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Amigo Studios warehaus
Old 6th July 2005
  #1
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Amigo Studios warehaus

Michael Wagener, or anyone else who used it, I'd like to hear more bout this place and the recording of drums in there. Thanks.
Old 7th July 2005
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyesore
Michael Wagener, or anyone else who used it, I'd like to hear more bout this place and the recording of drums in there. Thanks.
i worked there back in 1985, we rented a small studio next to the big space where drum recording was often done. I was a gun-for-hire and worked with a fella who had a full-blown Synclavier, we'd score and arrange documentaries in that little room and sometimes wheel the rig into studio B for session work.

I can recall one of the first SSL's there. There was a Harrison console in studio B, I believe. I recall playing on an album date being recorded to one of the first digital multi-tracks.

The pianos were a Yamaha C7, which was very popular as it had the bright tone everyone wanted then (you can hear it on Cris Cross's "sailing"). There was a fabulous Bosendorfer which had the bass extension and was superior to the Yammie, but no one ever played it, except me, I used to stay for hours afterward playing that thing, it was beautiful.

The people there were really nice, the studio was located in North Hollywood behind a gated compound, many famous records were done there when it was the Warner Brothers studio; Carole King, Gordon Lightfoot, Jackson Browne etc.

If I recall, there was a mastering room there as well, may have been Bernie Grundman, not sure.

I met a number of 80's recording artists and session players there, I recall Stryper as frequent clients.

It was a fun and creative atmosphere.

Ed
Old 8th July 2005
  #3
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Hey Ed, great to see you here...long time no talk.

The Amigo warehouse was in my opinion one of the best drum rooms in the country, until Al Kooper built a wall right through it to set up his studio to score "Crime Story" and distroyed (unbeknownst to him) the recoerding space. I recorded drums for Stryper, White Lion, X, Keel, Kane Roberts, Alice Cooper, Bonfire and Dokken in there. When I checked out the studio in 1985 (for X) there were no consoles in any of the rooms and they asked me which console I would like where (now THAT is service...). So we put an MCI 500 in the A room, a Harrison in the B room and a 40 channel SSL in the tiny C room (mixed "Master Of Puppets" and many others on that console). I loved the A room for recording. Tons of great equipment and microphones.

Great atmosphere at Amigo. There were days when I was working with Dokken and John Denver was next door and Eddie Murphy and the "Three Amigos" in the other room. I remember one day working with Whilte Lion, somebody walked into the control room and said: "What's love got to do with it" It turned out to be Ike Turner. On another Whilte Lion session Al Kooper came over and gave Vito a black Strat to play a solo on. We found out later that this Strat was given to Al by jimi Hendrix. Vito almost fainted. Pretty crazy stuff.

I learned a lot from the owner, Chet Himes, he was always up to something new (like the Tube Traps and using a lavalier mic inside a kickdrum). It was also there that I got offered to buy a matched pair of mint AKG C12s for $1,700 and I turned it down

The warehouse itself was full with old junk around the walls (old tape reels etc.) but somehow it just sounded great for those 80s drums. They had kind of a big "umbrella" hanging under the ceiling, which could be lowerded down and kept the cymbals in check.

Many great memories from the Amigo aera. It got bulldozed last year, another piece of recording history gone.
Old 8th July 2005
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwagener
.

Many great memories from the Amigo aera. It got bulldozed last year, another piece of recording history gone.
Very, VERY sad to hear.

I remember meeting John Denver, he was a completely different chap from the squeaky clean image he cultivated for the fans (wink, wink). He had some hot blonde with him in the control room, rowdiness ensued. Later, that evening, he was on the Tonight Show with Johnny, all squeaky clean.........I learned a bit about show bizz that day

Others who used to "pop in": Randy Newman, Michael McDonald, Roger Nichols.........Paul Simon recorded an album there with, I believe it was Los Lobos (was that possible?). I worked a bit with Jennifer Warnes on a demo she was putting together , I was to write the string arrangement, but lost out to Van Dyke Parks ( a really good guy to lose out to).

I used to love the lounge, people always accepted me as one of the gang, there was a nice camraderie there (except I started to gain weight on that damned vending machine).

