All posts by Stephen Barncard

Record Producer. Inventor. Geek. Lover of Rats.

Photo Gallery now ONLINE

The Recording Wally Heider Photo Gallery

The Heider photo gallery is now online. I posted the first gallery, a few shots I took during NRPS, Crosby, Dead and Brewer and Shipley sessions. Coming soon is a series of photos taken by Lesley Barncard at a Booker T. and the MGs session in Heider’s 4 in LA in 1976.

If you have photos of the interiors of WHR studios, or happy people recording there, please consider contributing. Also I really need some good photos of Wally. All I have still is the one I colorized for the banner – stolen from a 1975 Shure microphone ad. A nice portrait and some photos of Wally interacting with clients, by the remote truck, early years at United-Western, on the road recording Woody, etc. Blank track sheets would be cool, and I’m looking for a clean copy of the ‘oscilliscope’ WHR logo that was seen on mid-70s adhesive tape box stickers.

A separate registration is needed for the photo gallery uploading – WordPress and Gallery are not integrated, but you are free to use the same user/passwords during your registration (the Gallery will send you an email with your temp password, then you can go to the Gallery and change it to whatever you like. After registering, I’ll approve and upgrade your membership for posting.

Please contribute! If you have material and don’t have access to a scanner, let me know. I can do that for you. I’m located in San Francisco.

stephen barncard

When Vinyl Ruled, 2000-AES

For all those of you that really enjoy “swingin’ vu meters” and did not have the opportunity to visit the “When Vinyl Ruled” exhibit at the 109th AES Convention held in Los Angeles from 2000 Sept 22…25, here is a brief recap of what went on. The event was sponsored by the AES Historical Committee chaired by Jay McKnight, and was organized by Irv Joel and Paul McManus. The core team included Irv Joel, Paul McManus, Jim Webb, Shelley Herman, John Chester, and David Baker.

Paul brought two of his tape recorders: a 288 pound 1963 Ampex Model 300 3-track one-half inch tape recorder, and a 1957 Ampex Model 350 2-track one-quarter inch tape recorder; also 3 Altec 604 speakers, 3 McIntosh tube power amplifiers, and various period piece displays and exhibits. The real star of the show was a 1960 custom built Universal Audio (UA) 12 input by 3 output vacuum tube recording console designed by Bill Putnam, and built in the attic next to the echo chambers of United Recording at 6050 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. This console was the original remote recording console from United (now Ocean Way) and Western (now Cello) studios, which were originally owned, designed and built by Putnam.

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Barncard Talks about the early days at Heiders SF

This is an excerpt from an unfinished and as yet incomplete interview with Stephen Barncard conducted by Matt Greenwald in 1998. Parts One, Two and Three of the interview can be found at the Barncard site.

This excerpt picks up where Barncard is answering a question about his 6 month residence in LA in 1968.

A: Sunset Sound was about four blocks away, and we were about two blocks down from Heider’s on Cahuenga. Had I known, I would have been knocking on the doors and just asked for a job, but I didn’t know where to start. There was a demand for someone like me in independent recording and they needed people, but I didn’t know that at the time.

Q: This must have been around the time CSN were recording their first album, right?

A: Yeah, right around that time they were doing their first record with Bill Halverson but I didn’t know that, and I was a bit unsure about LA, anyway. When my girlfriend, Ellen Burke came out to join me for Christmas, we got fearful of earthquakes and decided to go back to Kansas City by way of San Francisco. When we got up there, it was really more of what I was looking for. The air was cleaner, the musical atmosphere better — What a city!

During this trip, I saw The Grateful Dead for the first time on New Year s eve–(December 31, 1968) at The Fillmore. I had never liked their records very much. Seeing them live, I went “Woah! Who’s that groovy guy with the beard singing ‘St. Stephen’ and ‘Dark Star’?” It was great. I actually taped it. I had a little Norelco tape recorder with an SM 57. I guess I was one of the first tapers, it just wasn’t a big deal back then, nobody minded. I wish I still had the tape; it was either stolen or lost. Anyway, the show left an impression on me. So did San Francisco. My girlfriend and I went back to Kansas City for a little while, I went back to KUDL/KCJC-FM and then that first CSN record came out.

Q: This is mid-1969, right?

A: Right. And I heard those voices and said, “My god, they got a 16 track!”. I could tell that they doubled or tripled the voices…plus the guitars, plus the bass, etc. So after 6 months in Kansas City, I decided that if I wanted to make records, I had to get back to the West Coast. I had to make a choice: East Coast, Woodstock, or West Coast, Bill Graham’s ‘Wild West.’ I blew off Woodstock, flew to San Francisco, stayed with some friends, grabbed a phone book and opened it up to ‘recording studios’, and I saw Wally Heider’s listed and thought, ‘okay, this is only a few blocks away.’ I went over there and talked to a very nice guy named Mel Tanner who was the general manager, and he gave me a tour of the place. They had one studio operating, which was Studio C. Studios A and D were still under construction.

Continue reading Barncard Talks about the early days at Heiders SF

GOOD TIME MUSIC: The Early Days of Kama Sutra

The Kama Sutra/Buddah Records Story
By Bob Hyde
Last update: April 11, 2000

This story is copyright © 1993 by Bob Hyde, and is used by permission of the author.

Charting the history of any record label — much less two or three — is a precarious occupation at best. A hit record makes ordinary people heroes while a stiff causes the arrow of blame to spin madly, looking for a suitable target. Some success in the music business comes from sheer luck; some is the result of hard, diligent work, and some comes from what can only be described as a “genius” for the medium.