The Lane Mobile
The LMS was founded in 1972, when Ronnie Lane, the bass
player, songwriter and singer with The Small Faces and The
Faces imported a 1968 Airstream Trailer from the USA.
Back then the market in mobile studios was pretty much limited
to Rock Supergroup's own mobile facilities, & Ronnie's
only real competition was The Rolling Stones mobile, which
kicked off in the same year.
Right out of the box the LMS was a massive success, and
the sound of the 'room' was legendary. With slightly concave
shoulders across the whole length and width of the vehicle,
the bass response, devoid of obligatory standing waves, was
(& still is) stupendous, and many eminent producers
considered it the flattest & most accurate control room in
Very few mobile studios have ever been the environment of
choice for major artist mixing except the LMS.
Throughout Ronnie's tenure as owner, the studio was
operated and run by legendary producer and engineer Ron
Nevison who set it up for Ronnie with a custom, wraparound
Helios Console, an 8 Track Studer A80 multitrack (later
modified to a stacked 16track), A Series Dolbys, Valve mics,
huge Keith Monks boom stands (still here!) & a BX20 spring
reverb (must have sounded great bumping over the kerbs!). Back
then, the Helios console was pretty much the way to go for
mobiles, with most of the subsequent trucks following Ronnie's
Pretty low tech, even for the day, but relying on a fabulous
room, great acoustics, and a classic British analogue sound
chain, driven by a proper recording console, just like it
still is now! From the very first year of operation the LMS
was responsible for some of the most successful and
influential recordings of rock music history, and today's
record companies and digital studios 'in a box' that abound in
every artist's bedroom can only gaze in wonder at the kind of
success that a proper studio could have, with great musicians
and the benefit of dedicated analogue sound, provided by true
professional engineers and producers.
After that first year the floodgates opened and the catalogue
of classic recordings and legendary producers that were
created inside the LMS's pastel blue, shag pile-lined
aluminium shell is unmatched anywhere in rock & roll. The
list is too long to recreate, but if one of your favourite
records isn't here, you shouldn't be involved in rock &
roll. To name but a few, and in no particular order....
Zeppelin – "Physical Graffiti" - UK #1. US #1
Who – "Quadrophenia" – UK #1 US #2
Who - "The Who by Numbers" UK #3 US #2
Company – "Bad Company" UK #1 US #1
Clapton – "Rainbow Concert" UK #2 US #3
Faces – "Ooh La La" (their biggest seller) UK
#1 US #3
Stones – "Black & Blue" UK #2 US #1
The Hoople – "Mott" UK #12 US #21
Lane – "Slim Chance" & "Rough
mix" (w. Pete Townsend) UK & US # – who cares!
Other users of the studio include: Bob Marley, Jack Bruce,
Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Van Morrison, The Pretty Things, The
Damned, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, John Lee Hooker, Keith
& Ronnie, B.B. King, Dave Edmunds, Jeff Beck and...
well, pretty much anyone who ever really sold any records.
Total sales of recordings from the LMS around 500
And now the LMS is back, after a long holiday. In 1982
it was sold by Ronnie to its' present owner, when Ronnie's
illness with MS has really taken hold. Back in '82 the present
owner, together with partner, Teddy Roffey, (the
flamboyant & notorious owner of Escape Studios, in Kent)
bought the LMS just to preserve it, since when it has
been used exclusively with private clients of the present
owner and Teddy. It hasn't been totally idle, re-mixing and
archiving all of the first 7 years of Bob Marley & The
Wailers JAD Records work, recording and re-mixing live
sessions by The Pretty Things, Eddy Grant, Love, &
David Gilmour, archiving and re-mixing classic EMI &
Phillips analogue albums for vinyl re-issue.
But Teddy's retirement from the business, a flood and
the passage of time precipitated a major overhaul a year or
two ago, incorporating the first change of decor in 35 years.
So now resplendent in classic 70's orange, cream & mauve,
the LMS is taking on board another, classic, British
console, and will be available to make records that change the
world in a location near you any day now.
So, if you want to subscribe to the expanding hordes of
faceless and characterless digital mobile facilities, offering
thirty zillion, virtual channels of ghastly, music free,
digital storage be my guest. However, if you want to make a
record in the same room, and with the same disciplines that
have created the greatest records and the greatest drum sounds
in history look no further.
It's no co-incidence that the greatest drum sounds of all time
the final refinement of the classic Zeppelin & Bonham
sound, the purest interpretation of The Who & Moonie's explosive,
clattering Premier sound and the loose, thundering energy of The
Faces, and Kenny's big Ludwig noise; were all captured and
preserved in the LMS. The really great records didn't
make themselves. The LMS made them. It's the best
mobile room out there. Period. In this day ands age, maybe the
best room out there bar none.