Roy Wallace has continued the legacy of Michigan’s longest-running studio at a new site, recording diverse projects such as UV Hippo, Lipstick Jodi, Moxie Strings, Watching for Foxes, Rockit King and more.
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There are times – even now – when Roy Wallace has to pinch himself to fully comprehend that he’s running Grand Rapids’ most venerable recording studio.
“Just the fact that I now own it is just amazing to me. There are many times when I am at the studio working, when I think to myself, ‘I can’t believe that I own a studio, and get to do what I love every day,’” said Wallace, who started as an intern at River City Studios in 2002 and eventually purchased the business and moved it in 2012 to Monroe Avenue NW near Riverside Park.
“Continuing to be able to do what I love every day is truly the satisfying thing about owning RCS, and none of this could’ve happened without the support of my wife and family, and of course (engineer) Joe (McCargar), Jackie (Heldt), and (engineer) Austin (Ruhstorfer).”
From his humble beginnings as an intern and then “night guy” at River City Studios, then located on Jefferson Avenue SE near Saint Mary’s Hospital, Wallace has managed to deftly extend the history of the renowned studio which he purchased from longtime owner Dan Trierweiler.
GREAT MEMORIES, GREAT BANDS — FROM AC/DC TO UV HIPPO
Indeed, River City this week celebrates its 40th anniversary of capturing Grand Rapids’ history in audio form – from albums churned out by bands (national and local) to jingles created by ad agencies to voiceover work and much more.
“If you told me back in 1996 when my band Mission Orange was recording at RCS with Mark Rehl that I would someday not only work at this studio, but own it, I would have said, ‘No way,’” said Wallace, who also fondly recalls working with his band Sweet Japonic on its final album, “Where My Devils Go,” at River City.
“I have a lot of great memories from the old location, but if I had to pick one, it would be working with Mark Hagen from Black Bird Studios, recording vocals with Joe Don Rooney for the Rascal Flatts album, “Unstoppable,” which was released in 2009. I even received album credits on the album.”
Of course, amid an impressive array of national acts who’ve rehearsed or recorded at River City – AC/DC, Aerosmith, and yes, even Weird Al Yankovic (prior to his appearance at DeVos Performance Hall) – the longest-running studio in Michigan continues to focus much of its attention on local and regional talent.
This year alone, River City has worked on new in-studio projects with Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, Watching for Foxes, The Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys, Embellish, Lipstick Jodi, The Rockit King, Delusions of Adequacy, ESME, Moxie Strings, Matt Gilmore, Gentlemen at Large, Inner Itch, Trudge, Dancing on Pluto, 17º South, Asamu Johnson and LVRS.
A RENOVATED BUILDING NEAR RIVERSIDE PARK
River City also partners with Local Spins on the successful HopCat presents Local Spins Live at River City Studios sessions which have brought in more than a dozen West Michigan acts to perform in front of intimate studio audiences, with the sessions producing podcasts and videos – and the first-ever “Local Spins Live at River City Studios” compilation CD.
The studio specializes in audio production for music, film, TV, radio, video games and new media, and has worked with platinum-selling recording artists and Hollywood movie productions.
Formerly the site of the Boy Scouts of America and Appletree Learning Center, Wallace renovated the building at 1935 Monroe Ave. NW along the Grand River to create impressive recording spaces, with the spacious Studio A benefiting from gorgeous natural light.
“I would say the best thing about the new location is that it is all on one level with no steps, all the natural light, and the proximity to the river and Riverside Park,” Wallace said.
“Sometimes during the recording process, you need to take a break and just get away from all of it, and clear your head. The park offers a peaceful place for clients to regroup and come back to the recording process with a fresh perspective.”
Get more info online at rivercitystudios.com or call (616) 456-1404.
WATCH VIDEOS, LISTEN TO PODCASTS: HopCat presents Local Spins Live at River City Studios Sessions
VIDEO: River City Studios Tour
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC