintech 73 (neve strips), groove tube viper, UA 1176 and LA2A. Along with tons of desired effects from vintage Lexicon and TC Electronics. But now he had a few more Neve strips from various manufacturers and more Manley outboard gear than I had ever seen in one place at the same time. From the Massive Passive, Variable MU, and the Slam! Now the patch bay was rigged with everything at my fingertips at the drop of a TT cable. It was Disneyland for audiophile nerds alike. It had been years since I got to use such a high caliber of equipment let alone in our very own little town of Visalia!
Before you would have to travel to SF or LA to get this quality, but with that comes the distractions and hustle and bustle of the big cities. But this place is off the grid. It's location is perfect for setting yourself apart from the distractions of big business and tune into what really matters, the MUSIC and the TONE!!!
I am grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy such an amazing place and look forward to the future and great things to come from this little town we call home.
Thank you Wings of Silver Studios!!