I did a lot of musical grunt work, transcribing tunes and jotting down chord changes for session players, programming synths and the Synclavier etc ad nauseam.

We must've met, I was the guy with the blue Honda. I remember your sessions, we used to listen to the incredible drum sounds coming out of that big space, I also recall peeking in on the tiny studio C to see that SSL, it was a new thing in those days, everyone was quite excited by it.

I've always wondered what happened to William, he was the tall guy employed by amigo, a really, really nice fella. I also got on well with the fella who drove a white BMW, he had blonde hair, but his name escapes me completely.

I learned a hell of a lot in my year there, I remember thinking, at the time, Berklee was my formal training, but Amigo was my graduate school. We did a lot of things the hard way, then, figuring out how to sync things, calculating tempos and numbers of bars/beats etc., midi was only a couple of years old, Macs and PC's weren't yet a common sight in studios and, as you know, everyone wanted some form of "tech" in their music.

Ever since I first came across you over on the DMX board, I knew you were a familiar "face" from somewhere, now I know. It's great to see someone from the "old days" here. I hope we get to meet again, if you're ever in the NYC area, shoot me a PM.

Now, about that mic deal you turned down, YIKES!!! (we've all got at least one of those lost opportunity stories).
Old 8th July 2005
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11
... I've always wondered what happened to William, he was the tall guy employed by amigo, a really, really nice fella. I also got on well with the fella who drove a white BMW, he had blonde hair, but his name escapes me completely. ...
That is "Evil Wilhelm Malouff" He would only wear black clothes, only work when it was dark and drove a hearse. He has a drum rental company called "Deadbeat Drums". We still call each other on every full moon.

The blond guy was Russ (forgot his last name). I got him almost fired because he went into my session at night and replaced two C12s on my overheads with SM57s, because he needed the C12s tutt

Yes those were the learning years, actually they still are...
Old 8th July 2005
  #6
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

What were the dimensions of this warehouse? Can you describe the umbrella apparatus in more detail? Was there any other type of acoustic treatment in there? what was the wall/floor/ceiling construction? Where did you place the drums in the room, etc. Are there any pics of the place anywhere? Thanks.
Old 10th July 2005
  #7
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Michael, are you in touch with Chet? Not sure if you know he lives here in Austin. I was lucky enough to have him come in on the 2nd CD I produced before I was handling all the eng duties around here. If you haven't talked to him I could get you his number. Nicest guy. Learned quite a bit when he was here.
BTW, thanks for suggestion to go vertical with the S3As. Much prefered.
Kelly.
Old 10th July 2005
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyd
Michael, are you in touch with Chet? Not sure if you know he lives here in Austin. I was lucky enough to have him come in on the 2nd CD I produced before I was handling all the eng duties around here. If you haven't talked to him I could get you his number. Nicest guy. Learned quite a bit when he was here.
BTW, thanks for suggestion to go vertical with the S3As. Much prefered.
Kelly.
Haven't talked to him since 1989, I would love to get his number (email mwagener at comcast dot net), he is a great engineer and I learned a lot from him, that would be soooo cool. thumbsup
Old 10th July 2005
  #9
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That small C control room was without question the LOUDEST I have ever been in... a Westlake 3-way system maybe? wooden horns
Old 11th July 2005
  #10
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Michael, I'll get Chet's number for you today. Look for my mail this afternoon. Kelly.
Old 13th July 2005
  #11
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Michael, I sent you Chet's #. Did you get my e:mail on the 11th? Kelly.
Old 13th July 2005
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyesore
Thanks for the replies everyone.

What were the dimensions of this warehouse? Can you describe the umbrella apparatus in more detail? Was there any other type of acoustic treatment in there? what was the wall/floor/ceiling construction? Where did you place the drums in the room, etc. Are there any pics of the place anywhere? Thanks.
Michael, could you address these questions when you get a chance?

Thanks.
Old 13th July 2005
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyesore
Michael, could you address these questions when you get a chance?

