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Old 01-26-2015, 07:48 PM   #1
charlene
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Default Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

http://www.thespec.com/whatson-story...don-lightfoot/

Hamilton Spectator
By Graham Rockingham
Hamilton's Grant Avenue Studio is offering an intimate musical evening with Gordon Lightfoot and a personal recording workshop with Daniel Lanois as part of a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for badly needed renovations to its 100-year-old building.

Grant Avenue owner Bob Doidge, who is launching the Kickstarter campaign Tuesday, said the Edwardian house that is home to the studio in downtown Hamilton requires more than $100,000 worth of renovations.

The campaign has a minimum goal of $20,000 which would cover the cost of a new heating and air conditioning system. That threshold has to be reached within 30 days to make the campaign successful. Money raised beyond that will go toward new floors and ceilings, plumbing upgrades, foundation work and landscaping.

To help achieve the goal, Doidge has enlisted the support of two old friends — Lanois, the Grammy-winning producer of U2, Peter Gabriel and Bob Dylan who founded the studio in 1976; and Lightfoot, whose last three albums were produced there.

For a pledge of $2,000, a Lightfoot fan can be one of 12 people with a seat at an in-studio performance by Lightfoot, backed by his guitarist Carter Lancaster and bassist Rick Haynes. The session also includes a meet-and-greet with the legendary Canadian singer-songwriter.

A pledge of $1,000 will give donors a master recording class conducted in the studio by Lanois, considered one of the world's top producers and sound engineers. The session, which includes lunch, is limited to 10 people.

"I sheepishly called Gord's office to see if he would be interested," Doidge said. "He called back shortly after and said 'I'm in, we've got to save this place.' When I called Dan, he said 'Yes' right off the bat."

For $500, Doidge is also offering to personally conduct a workshop on his specialty, recording acoustic instruments such as guitars, harps and grand pianos.

The studio is also offering several smaller pledge packages — $50 will get your name on the studio website, $100 will get your name on a plaque near the studio's front entrance, $250 buys a workshop with a modular synthesizer expert, and $300 will entitle you to a limited number of autographed albums by Lanois and Lightfoot.

Doidge, who has owned or co-owned the studio since 1985, said the building has not undergone major renovations in almost 40 years. Although the studio operation continues to be financially viable, Doidge said he decided to go with a Kickstarter campaign for the renovations rather than raise hourly recording rates.

"What you'll find in this studio is the same equipment you'd find in a studio in New York City or Nashville," Doidge said. "But the rates are substantially lower here. We want to keep it affordable so that local musicians can continue to record here."

Grant Avenue producer and sound engineer Amy King-White said she and Doidge considered moving the studio to a newer building, but felt another location could never match the history of Grant Avenue where U2, Johnny Cash, Bruce Cockburn, Raffi, The Tea Party, Collective Soul, the Cowboy Junkies, Los Lobos and Prairie Oyster have recorded.

"We still have a lot of people who want to come here because of the heritage of this building," King-White said.

A link to the crowd-funding campaign can be found on the Grant Avenue website, grantavenuestudio.com, starting Tuesday, Jan. 27.


grockingham@thespec.com

905-526-3331 | @RockatTheSpec
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

for updates: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...sical-legacy-a
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

I talked to Bob last Wednesday and he told me about this effort. Now to come up with $2,000 LOL ...
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Old 02-02-2015, 12:31 AM   #4
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I posted this at the various Lightfoot Facebook pages and I know of 6 people who saw it of and signed up..All 12 spots are sold.
Do I get a finder's fee/seat?
lol
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Old 02-02-2015, 01:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

Yep, I think they should let you in!
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

Well tonight's the night ... met up with Bob Doidge last night and -- I don't know if he was joking -- he said he was hiring an off-duty police officer to stand at the door and make sure no "wackos" tried to get in or anything. Not sure if he was referring to we Lightheads. Anyway, might make a drive-by to try to catch Gord going in. And hope I don't get classified as a wacko LOL.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:54 PM   #7
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a few folks at the FB sites are going and will have reports too... should be an interesting evening..
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:04 PM   #8
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PHOTOS COURTESY OF DANIEL SWARTZ and staff at the event. (blurry images due to no flash) Daniel is on his way home and will write up a report asap.
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

more
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

more pics;
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:33 PM   #11
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more:ic of guitar: Bob Doidge took this guitar out of the case and it was stunning. This is the Gordon Lightfoot prototype #2, and is Gordon's guitar. He does not use Gordon Lightfoot prototype#1, as it turns out. Prototype#1 was delivered by UPS, and when the box was opened the guitar was in many pieces. They returned it to Martin Guitar where it was repaired and put on display. There were 61 others made and sold.
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:10 AM   #12
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

