Writer Seeks Montserrat’s Air Studio Stories

Air Studios Montserrat in it’s day. (airstudios.com)

As a musician who recorded and performed in the 1990s, Brian Sallerson has always had an interest in learning the stories behind the music. Now, a full-time freelance writer, Sallerson has come to Montserrat to research the stories of AIR Studios.

“I was researching the recording histories of a several well-known artists of the 1980s for a possible article when I discovered the story of AIR Studios Montserrat. When attempting to delve deeper into the history of the studio as part of my research, I was struck by the scarcity of information available about what I consider to be an important part of modern music history. Many of the hits that defined the 1980s were produced there and I could not believe that the history of the studio had never been written about in any real depth.

“Since the studio ceased operations almost 30 years ago, I can see time erasing its history. Photos are fading. Videotapes are degrading. Many of the recording artists and staff members of the studio are now in their 60s and 70s. People’s memories are being lost to time and sadly, key figures such as Sir George Martin are no longer with us. If no one documents the history of AIR Studios Montserrat, it will soon be a lost chapter in the annals of music history. I instantly knew that this was the book I needed to write: “Island Music: The History of AIR Studios Montserrat,” the writer shared.

Sallerson will be on island for one week to conduct interviews and gather stories about AIR Studios from the people who lived and worked around it.

“What quickly became apparent from my research and conversations with staff members of AIR Studios was that it was a truly unique creative environment for recording artists. A key reason for this one-of-a-kind experience was the studio’s location in Montserrat. Sir George fell in love with Montserrat and he knew that it would be a great place for the art of creating music. The natural beauty of the island, the warmth of its people, and the culture of Montserrat made recording there a very special place among the popular recording studios of its day. The studio’s staff, many who were Montserratians, were treasured by the bands, so much so that many of them were included in the liner notes of their albums. The musicians could experience the cuisine, nightlife, and shopping of Plymouth without being mobbed by fans. All this while also having access to the best recording technology available. Many of those who worked for the studio as well as the artists who recorded at AIR Montserrat hold the memories of their time there close to their hearts. This can not be said about many other recording studios.

1985, Montserrat (UK) – Air Studios | The Police in 2018 | Pinterest | Eric Clapton, Phil collins and Music (Pinterest)

“The famous bands and the music they produced at AIR Montserrat are important parts of the narrative of the studio, but I believe that the people and culture of Montserrat are as critical to the story as the artists who graced the studio’s recording rooms. A friend of mine who is a travel writer had been to Montserrat a few years ago and he gave me some sage advice: I absolutely had to travel to Montserrat to truly understand why it is such a special place; that having my feet on the island would give me the perspective I needed to truly capture the story of the AIR Studios Montserrat. Taking his advice, I immediately booked a flight.

Sallerson will be on island until Thursday, January 17th and wants  to meet with people who have memories they would like to share about the studio, the artists who recorded there, and life in Montserrat during the 1970s and 1980s.

“I am hoping to speak with staff members of AIR Studios as well as staff and owners of local businesses that were frequented by those who were involved with the studio. One can only learn so much from history textbooks.  I want to learn about the history and culture of Montserrat from those who call it home. I am also seeking documentation about the studio’s design and construction, the history of the property, as well as pictures, videos, and other artifacts of the studio and of the island from that time period.

People who want to share their memories, pictures, history, can reach Brian via email at airmontserrat@gmail.com or they can call his office at 1-804-510-0054. We can schedule a time to meet anytime during my stay in Montserrat. A synopsis of the book and more about Brian can be found at website: www.sallerson.com.

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