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The Rogue has moved!
The Rogue Studios has moved from its digs on Niagara Street to a new space a couple of blocks away at Adelaide and Strachan.
Okay, so this isn’t new news. It just hasn’t been written about here. The move actually took place in May of 2004!!!
This does deserve a bit of a tale. First of all, why would the studio move from the expansive space atop 215 Niagara Street? There were two reasons. Primarily, the large square footage was no longer just expansive, it had become positively expensive. It required plenty of bookings in both rooms to keep the studio viable for our favourite independent recording artists. The Rogue’s clients really couldn’t afford that kind of rent or those utility bills and we certainly didn’t want to change our clientele! Almost as critically, the building had sold and the new owners preferred to renovate and increase the rents and we didn’t care to convince them otherwise.
Additionally, James Paul was a relatively new father and didn’t want to work the number of hours it would take to keep the studio at that address. In fact, James was dreaming of taking some time off. He had arranged a space where he could store The Rogue’s vast collection of gear, instruments, trinkets and various ephemera. A place in which a compact editing and mixing space could abide. The hope was to move out of the Niagara Street space and to work part-time for a year or so. Most of the frivolous items in the collection had already been moved but the big stuff and the essential recording equipment still remained. The crew was booked, the truck rented and we were all set to go on the May two-four week-end. At least, that was the plan...
Late Thursday afternoon before the big week-end, James received a call from the owner of the new unit. He had changed his mind. He would allow The Rogue to store its equipment for a couple of months, but it was a temporary arrangement and all would need to be moved again in a short while. Anyone familiar with the sheer mass of The Rogue would know that this was not an attractive proposition. Moving it all once was really more than enough!
So James went for a walk.
A very fortuitous walk it was. In his stroll to cool off his mood, he happened by a space on a laneway a couple of blocks away. He had looked at this space the year before when it had first become available. He had deemed it too much of a mess and he couldn’t see it as a home for The Rogue. However, peering through the window and seeing how it had been cleaned up and re-arranged, James thought he perceived some possibilities. He made a mental note of the phone number on the ‘for lease’ sign and went to the UFO diner for the Thursday special of spaghetti and meatballs (still a fine Thursday tradition!).
Returning to The Rogue in the early evening, James dialled the number and caught the real estate agent just before the agent closed up for the day. A meeting was booked and early Friday morning found James inspecting the premises and walking through the potential recording space taking shape in his mind. It could work. He made an offer with a rather extreme condition: he wanted the keys that day so the studio could move in on the week-end. “Impossible,” said the agent, “can’t be done on the Friday before a long week-end.”
“Perhaps, but that’s the offer.”
Two hours later, James, the agent and the new landlord hammered out the details. The deposit was paid and the keys exchanged.
A brief aside about the space in question: the rear of 52 Stafford, now dubbed 849 Adelaide West, has a very musical history. Originally constructed as an early Toronto automotive garage, it had been a studio for the past twenty years. In the mid to late eighties and the early nineties, it had served as the first home of Reaction Studios. Then, shortly after Reaction moved to the east end, it was inhabited by Presence Sound until the end of 2002. These walls have listened in on many great Toronto sessions and records.
Meanwhile, at the Niagara Street Rogue, the final session was still in full swing! Stew Crookes was recording tracks with Swaha. James would have liked to collapse into a relieved heap but the staggering amount of preparations remaining could not be ignored. He set to work completing the packing of the Brünel suite and the office. The kitchen and Artemis would have to wait until the session finished that evening. Here, we must admit, the rest of that Friday has vanished from the haze of memory.
With a lot of help, The Rogue somehow managed to move over the next three days. Our amazing crew, guided by piano moving genius Steve Syret, carried two large mixing consoles, seven large tape decks, three acoustic pianos (two uprights and a grand), three large electric pianos, five large organs and the mass of other gear, instruments and vintage furniture down the stairs and into the truck. Then we drove the two and a half blocks and shoe-horned it all into the new location. Remarkably, the only injuries accrued were a dead fridge and a broken CD player. A true testament that The Rogue has some great friends!
We must thank some of those involved. Besides the afore mentioned Steve Syret and his brother (introduced to us as “his mother’s son”) we are eternally grateful to, in no particular order: Karyn Ellis, Stew Crookes, David Baxter, Jameson Elliott, Fletch, Brendan Bane, Mike Paternik, David Oxley, Ryan Haines, Jessica Dzupina-Ward, Bo Cairo and Wade Butland. (Please, if your name is missing from this list, let us know!)
Next came the intense process of re-assembling The Rogue in its new, much smaller home. Jameson, Stew and James set to work picking which pieces could remain and which had to go. Several storage spaces filled up. New wiring harnesses were soldered. Steve Ketchen of The Kensington Hillbillys came on board to take charge of wiring the AC in the new space. Within a couple of weeks, sessions lurched forward and The Rogue was about to return to regular work...
Then we bought a new console, but that’s news for another story...
849 Adelaide after Presence moved out.
More photos are coming.