I couldn't sneak in past the off-duty cop at the door ... they were checking photo ID LOL
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Old 04-11-2015, 01:31 PM   #13
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Also very cool that he brought the whole "orchestra" with him!
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Old 04-11-2015, 08:26 PM   #14
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Michael and Barry were the surprise guests! lol
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:12 AM   #15
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MORE from Daniel: As promised, here is the rest of the story...
This is long. Some (all?) of you may find this kind of boring, but I wanted to put down as much as I could, what I felt comfortable sharing, and you can skip through the stuff that you think is less than interesting. Thanks.

Bob Doidge did an introduction, asked us to make sure all of our phones were turned off, as any electronic signal would be picked up by the sound equipment and mess up the recording. I think it was Bob who explained that Barry would be playing the percussion box (I'm sure there's a more technical name for it), because the drum set in the studio was in a completely different room way behind us. Turns out that Barry had actually invented this device and it functioned somewhat like a metronome, laying down a beat as needed. Very cool thing, about the size of a large bread box (if any of you remember how big they were).

I neglected to mention previously that, aside from the 12 of us and the band, Gordon’s daughter Meredith was there, as well as his wife. Rick Haynes’ wife was there as well, and maybe a couple of other people.
As we settled in for the session, all of the band members were in place, and seated left to right were Barry Keane on the drum/percussion box; Mike Heffernan on keyboard; Rick Haynes on bass; and Carter Lancaster on lead guitar. Gordon walked in and said “hey," wearing jeans and sneakers and looking very relaxed. And handsome (of course). He had three guitars all set in front of him, a 6-string and two 12-strings. I don’t know the names of the guitars, but my guess is that they were all Martin guitars (out of Nazareth, Pennsylvania).

The set, kindly provided to me by Amy King of Grant Avenue Studio:
1. Sweet Guinevere
2. The Watchman’s Gone
3. Waiting for You
4. Now and Then
5. Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
6. Restless
7. Drifters
8. Let it Ride
9. If You Could Read My Mind
10. Shadows
11. Ribbon of Darkness
12. Sundown
13. Early Morning Rain

Gordon thanked us for supporting the studio. [Note: It is a great little studio. I didn’t really get much of a tour, but could have if I had had my wits about me. I was in dreamland and somewhat dissociated from reality, if you know what I mean. But as the studio is set-up, the recording room is up front, then the actual room where the performance took place was next down the hall (see, I don’t know what these rooms are called), and then after that was a smaller room (which they used for refreshments (finger food and very nice wines), and last, in the rear, was the drum room. To think of the wonderful sounds that have come out of these rooms over the years, I am just amazed. Kudos to everyone at Grant Avenue Studio. By the way, the building is 100 years old!]

Gordon’s voice was great. If you’ve seen him in concert over the years, you are aware of how his voice has changed. He can’t hit the high notes (I’m almost 60, used to sing tenor, and I can’t hit them either). But the incredible quality is there. Even though he was using a mic for the actual recording aspect, I was sitting 8 feet away and it was clear and incredibly beautiful. It was like sitting with your buddies in a garage band and being able to just parse out the non-amplified from the amplified. But MUCH better acoustics than a garage! Hard to explain, especially since my mechanics of music sucks and is non-existent.

Gordon spoke to us after each song. He imparted some thoughts about the song, a bit of history if relevant, and some of the mechanics (which were lost on me). One thing I did find extremely interesting is that Gordon explained that he played his songs in five different keys on the guitar. He ran through the keys, and I could immediately pick up songs of his that were in the various keys. You music and guitar people out there may want to elaborate on that – I’m not doing it justice. He also explained some of his quirks, one of which has to do with the rigging of his guitars – it was very technical (to me). I am going to see if I can at least get a transcript of his remarks from Grant Avenue Studio – I will share with you all if I can get the details.

It was probably midway through the set, during one of the songs, when Gordon turned around to the recording room and asked for some water. Amy ran up a bottle, as did Rick after the song. Gordon explained that he was still getting over his recent illness, which he made very clear was not due to food poisoning. He had an intestinal occlusion, and I guess he was trying to tell us he was not 100% better. That’s okay Gordon – you sounded great!

