Shangri La, Where to Start


When we first walked into Shangri La, it became painfully obvious to all of us that writing or recording music was at least six months down the road. Before any assessment could be made as to what might be done to turn the place back into a studio, there would need to be a massive clean-up.

The main studio room, which was originally built as a large, covered patio, is about thirty feet square. The floor was a concrete slab, the walls were tongue and groove cedar, and the roof started at ten feet and lofted to sixteen. There were four sky-lights and two big windows facing west. There was a “vocal booth” with an uneven plywood floor and no real walls to speak of, and another room with a washer and dryer which ultimately became our shop and mic locker. As you went out into the back yard, there were also two more rooms, the walls of which were half inch sheet-rock hanging on studs by a few nails. The floor plan had wonderful potential, but a great deal of work and materials would be needed to make it all work.

The control room was equally as difficult a proposition. The ceiling rose from six and a half feet at the back to just under eight up front where the main speakers would be installed. The wall where Jim intended to install the Big Red monitors was a joke. Someone had tacked up a few sheets of sheet-rock and cut holes into them for speakers. This room would have to be completely gutted in order for us to ascertain which walls and how much of them would work.

As to the technical aspects of the studio, The electric service was archaic and would require up-grading not only to insure relatively quiet operation of recording equipment, but also to insure that we wouldn’t have to sweep what was left of a musician under the console when the big zap hit. The entire building was grossly under-powered and there were serious grounding issues. There was no air conditioning, and the lighting would have to be redone.

Other than that, this was going to be a snap…