5150 Studios

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5150 Studios is Eddie Van Halen's home studio in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.[1] The studio was built so that Eddie Van Halen could have more control over the recording process than he had in the past. Every Van Halen album from 1984 onwards was recorded at 5150. They took the name for the studio (as well as the band's seventh album, released in March 1986),[2] 5150, from Section 5150 (almost always pronounced "fifty-one-fifty") of the California Welfare & Institutions Code, which allows a qualified officer or clinician to place a person under an involuntary psychiatric hold if the person is, "as a result of mental disorder, a danger to others, or to himself or herself, or gravely disabled."[3]

History[edit]

The beginnings (1983-1989)[edit]

In 1983, Eddie Van Halen built his home studio near his home with wife Valerie Bertinelli. He named it "5150" after the police code overheard by producer/engineer Donn Landee, one night on his police scanner.

Designed by Landee, the beta version of 5150 Studios was a high-ceilinged sixteen-track studio suitable for recording, overdubbing, and simple mixing, if needed. The recording room was roughly 600 square feet (56 m2), sound insulated with fiberglass and rubber, with a booth on the north end.

The construction on Eddie's property was passed off to city inspectors as a racquetball court, disregarding the soundproof walls with cinder blocks filled with concrete. A hitch arose in the form of a powerful AM radio antenna from a sports station broadcasting 50,000 watts of power a few miles away. To prevent Eddie picking up boxing fights and football games through his wireless guitars, engineers wrapped a layer of grounded chicken-wire fencing around the studio, turning it into a Faraday cage.

Remodeling and beyond (1989-present)[edit]

Between February 1989 (after the OU812 Tour ended) and March 1990 (before starting work on For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge), Eddie remodeled the studio, doubling its size, replacing the main mixing board, and at the end of the recording floor, adding an isolated drum room for his brother Alex. When he was finished, it also featured a small arcade for video games and pinball machines.

The studio met with controversy as the Hollywood Association of Recording Professionals cracked down on home studios in the Los Angeles area, claiming owners were renting them out and hurting traditional recording studios. Eddie's studio proved otherwise, as Eddie insisted it was for himself to make music. Because of his testimony, he was given the proper zoning variance to legally make music at his house.

In 1999, Eddie remodeled the studio once again, by adding a 72-input analog mixing desk and a Mellotron.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • [1] Edward Studio and Storage Pictures – photos of 5150 Studio.