On one of the songs, it may have been “If You Could Read My Mind,” Carter was doing some weird kind of reverb during the song’s refrain. He was catching some strange glances from the other band members, and I was thinking “is he trying to CHANGE this song!?!” Well, after the session was over, and after almost everyone left, a small group of us were sitting and drinking wine and Amy/Bob explained that the battery on his pedal was dying and thus the funky sound. Phew.

Gordon played the full version of most of songs in the set, but we all got a chuckle when he said he was going to play a shortened version of “Ribbon of Darkness” and then segue right into “Sundown.” As you all recall the last line of Ribbon is “ribbon of darkness ---- over me.” So Gordon shortened it by ending right before “over me,” which I thought was a great joke. Everyone laughed, I commented “big time saver,” and then they went right into “Sundown.”


part 2 - next post
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:13 AM   #16
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part 2

After the set was over, Gordon came right up to all of us (while the band broke down the equipment), and engaged us in some nice conversation. He mentioned he wanted to take a brief break and come back but that never happened. He just stayed. I wish he had gone ahead and taken a breather, but I think we kind of just sucked him in with conversation and questions that he felt compelled to stay in the studio. We all met him one by one, posed for pictures, and had him sign some things. Like a dumb dumb I whipped out my professional-type camera and began shooting pics and didn’t realize until much later that I hadn’t flipped up the flash. Duh!

Anyway, when I met Gordon I practically bowed, shook his hand, and told him what a tremendous honor it was to meet him. The fellow from Montreal (can’t remember his name) took my pic with Gordon using my iPhone, which is not so good for taking quality pics. I was talking with Gordon, telling him my story about following him since 1969, and that the first concert I saw was in 1976, when I in the US Air Force and stationed at Duluth, Minnesota. This was right after “Wreck” came out, and I distinctly remember that concert because of the hecklers.
Yeah, I know, hecklers at a Gordon Lightfoot concert – what?!? I asked Gordon if he remembered several people at the concert shouting out, as he sang “Wreck,” about capitalizing on the terrible tragedy. It is important to note that Duluth, Minnesota/Superior, Wisconsin were home to a number of the men that went down on the Edmund Fitzgerald. So there were some raw feelings in the audience. Of course they didn’t know how gracious Gordon (and the band) were/are and what happened to the proceeds from “Wreck,” with a great deal donated to maritime organization(s) in the area. As I was telling Gordon how shocked I was by the hecklers that night, he remarked that these things kind of “go with the territory.” Very gracious.

On a side note, when I was in the US Air Force I worked as a weather observer, and was stationed in Duluth, Minnesota at the time that the Edmund Fitzgerald went down. We monitored all maritime chatter as it played into our weather observations and forecasting. I was working the night the Fitz went down, and clearly remember the radio transmissions from Capt. McSorley. It was eerie. Little did I know that Gordon would later memorialize the tragedy. Wow.

As for signing, I brought a number of clipping from Billboard, Rolling Stone, and other trade magazines that I had saved over the years. My favorite one-page clippings and a couple of mini-posters. Probably ten in all – I realized that there was no way I was going to ask him (and the band) to sign all of them, so I picked two. He signed both, one to me and the other to my son, Empoy (who happens to be deaf and has never heard anything he’s played). I probably shook Gordon’s hand about 5 times – yeah, I was a bit nutty. I wanted to hug Gordon but for some reason I didn’t. Oh well. I didn’t want to hog Gordon’s time so excused myself so he could move onto others there. Of course!

A few people did not bring anything to sign, so I asked them to please pick something from what I brought with me. So we all walked away with some cool, signed stuff.
As for the other band members, Barry Keane left rather quickly and I never got a chance to meet him. So did Carter, but I did manage to meet him and shake his hand – no autograph. I spoke with Rick and Mike for a bit. Both were so very nice. Mike and I were talking about the various venues where they played and the acoustics of some of the places, how some were much better than others. Most of that conversation is a fog right now. Rick and I spoke briefly about the parking lot next to Grant Avenue Studio (of all things!). Now related to that, when I pulled into the very narrow parking lot before the session (about 7:30) I grabbed one of the last parking spaces, right next to this huge Dodge truck that was the size of a tank. It must have been a ¾ ton, long cab, etc. Anyway, I barely got around this truck to park my car diagonally. As I parked I said to myself “I just know this person is going to hit me when they try to get out of here.” Anyway, I was telling Rick this saga and he said “Oh, that’s my truck” or something to that effect. Funny. I asked him to be careful when he pulled out – or did I? Can’t remember. I probably said something fairly dumb.

