Big push to save historic The Plant Studios

February 8, 2010 7:15:17 PM PST
A group of Marin County musicians is raising money to preserve one of the world's best known recording studios. The Plant Studios in Sausalito has been closed for a year, but on Monday night the first fundraiser was held at Carlos Santana's Mill Valley restaurant Maria, Maria.

Maria, Maria was one of the first to get on board and many celebrities attended Monday night's event. All of it is to save a historical place.

Carlos Santana recorded his smash album "Supernatural" there. His gold record used to hang on the wall of The Plant Studios.

Fleetwood Mac made "Rumours" at The Plant, along with Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, Huey Lewis, Mariah Carey and Dave Matthews. From its opening in 1972, the weathered wood building held a unique place in music, but a year ago it shut down.

"Our main clients were major record labels and then financial troubles of our former landlord and now the place is closed," says Mari, a singer.

Mari's husband is a legendary sound engineer who was the last owner of The Plant Studios.

The place is a throwback to the era of fern bars, peacock feathers and hot tubs -- and there is even one inside. Besides the wonderful music that was made here, there was a bit of scandal. In 1985, there was a drug raid and for nearly two years the federal government ran it before it was sold again.

A bank owns it now and Mari is concerned it could be torn down. So she's formed a non-profit called the Arts Boretum Project to save it.

"Preserve it for its rich musical legacy and rich cultural history and then restore the studios and use the facility to make fund raising records for worthy causes," says Mari.

And part of it will be a museum. She is enlisting celebrity help, such as Mick Fleetwood who did a PSA for The Plant. Local musicians are also getting onboard. There is art work by Ron Wood that will be auctioned off. Mari believes there are people who will become what she calls "rock star angels."

"Failure is not an option," says Mari.

Mari needs $50,000 by the end of February to keep The Plant Going.

The Maria, Maria event was so successful that it was quickly sold out and there will be a webcast of the music at the link above.