700 West Recording was a place that catered to the musician. Plenty of area studios
back in '72 were doing the commercial thing. That's where the money was. But there was
a big vacuum in affordable locations for bands to cut a quality demo. This was to be our
The demo tape was our specialty, although many albums & singles were generated during
our 12 years of existence.- just check the "Albums/Singles" section of the site! And with my
electronics background, I wound up doing my share of instrument and amp repair - many
times before sessions. I also did a bit of custom electronics fabrication for our clients.
It also seemed that the groups were constantly needing lead sheets of their original tunes for
copyright purposes. We handled that, too, even writing the occasional resume and letter of
recommendation for our friends! Many nights our clients shared the dinner table with my
family. If the weather was bad, they slept over. To clear their heads between cuts, they
messed with our horses, goats and chickens. We were a mini "full service" operation!
700 West was privileged to record a high ratio of original material - very few of our groups
did many 'cover' tunes. (Thank god! Three hearings of "Smoke On The Water" was
plenty!) This exposure to so much excellent original material led to our becoming an
ASCAP music publisher, enrolling many of the best area writers into the association. Many
received airplay royalty checks for their efforts! And we constantly attempted to hook up
the best material with major publishers by keeping countless demo tapes in circulation.
We did all types of material at 700 West: funk; hard rock; country rock; gospel (all styles!),
some jazz (jazz groups didn't record often); bluegrass (the most difficult gig for me to do
properly, as it's generally a one-take live recording session with a room full of performers);
a bit of country (area country artists tended to record in N'ville): ethnic; and even a classical
demo or two. Among our best efforts was a 16-piece big band gig. But the only way I
would tackle it was to overdub by section. There was no way to fit the whole group into our
small recording area!
In our later years we did dabble in commercials, mostly speculative stuff done by some of
our best bands venturing into this field. Surprisingly, a couple of these efforts for an area
cab company and shoe store aired for more than a decade - long after we closed up shop.
And the spec commercial for Auto-Owners Insurance went national and is still running on TV!
("...the No Problem People...")
I hope Dave Lovell is being compensated for his efforts on this one!
Did we record anybody famous? Maybe. The Wright Brothers did some work with us (I
even installed one of my acoustic guitar pickups in one of their axes.) Russell Peck is now
an established classical composer, although his demo cut at our place was parody stuff.
David Bowie's wife dropped in to watch Russ' group record. We worked with national
artists the Vanguards and Ebony Rhythm Funk Campaign. Gospel writer/performer Aaron
Wilburn did a little work here. Babyface sang backup on a few funky party/dance cuts.
Members of the Faith and Roadmaster bands (regional heroes) did session work with us.
Many that passed through our portals are still earning a good living as studio musicians.
While we were in business, 700 West was proud to be labeled the 'most aired' studio in the
region. It figures. On recent listening, the stuff still sounds good!
In 1983 it all came to an end. The recession caught up with the music business. I guess I
could see it coming. The large horn bands of the early and mid '70s became quartets, then
trios. Even single acts were becoming popular. The area clubs, with their diminishing
clientele, couldn't afford to pay the large bands anymore. With too few bands needing club
demos, 700 West closed up shop in December '83. But our last band's video made it on to
We must've done some things right. Anything recorded on the 700 West label apparently
has an underground following. LPs in sealed condition now command upwards of $1000,
depending on the group recorded! A 1st reissue of the Zerfas album has already happened,
with a 2nd in the works. A legitimate reissue of the Primevil album will happen soon (it was
pirated back in '86, I heard). Kevin Stonerock is now re-releasing his "Day Before
Tomorrow" on CD. Hang in, there! There's more to come from 700 West!