Oh, Rick and Mike also signed my stuff for me and my son. Very cool.
As for the other 11 lucky people there, I met most of them. I met Harry, Joan, Helena, and Lydia, as well as others whose names I cannot remember. I am awful with names. I don’t know how this happened, but everyone seemed to have left with the exception of me and Lydia (of the 12), Bob, Amy, Chris (Amy’s husband?), and a fellow who I do not know, did not meet, but has to be part of the inner circle of Gordon Lightfoot.

I was getting ready to leave and Amy said “Don’t go, join us for some wine. Chris is going to break out this wonderful ’98 red” or something to that effect. I’m no fool, I did not leave, and went back to the room where the wine and food were. Sure enough, there was THE wine, and I poured myself a glass and sat in a kind of semi-circle with those above. By the way, the wine was the best wine I have EVER had – wow! Anyway, we were all talking about the studio, their hopes for things to come, and other small talk.

Bob Doidge and the “fellow I don’t know” where exchanging some technical stuff which was interesting but went completely over my head. Bob also opened up a guitar case and showed us this beautiful guitar commissioned for Gordon by Martin Guitar (I posted a pic of this previously). I don’t play the guitar, but I can appreciate the beauty of this guitar – wow!

I eventually left, basically because I felt these people must be tired. As I was leaving a met Bob Doidge on the sidewalk returned from a short walk. He stopped me and engaged me in conversation. Such a nice guy. Bob is an amazing musician in his own right – an honor to meet him for sure.

I then walked to my car. Oh, Rick did a good job pulling out of his parking space. Jake (my dog) was happy to see me!

Last, I want to say how thankful I am to Grant Avenue Studio, Gordon Lightfoot and his band, and to everyone else who made this night possible. I am very lucky, I know it, and I wish you all could have been there with me.
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:35 PM   #17
T.G.
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

I see mention of "recording" ... the evening was preserved? Would be nice to hear the performance.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:18 PM   #18
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

the recording was for Gordon to have...and as usual we'll probably never hear it..lol..
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:11 AM   #19
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

Hi Char, how are ya? John Rowlands has been sharing some of his collection and this GL pic I wanted to share with CORFID members. the Quality has JR's eye stamped all over it . I met John last Feb when I was was doing my Beatles 50th Anniversary gig(Twist & Shout release) I was introduced to him and didnt know his work but had seen so many of his pics with The Beatles, Stones, Bowie etc. had a chat about copy rights etc his last words were Let 'er' roll! Anyway just wanted to share.not letting me upload. try later..its looks like its included as attachment...Later sweetie going for meds & nap
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:57 PM   #20
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

Quote:
Originally Posted by mandomyk View Post
its included as attachment...Later sweetie going for meds & nap
Nice one Myk
Yer Tis using the traditional "insert image" facility which still works unlike the completely useless broken thumbnail "system"
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:34 PM   #21
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

Thanks for sharing your story of the Grant Ave event. From the photos, GL looks good, and I'm glad to hear his voice sounded well. I laughed at your remark about wanting to "bow" to GL when you were introduced. Good to know I'm not the only person who would feel that way!
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Old 06-30-2015, 12:03 PM   #22
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Default Re: Intimate musical evening with Gordon at Grant Ave.Studios

update of reno work and thankyou list at end of video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkmD7...ature=youtu.be
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Old 10-20-2016, 09:03 PM   #23
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http://www.thespec.com/whatson-story...-grant-avenue/

Bob Doidge remembers the day when the limo parked in front of the Grant Avenue Studio and the man-in-black stepped out.

RELATED STORIES

1976: Lanois’ Grant Avenue Studio...
"We see the door open," Doidge recalls. "He stands in the doorway. He fills the doorway … and he says, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."

It was the mid-'80s. The great country music legend had been hired by Canada Trust to be the spokesman for their revolutionary new product — the ATM machine. It was to be known as the "Johnny Cash Money Machine."

"We had to do a track of "I Walk the Line" which he would talk over. He also played guitar on it," explains Doidge, owner of Grant Avenue. "He spent the day in here filming that commercial and telling stories. He was just a wonderful guy."

Doidge and longtime recording engineer Amy King are sitting in front of the studio's vintage MCI 500C console — it's the same model used by the Eagles' and the Bee Gees — reminiscing about the studio's storied history. Amy's rather large German shepherd named Windsor lies asleep on the floor.

This year marks Grant Avenue's 40th anniversary. Doidge and King are holding an open house on the night of Sunday, Oct. 23, to celebrate. They have reason to be proud.