Thanks.
It was just a normal storage room, drywall on the walls, steel shelves on most walls. I don't know the dimensions but it was rather big, oddly shaped. I would say you could park a mobile truck in there, maybe 20' high. No treatmeant of any kind just the umbrella, which was made out of wood and cloth, no idea what was inside. It covered the whole drum kit, so maybe 6 - 7 feet in diameter. Sorry I don't have more exact info.
Old 14th July 2005
  #14
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Thanks Michael!
Old 24th July 2005
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyesore
Thanks for the replies everyone.

What were the dimensions of this warehouse? Can you describe the umbrella apparatus in more detail? Was there any other type of acoustic treatment in there? what was the wall/floor/ceiling construction? Where did you place the drums in the room, etc. Are there any pics of the place anywhere? Thanks.
Well, I found some 8mm video from the Amigo warehouse. It's from the Kane Roberts recording sessions for his first album in 1985.

At the very beginning, right when I walk into the room with the camera you can see the "umbrella" hanging high up under the ceiling above the drums. The drummer is Victor Ruzzo and the assistant is Mark Wilzcak. I left the sound on there even though it's just a mono camera mic, might be interesting.

Enjoy... Amigo video
Old 28th June 2011
  #16
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Amigo Mastering

Did either of you know one of the disk mastering engineers there,his name is Terry Dunavan.He may have moved back to Nashville but not sure.
Thanks Guys.

Ken
Old 28th June 2011
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post

Others who used to "pop in": Randy Newman, Michael McDonald, Roger Nichols.........Paul Simon recorded an album there with, I believe it was Los Lobos (was that possible?). I worked a bit with Jennifer Warnes on a demo she was putting together , I was to write the string arrangement, but lost out to Van Dyke Parks ( a really good guy to lose out to).


Cool old thread, never saw this one before, I worked at Amigo for a while in 1984. Others to pop in while I was there were Steve Perry, Barbara Streisand, and a few other biggies. And more than pop in, Kenny Loggins spent a whole lot of time there. He came with a very large stack of 2" tapes.

I actually had the keys and opened the place up each morning. heh
Old 30th June 2011
  #18
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some cool stuff here:
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Old 20th May 2012
  #19
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Hammond B3

I have a 1959 Hammond B3 with an Amigo Recording Studios ID tag on it.

Anybody know any history behind this organ?
Old 29th July 2012
  #20
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Sailing , Christorpher Cross ?

Sailing by Christopher Cross

I think Chet Hines engineered that Song/Album.

Its my all time favorite track for its amazing sound, blows me away anytime i listen to it. Its the best rest recording, Period...

I love to know what tape machine? was used with what type of tape? tape speed?, what console? Mics , Pre Amps Etc.......etc.....
Old 29th July 2012
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibson View Post
Sailing by Christopher Cross

I think Chet Hines engineered that Song/Album.

Its my all time favorite track for its amazing sound, blows me away anytime i listen to it. Its the best rest recording, Period...

I love to know what tape machine? was used with what type of tape? tape speed?, what console? Mics , Pre Amps Etc.......etc.....
Yes:

Quote:
Producer: Michael Omartian
Engineer: Chet Himes
Arrangers: Christopher Cross, Michael Omartian
At that time it was just Warner Bros recording studio I believe.

Not sure of the tape machine as I wasn't there until 1984, at which time it was all MCI 24 track machines, but I was told he did most of the work on the song in the small C room.

Also one a my favorite songs as well, fantastic sonic textures and just a great recording.
Old 27th December 2012
  #22
Hi All -

Sorry to revive a slightly old thread, but has anyone got a floor plan (including ceiling height) for WB/Amigo Studios? Also, any photos? There's nothing on the web!

Thanks!
Old 31st October 2014
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Cool old thread, never saw this one before, I worked at Amigo for a while in 1984. Others to pop in while I was there were Steve Perry, Barbara Streisand, and a few other biggies. And more than pop in, Kenny Loggins spent a whole lot of time there. He came with a very large stack of 2" tapes.

I actually had the keys and opened the place up each morning. heh
I worked there from 1979 until Chet Himes bought it in 1984.
Many happy memories.
Old 31st October 2014
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philbrown View Post
I worked there from 1979 until Chet Himes bought it in 1984.
Many happy memories.
Hi Phil, what a great place it was, really cool vibe.

