Basements, chalets, castles, churches… Did you ever ask yourself, where they made their compositions? Sometimes you will be surprised… Here we present you unconventional places where great musicians developed their masterpieces.
10. Hunting Chalet of Vernon Family (BON IVER, FOR EMMA FOREVER AGO)
One of the recent Rock and Roll legend is related to the story about the origin of the Justin Vernon’s debut album – in family chalet where he withdrew after a double break – with a girl and current band, DeYarmond Edison. In order to take a break from everything and recover from mononucleosis for which he was lying in bed all of the previous three months, he made several lo-fi demos, significantly different from what was formerly did. Since he himself wasn’t sure what he did, He uploaded the songs on the internet and sent copies of demos to blogs and webs. Thanks to the oral tradition of eerie beauty of Vernon’s heartbreaking songs and romantic story that accompanies their formation, album ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ quickly became an underground hit and cult classic.
9. Big Pink House (BOB DYLAN AND THE BAND, BASEMENT TAPES)
Basement Tapes recording began quite informally while Bob Dylan was relaxing with The Band during a break of editing the apsurdity documentary ‘Eat the Documents’, when in the 1967 they moved from Dylan’s studio into the big pink house situated a few miles from Woodstock. In the new location Dylan first started playing the new songs, whether written before or on site, with substantial support from members of The Band – Richard Manuel, Rick Denk and Garth Hudson, who took care to save the recorded materials for future generations. While songs like ‘I Shall Be Released’, ‘You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere’ or ‘Nothing Was Delivered’, have become some of the Dylan’s best, recording Basement Tapes has entered into a legend because of the relaxed and nonchalant atmosphere that reigned in large pink house. “That is the right way to make an album – in a peaceful, relaxed environment – in someone’s basement” – Dylan said.
8. Sammy Davis’ poolside house (THE BAND, THE BAND)
Having recorded ‘Basement Tapes’ with Bob Dylan, and their debut a,bum ‘Music From the Big Pink’, as its name suggests, in a large pink house in the state of New York, members of The Band decided to move to California for making of the second album. Originally intended to build a small home studio in L.A., but Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman told them not to do that persuading them to pack up a mobile studio and to rent a house for guests by the pool at the luxurious possession of Sammy Davis Jr on Hollywood Hills. The result is an authentic and compelling, no matter how strange is for us to imagine them making ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ and watching at the artificial lake bounded in cement.
7. St. Catherine’s Court Castle (RADIOHEAD, OK COMPUTER)
Actress Jane Seymore bought this extraordinary Tudor’s building from 16th century in 1984. It is located closely to Bath, England. But 10 years later, she spent most of the year in America, and she decided to rent the estate to film crews, exclusive event planners and stars of show-business. The Radiohead recorded the most of ‘OK Computer’ over there in 1996, since they were ‘committed’ to feed the cat while the landlady is gone. This beautiful and creepy place had undoubtedly a crucial impact on the atmosphere of the album that deals with paranoia and alienation, especially in songs like “Exit Music (For A Film) ” , in which you can hear an echo of the stone castle halls, or ‘Let Down’ which was recorded at three in the morning in spooky, empty and a huge ballroom. At one moment, Henry VIII lived there with his adopted daughter, which people believed was his illegitimate child, which has inspired many stories about ghosts: under that impression the members of Radiohead reported machines turning on and off by themselves during the making of an album. English avant-garde rockers are among the many who have used this place to shoot, only for others, like the Cure group (‘Wild Mood Swings’) and New Order (‘Waiting For The Sirens Call’) it was not so lucky. Robbie Williams rented this castle for a whole month for the recording of MTV Cribs show, and claim it was his property.
6. Keith Richard’s French house basement (THE ROLLING STONES, EXILE ON MAIN STREET)
By the early ’70s Rolling Stones have become a band without a country, provided that their renegade status had more to do with avoiding English taxes than with a reputation of bad r’n'r boys. In the summer of the 1971st the band gathered in southern France, where Keith Richards rented a villa called Nellcote and there they began a series of whole-night recordings they ‘complemented’ drugged parties with famous guests, from William Burroughs to the Grammy Parsons. Due to the chaotic nature of many video sessions, all band members are not recorded in every one. Bill Wayman was signed in only eight songs. He obviously was not thrilled with heat, that made Mick Jagger make the most of his songs bathed in sweat, half-naked. But it is precisely that ‘dirt’ that proved to be essential for the well-known album decomposed vibe that has been preserved even when the majority of songs Jagger ended in a comfortable Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles.
