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portfolio A selection of Philip van Allen's projects



In portfolio

By phil

Recording Engineer – Germs, Dils, etc.

On 03, Jan 1974 | In portfolio | By phil

In high school on the westside of Los Angeles around 1973, I built a recording studio in my parents garage. It was outfitted with a Dokorder 4 track machine and a Tascam 12×4 mixing console. Initially I was just recording my friends (e.g. The Big River Band), but then started getting other paying gigs. These ranged from a 14 piece orchestra recording a film soundtrack, progressive jazz (including brothers Alex and Nels Cline), and some of the earliest LA punk bands.

Producer Chris Ashford came to me through a friend who worked at Peaches Records in Hollywood, and we started recording several bands for his record label, What? Records. The most famous of these was the Germs, headed by Paul Beahm, AKA Darby Crash. But we recorded other bands too, including the Dils, Controllers, KAOS, etc. (more info on the early punk scene in this interview with Chris) A bit later, we recorded Gabriel Morgan with Michael Penn producing and playing on his first vinyl – this was at my friend Bob Schreiner’s Westworld Recorders in Van Nuys.

Besides working with Chris, I did all sorts of sound gigs, including mixing live concerts (Ricky Lee Jones – Santa Monica College, Arco Jazz series – LA Bonaventure Hotel), and being a sound technician for events (Ray Charles at Dorothy Chandler, Bette Middler – The Rose premier). I also did some remote recording for my friend Jim Demeter and his band The Heaters (who completely blew the Talking Heads away at the Whiskey one night). And one time, high school friend Wayne Golden brought Andy Gibb to my studio to record an early music video.

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