If You Build It, They Will Come: Amazing Craftsman Studio Attracts Rock Greats
Oingo Boingo vet Richard Gibbs finds the magic in his backyard to pull in stars like Sting, Pink, Cher and Richard Page.
Former Oingo Boingo keyboardist Richard Gibbs admits he wanted to build an idyllic place just for himself on his expansive hilltop property in Malibu. But once word got out that he’d built the finest studio in the land, the world’s greatest musicians came knocking. Some even moved into his house … for awhile.
It seems such diverse recording artists as Sting, Pink, Cher, Lenny Kravitz, Richard Page, Melissa Etheridge, Korn and the RZA, just to name a few, couldn’t resist the beautiful facility Gibbs originally built to compose film and television scores, which has been his chief line of work lately.
Gibbs left Oingo Boingo when his first son was born, not wanting to be on the road so much. He made a great living as a studio musician for several years, then started composing for television shows like Tracey Ulman’s State of the Union, Battlestar Galactica and The Simpsons and films like 10 Things I Hate About You, John Tucker Must Die, Fat Albert and Dr. Dolittle.
See Why Rock Stars Flock to the WoodshedView All 6 Photos
Since he had some extra space on his land on Malibu’s Point Dume, and plenty of resources and ideas, he decided to create a dream workspace. “Studios have always been built by and for engineers and acousticians, not for musicians or artists,” Gibbs relates. “I flipped that script by designing something that would inspire the musician, keeping beauty and creation in mind.”
The building itself, known as the Woodshed, looks more like a beautiful Zen retreat than a recording studio, with a stunning view of the coastline.
He chose Craftsman-style architecture because of its “harmonic approach to nature and the remarkable peace one feels inside.” True to the Craftsman ethic, there are mahogany floors, doors and windows, and massive Douglas fir beams and rafters.
Functionally, the studio is a masterpiece of modern technology. Digital recording made huge speakers and consoles obsolete, so there’s more warm space for an artist to breathe, play and create.
Rooms can be created or removed via a system of soundproof walls on tracking systems. Wiring is under the floor, so no one trips over tangled cords. But there are several isolation booths and an office, bathroom — even a sleeping loft, when someone wants to work late or grab a nap.
And when musicians want to dedicate entire weeks to their production, Gibbs and his wife Linda let them take over their entire two-story, four-bedroom, four-bath house, pool and spa. The Gibbs take advantage of these times to take vacations, like surfing in Indonesia.
On top of all that, Gibbs just finished installing 99 solar panels on the roof of the main house, enough to power the entire property, so projects recorded at the Woodshed now have a zero-carbon footprint.
The group Foster the People just finished recording their latest album in the Woodshed, and more major players are lining up. “Musicians love it not only for the acoustics, but because it makes them feel good,” says Gibbs. “Usually, when they’re finished playing, musicians want to pack up and go. But I can’t get them to leave.”