The Rolling Stones' mobile recording studio, an iconic piece of rock and roll history, is being dusted off, revamped and restored for a future music venue in Calgary.
According to the Calgary Sun, the restoration project will see the mobile studio — which dates back to 1968 — brought back to working order.
The studio was purchased by the National Music Centre in 2000 but remained in storage since then. But now the idea is to get the recording studio in working order again under the direction of John Leimseider, the National Music Centre's electronics technician.
"It's spectacular — some of the most important albums of our musical lives were done on that," Leimseider told the publication. "This is a piece of major history that has to be protected to death, so my plan is a very conservative restoration. There are people who will take consoles and rewire everything — we're not changing anything, and the plan is to clean it up and make it work perfectly."
The mobile recording studio was used by the Stones when they wanted to record at Mick Jagger's country home. Former Stones piano player (and later road manager) Ian Stewart hired various engineers and producers to construct the console in the back of a van. The studio would be used for Led Zeppelin's III, IV, Houses Of The Holy and Physical Graffiti albums as well as the Rolling Stones classic Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main St. The Stones also used the studio for its massive 1969 Hyde Park concert held mere days following Brian Jones' death.
As well, Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water" and Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry" were also recorded using the studio. In fact, "Smoke On The Water" cites the mobile in its lyrics: "We all came out to Montreaux... to make records with a mobile." The studio was saved from the infamous fire which served as the basis for the Deep Purple tune.
The studio, which was used sporadically through the '80s and '90s mostly for broadcast quality recordings. In 1999 Matador Records used it for its 10th anniversary party before the National Music Centre purchased it in 2000.
"It will be a component of the new building — we'll have it parked by the King Eddy (King Edward Hotel) stage, and our hope is that it will be available for use on new recordings," the Centre's spokesperson Naomi Grattan said.
The National Music Centre is slated to open in 2015.