Over those four decades, the modest two-storey Edwardian house just south of Main Street has played host to some of big names. Their pictures adorn the walls — U2, Gordon Lightfoot, Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno, Raffi, Downchild, Long John Baldry, Cowboy Junkies, Prairie Oyster, Parachute Club and Bruce Cockburn to name a few.

"The problem is we don't have enough wall space," says King, a Newfoundland native who has worked at the studio for 16 years. "We have an attic full of pictures we want to hang from back then to stuff that's happening now."

A visitor points to an autographed photograph of U2 frontman Bono.

"We also have a picture of him (Bono) sitting right where you're sitting now," King says.

Adds Doidge: "The whole band was here. They recorded the band tracks for 'Unforgettable Fire' at Slane Castle (in Ireland), then flew over here. They were here for a while doing vocals, overdubs and mixes." The sophisticated string section for U2's "One Tree Hill" was also recorded at Grant for the landmark 1987 "Joshua Tree" album.

Internationally known stars like U2 and Lightfoot enjoyed recording in Hamilton, because they could remain largely anonymous.

"When U2 were here, they would go over to Tim Hortons and people would say, 'Hey, look at that guy … he looks just like The Edge. But there's no way he'd be in Hamilton,' so they'd leave him alone," Doidge says.

The U2 connection came through producer, Daniel Lanois. He grew up with Doidge in Ancaster. Lanois, and his brother Bob, also built Grant Avenue Studio back in 1976.

Lanois and Doidge started playing in bands while at Ancaster Secondary School. Doidge quit school to perform in Ian Thomas's band Tranquility Base, while Lanois built a makeshift studio in the basement of their mother's Robina Road home.

Despite the egg-cartons covering the walls, the Lanois brothers developed a reputation recording Ontario folkies, including future children's megastar Raffi, offering high quality at a low cost.

By 1976, the brothers were ready to find their own place. Back then, recording studios tended to be large, warehouselike facilities, large enough to fit a symphony orchestra and a full choir. The idea of building one in an old inner-city house was revolutionary. Both Doidge and Lanois had some bad experiences working as backing musicians in large Toronto studios.

"Dan and I would be recording with Shirley Eikhard in these big places in Toronto, where you couldn't even see the producer. He was so far away behind the glass," Doidge says. "You couldn't see the facial expression of the person talking to you behind the glass. You didn't know whether they were laughing at you or sneering.

"We decided there's only five people max that are usually going to be recording together, sometimes it's two or three. So why are we going to heat and maintain this giant space that's meant for a symphony that records every five years. Let them go to Toronto."

The house and an adjoining lot were purchased with the help of a federal development loan. The Lanois brothers and Doidge did much of the work themselves. Grant Avenue started out as a 16-track facility and upgraded a couple of years later to 24-track with the purchase of the current board.

"I kept this board maintained all these years because, we only charge $90 per hour," Doidge says. "If I put a new board in, it would cost half a million dollars. We're real happy with it. Now people all over the world are trying to resurrect these boards. We've got one and it's running like a clock."

In the '80s, Lanois gained a reputation as one of the top record producers in the world, working with acts like U2, Peter Gabriel and Bob Dylan. He was spending much of his time working in places like Ireland, Los Angeles and New Orleans. So in 1985, the Lanois brothers decided to sell Grant Avenue to Doidge.

It was a natural progression. Doidge had worked at the studio from the start, first on renovations, then as a session bass player and a producer of radio jingles for local businesses like African Lion Safari (during the early days, those ads were key to keeping the business alive). In 1981, Doidge had become a staff sound engineer.

During the '90s, Grant Avenue became the studio of choice for Gordon Lightfoot. He recorded "Harmony" and "A Painter Passing Through" there, with Doidge getting credit as producer. Lightfoot's most recent album "All Live" was also mixed there.

Lightfoot remains a familiar face at Grant Avenue. When the studio needed to raise some funds for renovations last year, Lightfoot stepped up to the plate.

"He played a private concert here for 12 people who paid $2,000 each for the privilege," says Doidge. "It sold out quicker than you can blink an eye. They came from all over the United States to see Gordon Lightfoot play at Grant Avenue Studio."

In recent years, home computer recording programs have challenged the need for recording studios. Amateur musicians can now record themselves at home in their bedrooms, basically for the price of software.

Grant Avenue, however, has continued to maintain a steady stream of business. Much of the clientele is local, but it still draws musicians from the United States and across Canada. Doidge says they come for quality of sound that can only be gained with the best equipment and years of experience.

"It's an occupation, a passion, a learning curve that never stops," says Doidge. "When we talk about the past, it's all good fun, but we renovated (the building) for the future."


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