Hyde Street Studios is San Francisco's longest running multi-studio recording facility, founded in 1980 by a partnership of Dan Alexander, Tom Sharples, and current owner Michael Ward.
There is a great history of musicians that have recorded in the studios, from their days as Wally Heider Recording (1969-1980) to present day, including the Grateful Dead, Herbie Hancock, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, John Lee Hooker, Tupac, Dead Kennedys, Green Day, Train, Cake, and too many others to name.
These days, aside from an occasional major recording artist, most of the clientele are struggling local musicians. It is a mix of artists that represent the vibrant and resilient San Francisco music scene. Hyde Street Studios is one of very few remaining recording and music production facilities that artists can go to work on their music in San Francisco.
Coming into 2020, the studio was booked out for months solid and going strong. After the shelter in place order, all studio sessions were cancelled. Being in an industry that works on very small margins already, with the loss of these bookings, after 40 years of operation, we now find ourselves in a dire situation. This campaign will allow us to pay the bills to weather this crisis.
The studio has fostered a wonderful community of musicians, engineers and producers and we want to make sure it is still there for everyone on the other side of this pandemic.
We're also looking into every means of financial support for the business. Unfortunately, we've found that we're ineligible for some primary federal and city assistance grants and forgivable loans that many other small businesses are getting. In the recording industry, the engineers that work in recording studios are freelance workers, and having a traditional payroll staff is a requirement for these programs. There are other grants we've applied for, which of course we are not guaranteed to get, and certainly wouldn't meet our short-term needs. Because of this, we must ask for your support.
This is a strange and trying time for everyone, and we understand there are many people and institutions in need. We feel that Hyde Street Studios is a valuable asset in the San Francisco cultural landscape. If you’re in a position to support us we’ll be extremely thankful for your generosity. The donations to this campaign will address our immediate bills and allow us to continue after this pandemic, hopefully for another 40 years and beyond. If you could let others know about this campaign, we’ll greatly appreciate that too.
A Statement from Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon, Red House Painters)
Recording at Hyde Street Studios was a dream of mine that I was unable to afford until 1994, when my band at the time, Red House Painters, went to work on our fourth album, Ocean Beach.
An easy walk down the hill from where I live in San Francisco, Hyde Street Studios became the place where some portion of almost every studio album I made, since that time, was recorded.
From Ocean Beach (1994) to Mark Kozelek with Ben Boye and Jim White 2 (2020), I've shared various sessions there
with musicians including Alan Sparhawk, Stephanie Finch, Steve Shelley, Donny McCaslin and Mike Patton. The recording engineers I've worked with there are A-list; Mark Needham (Chris Isaac), Billy Anderson (Mr. Bungle, Sleep, Neurosis) and Nathan Winter, who has been on board with me from Mark Kozelek and Jimmy Lavalle - Perils From The Sea moving forward (Nathan also worked alongside Eddie Kramer at Hyde Street Studios, assisting on mixing Jimi Hendrix's Winterland).
All one needs to do is walk down it's halls to see the building's history. Framed albums include Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's De Ja Vu, Tupac Shakur's Tupacalypse Now, and most albums by The Dead Kennedys. I've recorded many of my vocals in the same spot where Grace Slick sang 'White Rabbit."
Throughout the years it was not uncommon to see various legends who made Hyde Street Studios their home, like Michael Franti, George Clinton and our beloved friend Butch (RIP) who looked out for us. I even showed Linda Ronstadt around the kitchen area while I was working on Sun Kil Moon's April in studio A and she was working upstairs in Studio D.
With the ever-changing climate of the music industry - including a serious decline of physical album sales - I saw Hyde Street Studios survive obstacles that other local studios did not. Now they've come upon their toughest battle with the coronavirus. With musicians out of live income and the economy being what it is, record labels are now wary to fund projects that cannot be promoted by tours.
Many people have asked what's kept me in San Francisco - a city that I've fallen a little out of touch with - with the boom of technology. I always say the same thing: "Swan Oyster Depot, my apartment, and Hyde Street Studios."
I recorded there very recently and I'm going to do what I can to help keep the place going. I mean, what is San Francisco, without Hyde Street Studios? A place to hang my hat and get good Oysters? Fuck that. Please help us to help Hyde Street Studios.
If you can afford it, please buy an album that was recorded at Hyde Street Studios, or fill the room the next time Chuck Prophet, Michael Franti, or Sun Kil Moon gets the green light to play live concerts. And we'll all be back there, making music, like we always did.
- EMILY PITCHER
- Janice Schreibman
- Stephen Simpson
- Stephen Simpson
San Francisco, CA