Back in the mid-1970s when Pete Townshend first acquired the old boathouse in Ranelagh Drive, Twickenham he opened it up as the centre of operations for his Eel Pie group of companies. The Boathouse became the home of Eel Pie Sound and Oceanic Studios. It was also for a time, the Meher Baba Oceanic Centre.
Pete then bought a delightful old 110-foot Dutch barge called the GRAND CRU and fitted it out with recording facilities. The design was by Keith Slaughter who was then studio manager at the original Air facility. The GRAND CRU was moored alongside the Boathouse and reached via a walkway. It was used mainly by Pete and also by several other artists and producers including Ian Broudie and Bob Pridden.
Pete sold the Boathouse in 2008 and in 2009 the GRAND CRU left her moorings in Twickenham and sailed down river to her new home at St Katherine’s Dock where, following a five year re-fit and a new coat of bright blue paint, she is now back in business as a fully-fledged recording studio with Myles Clarke firmly at the helm as producer and engineer.
Many of you will recognise Myles’ name from the engineering and mixing work he has done with both Pete and The Who in recent years, notably on Now And Then, Endless Wire,Wire & Glass, the recent box set reissues of Tommy and Quadrophenia and Pete Townshend’s recent recording of Classic Quadrophenia. Myles has also worked with Simon Townshend and Casbah Club, Rachel Fuller, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Natalie Imbruglia.
He originally trained at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, followed by a few projects at the Cocteau Twins’ September Sound and at Metropolis Studios in west London. He then worked at Strongroom Studios for several years until the desire to be his own boss led to him becoming a freelance engineer in 2002. Following sessions with Rachel Fuller at Oceanic Myles was offered the job of house engineer where he worked with Rachel, Billy Nicholls, Casbah Club, Echo Strings and Mikey Cuthbert before taking over the running of the GRAND CRU in her new location.
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