Jimi Hendrix and the Record Plant
There are few more iconic figures in American counterculture than Jimi Hendrix, and Rolling Stone Magazine has an article on its website about how the legendary guitarist and underground figure helped found the Record Plant, the New York City recording studio that was one of the most important and state-of-the art facilities in the pop and rock music scenes of late 1960’s and early 1970’s. In particular, the article examines how Hendrix formed a creative partnership with recording engineer Gary Kellgren to create a new kind of recording space, a studio that had a party atmosphere rather than one of a science lab.
Hendrix, despite his obvious talent and growing stardom, felt that he had been treated poorly by producers early in his career when he was working with his Jimmy Hendrix Experience band. Essentially, producers treated him like an employee rather than a partner and basically told him what to do in the studio with the goal of producing pop records quickly with an emphasis on profit over artistry. In Kellgren, with whom Hendrix had worked with in England, Hendrix believed that he had found a kindred spirit who was all about developing the music and vibe first and pleasing record-buying teenagers second.
Accordingly, the two created the Record Plant in 1968, where Hendrix would jam and party through the night with friends and hangers-on until he felt the music was where it should be. Not everyone involved with Hendrix liked this relaxed approach to recording – bassist Noel Redding, for example, hated it and stormed out of the Record Plant – but Hendrix made his most commercially successful record to date, “All Along the Watchtower” at the facility. Eventually, Hendrix and Kellgren parted ways as the latter moved on to create new studios in other cities, but Hendrix used what he had learned from his Record Plant experience when he put together his new recording space, Electric Ladyland Studio.