North Brookfield, MA – Nestled deep in the heart of this Western Massachusetts burg is Long View Farm. When Gil Markle bought the former dairy site in the early 1970's he did have some idea of installing a recording studio and purchasing some corresponding toys, but who could have predicted that in ten years' time, Long View Farm would become the plushest place on earth to make a record?
It all started when Gil's hobby began to overrun the farm he intended to make a home. At the time he purchased the retreat, Markle was a professor of Philosophy at Clark University (Worcester, MA) and the owner of a multi-million dollar travel service, and bored with it.
With the help of two friends, both oriented in music and carpentry, Gil tore up the Farmhouse and transformed it into a state-of-the-art recording studio complex. No stranger to the field of recording, Gil is the son of Gil Markle, Sr. – the chief engineer for NBC radio in the 1940's – and Connie Gates Markle, a popular singer with Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey's bands. Gil, Sr. was responsible for putting NBC on the national map, as far as network radio was concerned. Success and technical savvy was sort of inbred in Gil, Jr.
In hindsight, one could safely say that there was no way that Long View Farm could remain merely a man's home, the personality behind it being too success-oriented to keep the operation small.
The fact that the world's best-known best-loved and greatest rock and roll band – the Rolling Stones – chose the Farm as the site for rehearsal and business prior to their most critically and financially successful tour caps a long list of highlights in the Farm's short career.
In 1973, the Farm became functional and it followed, time-wise, on the heels of the Guercio Brother's Caribou Ranch in rural Colorado. The Ranch had attracted Elton John and Chicago to its studio. The Farm has attracted such diverse acts as local Boston heroes, J. Geils Band and Aerosmith; John Belushi and Tim Curry to Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Cat Stevens, Rupert Holmes and many others. 1976 was a landmark year for free publicity as Stevie Wonder used the Farm as the site for his listening party for the LP, Songs in the Key of Life. His over 200 guests, heard the album throughout the many luxurious rooms of the house through the lavishly appointed playback system.
That system, is of course, part of a larger, luxurious recording complex that houses two studios.
Studio "A", the Farmhouse, has both 16 and 24 track capabilities. It's a spacious "L" shaped room, 26' x 26' at the outside legs; 19' wide at the control room end. The control room itself is 24' x 15' x 9'. There's an isolation booth (8' x 6' x 7'). Ceilings measure 8' 6" and there are both hardwood and carpeted floor areas.
In this studio for as little as $160/hr for 16 track ($1600 is the maximum charge for a whole day), you can have the works: one in-house engineer, all of the studio's amenities plus food, drinks and if you've booked two or more days consecutively, overnight lodgings are available at the Farm, or they will help you with getting local rooms. The Farm can house eight members of your group. If your entourage is large, for $50/day per person in excess of eight, the Farm can put them up also. It's still less than a hotel.
The rate for the 24 track is $190/hr or $1900/day maximum.
The studio is equipped with: MCI console with 28 inputs; MCI, Studer and Scully tape machines, dbx and Dolby. The rate sheet adds, "many toys".
The Barn, also known as Studio "B", is a 16 track facility and is available for $100/hr with a 3 hour minimum. At this rate, you don't get the lavish overnight lodging and gourmet food. But you can always work out food and lodging in advance. You do get a top of the line 16 track studio. One in-house engineer is included, as well as an Aengus console with 18 inputs; 3M, Ampex and Scully tape machines, noise reduction. The Barn measures 30' x 24' with a 14' x 24' control room. BR> Both studios are equipped with what has become the norm in state-of-the-art recording – phazors, delay, harmonizers, noise reduction systems, etc.
There are a host of instruments available, and that includes keyboards of every persuasion, two complete drum kits, guitar and bass amps, and the staff is not above making sure you can rent whatever the Farm doesn't own.
One of the most luxurious features of Long View is its spaciousness. To top it off, the entire complex is wired for sound. You can be enjoying a meal or lounging in your room, and still be able to hear the full effects of your labor. This takes a lot of the claustrophobia out of the mixing sessions.
Your own imagination draws the limits at Long View Farm. Gil Markle and his staff have set up the operation to accommodate the most demanding of people. The Rolling Stones are an example of how one can take full advantage of the services available by and through the Farm.
In addition to the gracious lodging, gourmet food and sundry leisure time activities, it is possible to make use of a private phone line with its own number, charter air services and auto transfers from Boston or Worcester – all for very nominal fees.
This kind of service is beginning to set a very high standard in the record industry. On one hand, it recalls the days of unlimited extravagance and decadence (which the Rolling Stones are hugely responsible for). Its magical quality that has been absent from the music in recent days of financial hardship.
That magical quality has been sorely lacking in a lot of the records on the market today. The ambience of the Farm is conducive to fostering its clients' creativity. It's a gracious living situation where no one is disturbed by the demands of the big city, yet is free to live in a fantasy world that his profession demands, as well as being a stone's throw away from the real world – all at the same time.
The Farm is also setting a standard in luxurious PRACTICALITY!!
Considering the hotel, bar and entertainment bills any given band can rack up in the cities where they record, venues such as Long View Farm can be a cost effective solution to making albums. When you consider the time it takes to record records, living expenses are basically free at Long View. There's no better bargain or no better place to make your album.
Located on Stoddard Road in North Brookfield, MA, USA (617) 867-7662. Owner: Gil Markle
All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.