I wish I would have been there longer, I got the boot shortly after the people from Texas took over (Chet Himes?). I'm sure we must have crossed paths there.

This is what I looked like back then.
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Amigo Studios warehaus-scullylarge123.jpg  
Old 1st November 2014
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Hi Phil, what a great place it was, really cool vibe.

I wish I would have been there longer, I got the boot shortly after the people from Texas took over (Chet Himes?). I'm sure we must have crossed paths there.

This is what I looked like back then.
Well, my bad, it's Chet Hines, Chet Himes was The Family Dog and ran the Avalon.
Sorry, records from that period are spotty at best and I don't remember you.
But I'm sure there's lots that I don't remember.
Phil Brown
Old 1st November 2014
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Yes:



At that time it was just Warner Bros recording studio I believe.

Not sure of the tape machine as I wasn't there until 1984, at which time it was all MCI 24 track machines, but I was told he did most of the work on the song in the small C room.

Also one a my favorite songs as well, fantastic sonic textures and just a great recording.
My memory is that they were working in Studio E, not C ,which was really a remix/spot studio with a small VO booth.
Someone was asking for a floor plan. Good luck. Studio A was a fairly traditional rectangular room with a drum area on a raised platform.
Studio E was quite different, octagonal in shape and all natural wood. E was the best sounding room I ever worked in.
A had a custom console built by Al MacPherson, C had a red and black MCI and E had a Harrison. All our speakers were Westlakes, which Al had designed, I believe.
Magical place. It was originally Bones Howe's studio and he made a lot of hits there.
Phil Brown.
Old 1st November 2014
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philbrown View Post
Well, my bad, it's Chet Hines, Chet Himes was The Family Dog and ran the Avalon.
Sorry, records from that period are spotty at best and I don't remember you.
But I'm sure there's lots that I don't remember.
Phil Brown
I didn't remember his name. Strangely enough, I remember he had a BMW 6 series coupe, not so common back in 1984.

Do you remember Denny the studio technician? I was actually working under him.

And I don't remember the name of the guy that was the Mastering Engineer who had his own room and was working there independently. He was a really nice guy, if I recall I think he was Hawaiian or something.
Old 1st November 2014
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philbrown View Post
My memory is that they were working in Studio E, not C ,which was really a remix/spot studio with a small VO booth.
Someone was asking for a floor plan. Good luck. Studio A was a fairly traditional rectangular room with a drum area on a raised platform.
Studio E was quite different, octagonal in shape and all natural wood. E was the best sounding room I ever worked in.
A had a custom console built by Al MacPherson, C had a red and black MCI and E had a Harrison. All our speakers were Westlakes, which Al had designed, I believe.
Magical place. It was originally Bones Howe's studio and he made a lot of hits there.
Phil Brown.
That's right, it was E! It wasn't a very big room. I think the main room had a Harrison, one of my jobs was to take out every one of the faders and clean them.

I have a funny story about the console in E. I was one of two assistant techs and one day my shift was ending and the other tech was taking over. I was leaving and doing up a number and the other guy joined me, which I was not recommending as he was just starting his shift. So for some reason we went back inside and we were in studio E. He was showing me something on the console, not sure what button he pressed, but the monitors let out a screech that would have awaken the dead. Not sure what he did or how long it took him to figure it out, but I got the hell out of there fast.
Old 2nd November 2014
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
I didn't remember his name. Strangely enough, I remember he had a BMW 6 series coupe, not so common back in 1984.

Do you remember Denny the studio technician? I was actually working under for him.

And I don't remember the name of the guy that was the Mastering Engineer who had his own room and was working there independently. He was a really nice guy, if I recall I think he was Hawaiian or something.
Bobby Hata. Japanese. Denny Shaw and I were good friends.
Phil Brown
Old 2nd November 2014
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philbrown View Post
Bobby Hata. Japanese. Denny Shaw and I were good friends.
Phil Brown
Ahh, Denny Shaw and Bobby!

Denny loved to use the fancy head cleaning q-tips to clean his ears.

-Rob
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