Three Tracks, Echo, and a Bunch of Hungry Teenagers

A short tour of some of the Twin Cities' historic recording studios

One of Paul's early clients, Chris Osgood, would later join Paul in forming Twin/Tone Records. Around 1978, shortly after Twin/Tone came to be, P David evolved into Blackberry Way, and Steve Fjelstad, Mike Owens, and Kevin Glynn took over the studio from Stark. Their band, Fingerprints, was one of the first three bands on Twin/Tone along with the Suburbs and Curtiss A.

Blackberry Way, named from a song by the Move, grew along with early regulars Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, and the Replacements, who recorded their breakthrough album Let It Be and others at Blackberry. Steve Fjelstad did the bulk of the engineering at the studio, until he moved over to Nicollet studios with Paul Stark and the Twin/Tone offices. Blackberry Way continued through the late '80s with the Flamin' Oh's, the Magnolias, and others using their services.

 

Flyte Tyme

Producers and songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis began Flyte Tyme not as a studio but as a band in the mid-'70s. In 1981, Prince took them under his wing and shortened their name to the Time. Prince eventually fired the duo from the band, and Flyte Tyme resurfaced in a new form. The S.O.S. Band, Cherrelle, Change, and Alexander O'Neal provided some of their first successes as writer/producers. Without a studio of their own, most of the projects were being done in a studio on Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington called Creation, a modest home-based facility where engineer Steve Weise recorded several hits with Jam and Lewis. By 1985 Weise and Flyte Tyme were in need of a much-deserved bigger and better working space. They found the space in a building at 43rd and Nicollet in south Minneapolis. Still not the typical "world class" studio facility, it was sufficient to keep the string of hits rolling. Janet Jackson's sound-defining Control came together there as did the Human League's #1 single "Human." Steve Weise left the Flyte Tyme family in late '85 to continue Creation studio, eventually buying the famed building at 2541 Nicollet, thus bringing us full circle. Steve Hodge took over at the mixing board for Flyte Tyme as they went on to build a sprawling 17,000-square-foot complex--containing five studios, a rehearsal facility, and a game room--located south of Southdale in Edina. Jam and Lewis closed the Edina operation in 2004, moving to a new studio facility in Santa Monica.

 

Tom Herbers has been recording music and other things for over 20 years. He's also the owner of Third Ear Recording Studio in Minneapolis, and still likes music.

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