An Abridged History of Chase Park Transduction
The idea of joining forces with Andy Baker and Andy LeMaster emerged in late 1996. The Andys had already decided to start a studio together, and were considering doing so in an old bank building in Colbert. It was (is?) a cool old space. Big room, high ceilings. There were drawbacks, though. The place needed a lot of work, probably more than we figured on at the time. Andy Baker was having a hard time getting things done with the owner. It was in Colbert, which is a bit of a hike from Athens. Meanwhile, Tom Lews and I was considering building a studio in the woods behind my house. That definitely had its appeal, but also drawbacks of its own. Residential zoning, not exactly close to downtown, and the fact that my neighbors might be less than thrilled at the prospect of business traffic 7 days a week at all hours.
So first, Andy Baker and I started talking about the prospect of teaming up on a temporary space of some sort. Someplace where the three of us could work together until they got their bank building going and I built my lodge in the woods. We met for lunch at Guaranteed and worked out the details, sealed them with handshakes and set about finding a location. There were a few contenders. We checked out one warehouse that just seemed sort of ho-hum at first and moved on. We were very interested in a spot on Clayton Street, one up from the Caledonia Lounge, but it was bit small, and being right next door to a live venue presented sound isolation problems. I called about an old electric motor shop that was not yet for sale, and ultimately became Nuci’s Space. At Andy Baker’s urging, we gave a second look to the original ho-hum warehouse, thought we could really turn it into something good, and settled on 160 Winston Drive, #4.
We signed the lease on Valentine’s Day of 1997, and started drawing up some plans on notebook paper. That, and laying out wall placement on the floor with masking tape. That was as close as we ever got to a blueprint. After thinking about it for a few days, we decided that we needed a carpenter to help with the job. One day, Andy B and I went out to lunch in Normaltown, must’ve been going to Allan’s, really can’t remember for sure. As we were walking up Prince Ave, we ran into Paul Edwards, a.k.a. ‘Crumpy.’ Crumpy told us that he was helping his girlfriend get her new restaurant started, and that they were about done. He asked us what we were up to, and we told him and asked if he knew any good carpenters. He said, “Well….how about Pete? He’s about done here,” and pointed to a ladder leading up to the roof of the building where Pete Sackett was on his way down. Now Pete and I had known each other for quite a while by that time. He had played bass in a few bands in town – The Flaming Chopsticks, The Fit, and Gravity Creeps. In addition we had lived across the street from each other at one time. We talked about our project, he said that sounded like something we were interested in, and that was that.
We started building pretty much right away. We did not have any blueprints, or even formal designs. We all brought something to the table. Andy Baker had his first Athens home studio, Rock Central, and Andy LeMaster had the Furry Vault in Toccoa. I had worked in a number of different studios as an engineer and as a player. Pete brought his construction expertise, and a unique perspective to making things work. We laid out masking tape on the floor to designate wall placement, and drew up some ideas on notebook paper. We called on interested parties to help out. A couple of them really hung in there with us during the process. Alex Marquez and Patterson Hood both put a lot of sweat into the original construction of the place. When we first got started Andy Baker bet me a BuckWank (ChaseSpeak at that time for a large cup of coffee) that we could build our studio in less than three weeks for a total cost of $5500 or less. I will always admire his can-do optimism, but I won that one pretty handily. On the upside, we did the whole thing in about 3 months including all audio wiring. By late May, we were ready to open for business.