During its last four decades in Redondo Beach, Total Access Recording Studios has kept pace with the changing music industry.
The studio's foundation began with the punk bands Black Flag and Pennywise. Then, hair metal bands such as Dokken and Guns N' Roses made the studio their home. Finally, came the post punk bands such as Sublime and No Doubt.
And, the homegrown studio is still going strong, as it records former Panic! at the Disco bassist Jon Walker.
“Technology and the industry has changed, but we're still here,” said owner Wyn Davis, at the studio's 40th anniversary celebration on Sunday, Nov. 11.
Davis took over from what was the Redondo Pacific studio in 1980. After two years in business, Redondo Pacific went into receivership and Davis was able to take over.
At the end of the 1970s, Media Art Recording Studio, where many early punk bands made their first recordings, located on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach, was about ready to close its doors. Davis made a deal with Greg Ginn, who founded Black Flag and founder of SST Records, to bring his bands to Total Access.
The deal gave him operating capital and a foothold in the recording industry.
“'I will give you this much time for this fixed amount of money,' and he used that as a way of figuring out he could .. make these records for Black Flag, Husker Du and the Minutemen here,” Davis said.
Jackson Browne drummer Fritz Lewak, a Redondo Beach resident, has recorded at Total Access.
“I'm just excited that's it's been here so long,” said Lewak, who attended the 40th celebration. “The doors are still open... there's just not a lot of places set up for people to come in and make music in one room because we live in such a digital age. It's done in their home studio.”
Word of mouth has helped Total Access continue to thrive for decades, Davis said.
He said the biggest album recorded at Total Access is probably Sublime's self-titled third and final album. It was recorded before the overdose death of the band's lead singer Bradley Nowell. The album went on to sell more than 5 million copies in the United States alone.
“Bradley was such a nice person, it was terrible to lose him that way,” Davis said.
Davis has worked with a string of legacy acts including Van Morrison, Black Sabbath, Dio and most recently Foreigner. He traveled to Switzerland in 2017 to record Foreigner with a full orchestra. He then brought back the recording and mixed the project at Total Access. The album, “Foreigner with the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra and Chorus,” went to No. 1 on the classic musical charts.
Walker from Panic! at the Disco was moving to Redondo Beach when a Chicago friend recommended Total Access.
“He said, 'Oh man you've picked the right place because there's a studio right there,'" said Davis. "'You won't have to drive anywhere to get anything that you want done.' He called us right away and we hit it off.”
Total Access offers vintage and state-of-the-art equipment, along with a staff of producers, engineers and assistants.
Davis said he could not keep the place running without studio manager and staff producer and engineer Steve Ornest.
Total Access is located at 612 Meyer Lane, No. 18, in Redondo Beach.
For more information, visit tarecording.com or call (310) 376-0404.