Shipwreck Studio Fire Restoration

$5,328 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 57 people in 47 months
Paige Blacklock
on behalf of Jonah Strauss
Early on March 21st, a fire struck the warehouse that has been home to Jonah Strauss’ Shipwreck Studios since 2008. The fire began in the unit directly above the studio. In less than an hour, it claimed two lives, and displaced dozens of people, as well as several independent printing presses and artists.

Jonah’s recording studio and home suffered severe water damage, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars in losses. Much of it is rare and irreplaceable vintage equipment that he has collected and refurbished over the years.

Already, the community has rallied around Jonah and other residents, helping them to sort through the massive damage and begin the long process of restoring those items which can be saved.

Jonah built Shipwreck Studios to offer high-quality analog recording services to independent musicians in our community, and has been doing so for years. He has offered these services at costs that local artists can afford, and will continue doing so. We are asking you to help him restore the beautiful, meticulously crafted space that he has spent almost a decade building, so that he can keep doing the work he loves in our community.

Shipwreck Studio Website:


Working Class Audio interview with Jonah speaking about the fire and the aftermath:

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First of all, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has donated to the GoFundMe thus far. Without you it would be impossible to continue our mission of providing the best possible live and in-studio recordings of local independent music at a reasonable price point.

The East Bay punk community has been instrumental in drawing attention to the plight of the residents and businesses affected by the fire and ensuing flood. Two benefit shows were recently held at the 924 Gilman Street collective, the latter of which was headlined by none other than the famous punk band Green Day. While many news outlets covered the show and neglected to mention beneficiaries outside of our beloved 1984 Printing and AK Press, both housed in the 23rd Street building, a brief Twitter campaign did succeed in having Shipwreck mentioned in Rolling Stone.

Jonah’s studio-hopping has landed him at Santo Studio at Sycamore and West in Oakland, through the month of August. Santo is a converted auto body shop with high ceilings that shares a similar mission and price structure as Shipwreck. The live room is beautifully appointed with reclaimed wood and vintage upholstery, and Jonah recently revamped the secondary control room to accommodate professional recording, mixing, and mastering sessions. It’s quite snazzy; tell your musician friends!

While Jonah continues to work in exile, the owner of the 24th Street building that houses Shipwreck has stymied the rebuilding process that could allow residents to return and continue their lives in a reasonable amount of time. The water, power, and gas services to the building are still shut off. There has been no settlement reached between the landlord’s insurance provider and independent insurance adjuster. While a structural review has been completed of the burned unit that sits immediately above Shipwreck, no work has begun to make the roof and exterior wall structurally sound.

While we wait to exercise our legal right to return to the building at our current rent, the search is well underway for a building that could potentially house Shipwreck, Jonah, and an additional apartment in the long term. The ideal building would be a 3500 square foot brick-and-timber structure that has had its seismic retrofit done, west of Lake Merritt in Oakland. Also appropriate would be a mixed-use parcel with a church (or warehouse) and a duplex already built on the property.

Such properties do exist on the market and may be within reach with a first-time-homeowner loan or SBA loan. However, given the competition and pricing inherent in the current explosive Bay Area real estate market, it has become clear that the most efficient way to purchase an affordable property and the ensuing custom studio build-out is by buying at a commercial foreclosure auction. This requires cash on hand, and approval for a significant construction loan. We are currently researching local organizations who can aid in the formation of a business plan and income model, and are actively looking for an angel investor whose mission aligns with that of the studio.

Please do share the GoFundMe link on social media. We are greatly indebted to you for your support.

924 Gilman:
Santo Studio:
Rolling Stone coverage:
AK Press Gofundme:
1984 Printing Gofundme:
Santo Studio secondary control room
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To everyone who has donated, monetarily or otherwise, thanks again for your support. Unfortunately, progress on the studio has been slow. Over a month after the fire, the 669/671 24th St. warehouse is still red-tagged. Much of the Shipwreck gear is sitting in the building under tarps, awaiting repair.

No funds are being used until studio rehabilitation can begin. However, Jonah is continuing to work as much as possible at local studios. Ryan Massey has been kind enough to lend space to Jonah for April at Sharkbite Studio, where he just mixed and mastered the new B. Hamilton album. He’s also been mixing the latest Cash Pony LP at Santo Studio.

Eastbay Express article documenting what’s happened since the fire:

Tenant letter to the landlord:
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First off, a huge thank you to everyone who has donated so far. We’re extremely grateful for your support. Every little amount is going to make a difference in getting Shipwreck back up and running.

Here’s a run down on what’s happened since the fire. The building was red tagged soon after the event. The entire tenancy is still - after over two weeks - not legally allowed to enter or exit their homes. This is a mandate by the City, who are waiting on the landlord to do the required inspections and minor fixes. Power, water, and gas are still off. The tenants were all asked by the landlord to take their belongings and move out - permanently - right after the tragic fire of March 21st that claimed the lives of two community members.

The majority of Jonah's water-damaged studio gear is still sitting in the space. The studio has been dismantled and is awaiting technical service. Many key elements were saved and Jonah has been recording, mixing, and mastering elsewhere. He has received great support from folks at other local studios so he can continue to work.
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$5,328 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 57 people in 47 months
Created April 3, 2015
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Eliana Southworth
46 months ago

Wish I could give more! Love, E

Debbie Ohnstein Koller
46 months ago

I'm so sorry this happened. I wish I had more to give.

46 months ago
Linda and Andy Jason Fischer
46 months ago

May you have the strength to rebuild and move forward.

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