Magic Shop, the New York studio where David Bowie secretly recorded his final album Blackstar and its predecessor The Next Day, is to close next month. The location, on Crosby Street in SoHo, was also a favourite recording spot for David Crosby, Norah Jones and the late Lou Reed, among others, and was featured in Dave Grohl’s 2014 documentary mini-series Sonic Highways.
Above photo: Tony Visconti and David Bowie at the Magic Shop
with producer/engineer Brian Thorn
Founder Steve Rosenthal said in a statement on Facebook: “After an amazing 28 year run, I will have to close The Magic Shop Recording Studio. 16 March, 2016 will be our last day open.”
Dave Grohl at work at the Magic Shop in ‘Sonic Highways’ (courtesy Roswell Films)
The studio is known to have been in dispute with its landlord for the last year or more. “Everyone knows why I have to close, so there is little point in rehashing my story,” continued Leventhal. “My eternal thanks goes to Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters and Lee Johnson for stepping up big time last year to try and save the studio from this fate.
“I would also like to thank the late, great David Bowie for recording Blackstar and The Next Day at the studio. It was an honour to have him and Tony Visconti working here for the last few years.”
Visconti, responding on Facebook, wrote: “Just too many people and now places passing this year. We recorded Blackstar and The Next Day there. [St. Louis-born singer-songwriter] Kristeen Young’s new album was recorded there. I’m so sad. Steve Rosenthal and [studio manager/engineer] Kabir Hermon are saints.”
Leventhal went on to thank Hermon and the rest of his current and former staff, his friends and family. “To the talented artists, producers and engineers who passed through 49 Crosby Street over the years, I know it was you who made the Magic that made it special.”
He concluded: “One last thing, I get that New York City is always changing and adapting like the living city it is. Maybe what I believe in is no longer of value, but it was for us and we lived it. As the city becomes more of a corporate and condo island, some of us wish for a better balance between money and art, between progress and preservation, and we hope that one day we will see a reversal of the destruction of conscience and community we are witnessing. Or maybe not…after all I’m just a guy from The Bronx.
“Although the Magic Shop will be gone, I won’t! I intend to continue my restoration and archiving work. So feel free to email or call. Rock on! Steve Rosenthal.”