Red Rock Studios in Mountain View may have not been known to most people in the South Bay music scene, yet it was an important part of it. It was the practice place and frequent recording spot for Picture Atlantic and Dogcatcher before it closed this month. Several other Bay Area bands also recorded there, including Rin Tin Tiger, East of Western and Coast Jumper.
Michael Toy started the studio in his basement 14 years ago as a place he could practice playing bass and for his Sunday morning church band to rehearse and eventually record their sessions. Through the years he accommodated other artists and bands simply for the love of music, not to make money.
He moved to the current location in Mountain View in 2008, where he paid the bills by sometimes doing voice-over work for corporate videos, but he donated studio time to bands, churches and nonprofits whenever possible. During the last few years, his church Highway Community helped pay the bills to keep the vision alive. In the end, the landlord sold the property to Intuit, who will be using it as office space.
“We just wanted to publicly thank Michael Toy for his vision and generosity with his gear, as well as the great people of the Highway Community who caught the vision and paid the rent for the last few years,” Dogcatcher posted on their Facebook page. “The history of our band would be vastly poorer without this wonderful resource available to us, and we will miss it greatly.”
On Thursday, November 1, Dogcatcher, Picture Atlantic, members of Highway Community church and friends of the studio gathered one last time to bid the studio farewell. It was an emotional experience for everyone. Toy even wrote a farewell poem on the wall at the tail end of the party. Ryan Blair from Picture Atlantic tweeted about it that night.
“We recorded an EP here, tracked tons of demos and rehearsed our choreographed stage moves for countless hours in this place. Sad to see it go. Our hearts go out to you, Red Rock,” Blair wrote.