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RUSS GARY’S Recollections Part One


WHeider_585When Wally Heider was an assistant engineer at United/Western Studios on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, he was the biggest big band enthusiast on the planet and would take his portable tape recorder to gigs and record the show so the guys in the band could hear their performance. He kept the recordings for his own enjoyment. He made friends in all the big bands of the day, and when bands came to United/Western to record, they would ask for Wally as their engineer. Thus, Wally’s career took off.

Wally opened his first studio, Studio One – an overdub/mixing room, at the corner of Cahuenga and Selma in Hollywood. Remote recording came first, however, and other stories will be told about the company’s remote recording adventures.

Wally later built Studio Three at the same location. The story of Studio Three’s creation goes something like this: Bill Putnam’s Western Studio Three was one the hottest (most single hits) studios in town and Wally wanted that hit sound for his new room. He booked a half hour of time at Western Three, measured the room, copied the surfaces and control room as much as possible, and built his own Studio Three.

Continue reading RUSS GARY’S Recollections Part One

RUSS GARY’S Recollections Part Two

This is part two of this article. To see part one, go to

San Francisco

Russ Gary in Studio C in San Francisco, 1970

Between late 1968 and early 1969 I made several trips to San Francisco to help prepare the studios for opening day.

The original staff members included studio manager Mel Tanner, formerly an engineer at Coast Recorders in San Francisco. Ginger Mews ran the traffic office and Harry Sitam was the tech engineer. George Fernandez joined the group a short time prior to opening day. Although based in Hollywood, Frank DeMedio remained the chief tech engineer.

Wally put me up in the Lafayette Hotel (now the Midori) on Hyde Street, directly across from the studio. Well, the Lafayette was not exactly deluxe accommodations. I only slept in the Lafayette, however, and spent all my time working in the studios. Most weekends I went home to Southern California.

Continue reading RUSS GARY’S Recollections Part Two