Smart Studios

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Coordinates: 43°05′15″N 89°21′59″W / 43.08748°N 89.366468°W / 43.08748; -89.366468

Smart Studios
General information
Type Recording Studio
Location Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Address East Washington Avenue, Wisconsin, USA
Current tenants Various bands
Completed Opened in 1983
Owner Butch Vig
Steve Marker
Landlord Butch Vig

Smart Studios was a recording studio located at 1254 E Washington Ave in Madison, Wisconsin. It was set up in 1983 by Butch Vig and Steve Marker to produce local bands. The studio became famous for producing bands such as Killdozer, The Smashing Pumpkins, L7, Tad and Nirvana. The version of Nirvana's song "Polly" that appears on their 1991 album Nevermind was recorded at Smart Studios. The Smashing Pumpkins' debut album, Gish, was also recorded there. After initial production and remix successes, the building became the focus of operations for Vig and Marker's own group Garbage who released their debut album in 1995. The band, fronted by Shirley Manson, recorded each subsequent album there until 2005's Bleed Like Me.

The studio has survived various mishaps, including flooding, and, in 2003, a backhoe careening off the outside junction and crashing through the walls of the downstairs studio. On May 1, 2010, the studio closed its doors due to financial difficulties.[1] Following the closure, Madison filmmaker Wendy Schneider started making a documentary on Smart Studios,[2] which interviewed many artists, record producers, and engineers who worked in the facility. Schneider began financing of post-production and release of The Smart Studios Story through Kickstarter in February of 2014.[3][4] Her Kickstarter campaign successfully raised the funds needed on March 30th, 2014.[4] In 2012 the Wisconsin Historical Museum assembled an exhibit about the studio, Smart Sounds, Alt Music, Mad Scenes.[5]

On September 3rd, 2013, Brian Liston re-opened the former Smart Studios as Clutch Sound. Clutch Sound retains the Russ Berger buildout while updating the technological infrastructure.

Selected list of albums recorded/mixed at Smart Studios[edit]

Producers and engineers associated with Smart Studios[edit]


External links[edit]