photo by Sherman Willmott
BY Andria Lisle
On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 2, 2005, a fire broke out at the the Easley-McCain Recording Studio in Memphis, located on Deaderick Ave., near Lamar and Airways.
Luckily, no one was injured in the blaze, which began with a suspected power surge. While the studio's main room was undamaged, the lobby was gutted and much of the downstairs was decimated with fire, smoke, and water damage.
The echo chambers and the master tapes stored at this facility appear intact, but studio owners Doug Easley and Davis McCain won't know the full extent of damage until after an insurance inspection later this week.
Hundreds of acts have recorded at the studio, including the White Stripes (White Blood Cells), Pavement (Wowee Zowee), Sonic Youth (Washing Machine), Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (Extra Width), Guided By Voices, Modest Mouse, Cat Power, Rocket From the Crypt, Iggy Pop, Young Fresh Fellows, Mr. Airplane Man, and Sparklehorse.
Jeff Buckley, Charlie Feathers, and Townes Van Zandt recorded their last sessions here, while Memphis legends such as Alex Chilton, the Grifters, the Oblivians, Reigning Sound, the Tearjerkers, Tav Falco's Panther Burns, Impala, Big Ass Truck, Monsieur Jeffrey Evans & '68 Comeback, and many, many more, cut pivotal releases at the studio.
Most recently, Jack White and Loretta Lynn mixed the Grammy-winning Van Lear Rose at Easley-McCain.ADDITIONAL INFO from Chris Davis
Easley was originally designed for Chips Moman, the "Dark End of the Street," co-songwriter who produced some LARGE hits: Dusty Springfield's "Dusty in Memphis; a little tune called "Suspicious Minds." It was the first recording studio in Memphis that was actually built to be a recording studio. After Chips, it served as the Bar-Kays main joint for a while.
Even a short list of the artists and recordings that have come through after Doug Easley and Davis McCain took over will give you some idea of just how vital it's remained.
Sonic Youth, The White Stripes, John Spencer Blues Explosion, Guided By Voices, Pavement, Alex Chilton, The Grifters, The Gories, Cat Power, Wilco, Tav Falco, Silver Jews, Reigning Sound, American Death Ray, The Spinanes, Oblivians, Jeff Evans, Jeff Buckley ..... and on and on and on. I haven't even scratched the surface.
Loretta Lynn's Grammy Winning Van Lear Rose, produced by Jack White, was mixed at Easley. Jack and Loretta autographed the microwave oven.
Apparently no one was injured, and the studio's soundproof door stopped the flames -- but the devastation reportedly included considerable damage to the control room and consoles. .