What's worth saving in rock and roll history?
The other day, Catherine and I were out for a Sunday adventure with our twin girls and we decided to check out The Bay Model, in Sausalito, CA. Sadly, it was closed and so we turned around and started to drive off to downtown Sausalito when I looked up and there before me with no fanfare whatsoever was The Record Plant, or rather the building that used to house The Record Plant. I recognized it because I recently read Making Rumours about the recording of Fleetwood Mac’s defining album and the book has more than a few few photos of the the famed studio. I turned to Catherine and told her I had to get a few photos. I mean, this was THE RECORD PLANT, birthplace of so much great music. After posing for a few snapshots, I turned around and fully took in the building. Rundown, a bit decrepit even, most certainly empty and looking very much out of hope for any sort of return to glory. How could this be? And I got to thinking...
Surely, it was worth saving, right? And surely there were rich musicians out there who had recorded at the place and seek its preservation and renewal, no? No and no.
First, music -- and all other art -- must always move forward. To constantly recreate the past or to live slavishly by its methods is a fool’s game. The point is to create something new or, at the very least, create something old in a new way. Besides, what’s a building? Just because you record at The Record Plant (one still operates in LA) doesn’t mean a thing, other than you’ve got a lot of money. Now, keep in mind, I’m a bit of a hypocrite. I record all my music at a historic San Francisco Studio on Hyde Street and I love that I’m doing my music there. But if it were to close and I were loaded would I buy it? Probably not. I’d build something new, something better, something with clean toilets.
Second, a rich musician did try to save The Record Plant in Sausalito but he failed. Here is his half-assed video effort:
That’s the best you’ve got, Mick? But maybe Mick’s effort lacked effort because he didn’t really believe in his pitch. Times change, the studios of yore have been largely replaced by home studios capable of way more sonic range and providing, possibly, better ambience. I mean, that was The Record Plant’s breakthrough, a comfortable environment (along with innovative drug delivery systems). And surely Mick knows all this — as do all his rich friends. Just as surely, he has a home studio that puts the Record Plant to shame and costs him nothing to run.
Time moves on. Yes, I was sad to see The Record Plant so long past its glory days. But new music glory days are happening elsewhere. That’s the way the world is. That’s the way art is. And that’s the way the world should be.