From left: Lenny Kaye, Bob Margouleff, Lee Foster, Tony Platt, Eddie Kramer, David Bialik, Janie Hendrix, John Storyk and Malcolm Cecil
Photo: Cheryl Fleming, cherphotos.com/architecture
Operating nonstop in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village for four decades, Electric Lady Recording Studios has been a remarkable landmark of the world audio scene almost since the day it opened on August 26, 1970.
Forty years later almost to the day, the N.Y. Section of the Audio Engineering Society hosted a special event at Electric Lady, ensuring that the studio’s noteworthy run—and incredible musical significance to artists, engineers, producers and listeners alike—would not be overlooked. For those lucky enough to be in attendance (the event sold out online just five minutes after it was announced), the evening proved to a fascinating and often emotional tribute to the studio and its founder, Jimi Hendrix.
The event began with a succinct studio history presented by Electric Lady’s architect, John Storyk of Walters-Storyk Design Group. “For the first time, an artist was building a studio,” Storyk said, as he explained how his own inspirations and Hendrix’s desire for circular design elements gelled to create its distinctive interior/exterior look.
Whether he wanted it or not, producer/engineer Eddie Kramer had center-stage status, often appearing overwhelmed as he recounted his experiences with Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and other iconic artists in the famously spacious control room. Bob Margouleff’s eyewitness account of the recording of “Superstition”—he assisted as Stevie Wonder assembled the hit piece by piece—was riveting, and a surprise appearance by his pioneering partner, Malcolm Cecil, elevated the night evening further. Hearing about the Electric Lady experiences of Tony Platt with AC/DC, along with Lenny Kaye on recording with Patti Smith, and current manager Lee Foster on his appreciation for the studio’s dedicated staff was equally satisfying.
The presence of Hendrix’s stepsister, Janie Hendrix, underscored the familial feel of the night. “His heartbeat, his spirit does live here,” she said.