5. The house where Sharon Tate was murdered (NINE INCH NAILS, THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL)
Since it was built in 1942, the house at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles was home to many celebrities, including actors Henry Fonda and Cary Grant, and music producer Terry Melcer. However, the house became known in the 1969 when the family of Charles Manson killed actress, model and wife of Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate, who at that time was eight months pregnant. he house was abandoned after a bizarre crime and destroyed, until the early ’90s it wasn’t bought by Trent Reznor, who had turned into a studio called ‘Pig’ (according to the message that the murderers with blood print on the door of the house). There he recorded several albums with Nine Inch Nails, of which the decisive ‘Downward Spiral’ in the 1994. Reznor quickly moved out of the house, seeking to distance himself from the image of ‘a man who supports the serial killers’, especially in an interview for ‘Rolling Stone’ in the 1997, where he claimed that his sister Sharon Tate personally judged him for cashing sensationalism about the murders, in the 1969.
4. Rick Rubin’s house in Laurel Canyon (RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, BLOOD SUGAR SEX MAGIC)
Since Anthony Kiedis wanted to avoid a pedantic and sterile atmosphere of a traditional studio, Red Hot Chili Peppers have decided that their key album BloodSugarSexMagic record in the magnificent mansion of eccentric producer Rick Rubin, in the famous Californian hippie Mecca – Laurel Canyon in 1991. Charisma of this place still shines – explaining why LCD Soundsystem recorded their album ‘This is happening’ exactly there in 2010, James Murphy said briefly: ‘Have you seen this place? Who wouldn’t want to make an album there?’Indeed, the villa is spectacular, but it is probably full of ghosts. In the documentary ‘Funky Monks’, which tracks record ‘BloodSugarSexMagic’ Flia spoke that drummer Chad Smith was afraid to sleep in the house, which is believed to be built on the same farm on which the earlier house of Harry Houdini burned to the ground. And now there are rumors about the eerie atmosphere, unexplained events and strange occurrences in this house, but has not yet determined whether it has to do with the consumption of psychoactive stimulant properties by visitors.
3. Swiss Grand Hotel (DEEP PURPLE, MACHINE HEAD)
The band originally planned to record the album at the legendary Montreux Casino, on the shores of Lake Geneva, in which otherwise maintained the famous jazz festival. However, at the Frank Zappa’s concert on 4th December 1971, there was a fire which burned the roof of the hall, so that the mobile studio, borrowed from the Rolling Stones, the band had to move the Pavilion Theatre, but they had to move out of there very quickly because of complaints to noise by nearby citizens. So they definitely moved to the Grand Hotel. Cables were stretched along all the hallways of the hotel and they all led to the recording equipment that was in the van in the parking outside the hotel. Bed mattresses leaning against the wall, served as insulation, and the whole recording turned into a real mess of cables skipping, running to the van, listening to recordings … But despite all these complications, ‘Machine Head’ became Deep Purple’s most important album and heavy-metal foundation, and the ‘smoke on the water’ from one of the greatest guitar anthems of all time, refers to just the beginning of a story about recording the album.
2. The Slane Castle (U2, THE UNFORGETTABLE FIRE)
In the 1981, U2 has its first concert ever held at the now famous meadow at the foot of the hill in Ireland where the Slane Castle is situated. Three years later, they returned there, but into the castle, to record the fourth album, after the great succeed of the ‘War’ album. The band along with producer Brian Ina, lived and worked in the castle for a month, improvising the sets in vast areas with unusual acoustics. Then they moved to Dublin studio Windmill Lane, where some experiments from the castle got its final touch, or as in the song “Pride (In The Name Of Love) its only real form. But the atmosphere of studio in relation to a strange castle brought more tension and anxiety among members of the band. In the booklet made for 25-anniversary of the album, Edge has shortly written ‘The environment of the Slane Castle has more soul’, comparing the two places.
1. Holy Trinity Church in Toronto (THE COWBOY JUNKIES, THE TRINITY SESSIONS)
Canadian country-rockers gathered on 27 November 1987 in 150-year-old Gothic church with excellent acoustics, and recorded their second album, without any mixing, fixing…Just around one microphone and for only a day! Brothers Michael and Peter Timmins, their sister Margo and Anthony Allen, hired local musicians and had rehearsals with them mainly by phone, and then spent the first couple of hours in the church thinking how to organize themselves so that everyone could be heard well. When they have found the ‘sweet spots’, every song was recorded in no more than three or four tries, according to Michael Timmins’ memories, while the musicians incredibly understood each other in some subconscious level. The Trinity Sessions album became very popular, especially for the story following its origin. After 20 years The Cowboy Junkies returned to the Church to record the ‘Trinity Revisited’ song.