Quebec police probe recording studio fire

August 11, 2017
Written by The Canadian Press
Aug. 11, 2017, Montreal - The founder of the once-iconic recording studio that served to open Canada to the rest of the music world said he made his peace a long time ago with the old building that once housed it.

Andre Perry said he's not surprised the building that once was home to Le Studio burned to the ground Friday in a fire police say
might have been deliberately set.

''I did my mourning a long time ago because it's been a really, really bad state for years and years now,'' Perry said from his home
in Saint-Sauveur, Que.

''It was deteriorated in a way that it was evident that something like that was going to happen.''

Provincial police Sgt. Daniel Thibaudeau said investigators would visit the site after being told by local fire crews that the origins of the blaze appear to be suspicious.

Founded in 1974 by the Quebec record producer and two friends near Morin Heights, about 90 kilometres northwest of Montreal, the studio entertained local, Canadian and international artists.

Among the musicians and bands that came to live and record at the lakefront home in the Laurentians region home were the Bee Gees, Sting, Roberta Flack, Cat Stevens, David Bowie, the Police, Keith Richards and the Ramones.

''It also should be remembered as the first studio that brought in the international (music) world to us, as part of that Quebec era that we wanted to open up the world to us,'' Perry said.

''A lot of Canadian artists that went abroad,'' he added. ''But we were the first one to bring them here.''

Many Canadian stars also took advantage of the cutting-edge studio like Robert Charlebois, Glass Tiger, Jean-Pierre Ferland and Corey Hart. Toronto progressive rock icons Rush recorded several albums at the studio, using the home and grounds for its music videos.

Perry wants people to remember the originality of the music created at the studio, which he described as ranking among the best in the world.

While Le Studio was distinct for its quaint, rustic lakefront location, Perry said it was its state-of-the-art facility, not the landscape, that was the big draw for artists.

''We were not associated with one sound, that's the first studio to be able to do that,'' Perry said. ''Everybody had a sound, we had over 250 million records sold that were recorded there.

''If you listen to the 150 records, you'll find that none of them sound the same,'' he noted.

The news hit hard for Richard Baxter, a local musician who'd launched an online appeal a few years ago to raise money to save the once-mythical spot and had even planned a weekend cleanup of the site beginning Friday.

A drummer and musician for 38 years, Baxter said he fell in love while visiting the place in 2001. He bought the rights to the logo for Le Studio and had been fundraising in an attempt to restore it to its previous glory, selling T-shirts and seeking donations.

''I wanted to make a museum, I wanted to make a recording studio,'' Baxter said in an interview. ''It was a wonderful place, it was music history.''

Perry sold the studio in 1988. By 2008, the studio was out of business, abandoned and fell into disrepair before it was put up for
sale in 2015.

He wishes a studio had continued on the site, but the building was falling apart. A piano, probably too big to move, had been
left inside the building and was ultimately stolen, Perry said.

''I'm saddened, but on the other hand, in my thoughts, it was gone a long time ago,'' he said.

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