Juniors Motel Recording Studio

2006 - Recording Studio

Hometown: Otho, IA

Bio: A famous recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Ala., with such famous clients as The Rolling Stones and the Allman Brothers, provided the inspiration for the recording studio honored in the 2006 Hall of Fame class.

Soon after participating in a recording session at Muscle Shoals, Kirk Kaufman, guitarist for the Central Iowa based band West Minist’r, mentioned the idea of converting their already converted chicken house rehearsal hall at Otho, Ia. into a recording studio. Frank Wiewel, bassman and singer for the band, had similar thoughts so, enlisting the help of other band mates, construction of the soon to be West Minist’r Sound studio began that spring.

Although construction began with no original blueprints, enough research and luck yielded a state of the art recording studio, with rooms designed by the now world famous studio architect Tom Hidley. Construction lasted nine painful months which, considering there was no financial plan, was amazingly fast.

The first official band to record at West Minist’r Sound was The Dogs from Decorah. With such songs as “There’s A Leak In My Transmission Line”, the education began. Realizing the need for outside assistance, the band/studio hired a Minneapolis based producer, David Sandler, to come to Otho to assist in the recording of an album for the band West Minist’r.

The sessions lasted two or three weeks and went moderately well. Upon completion, Sandler’s next project also decided to record at this out of the way little studio on a farm. The group was The Honeys fronted by the Revell sisters, one of whom was married to Beach Boy Brian Wilson.

Over the weeks that followed the phone at the old chicken house was busy with quite a list of celebrities calling including Phil Spector. It was a great introductory experience. The year was 1972.

Now, 32 years later, the number of musicians who have visited this music oasis on the edge of a cornfield has grown into the hundreds. It is not unusual to have a Grammy nomination or movie song with its origins from this still rockin’ studio. Although the name was changed to Junior’s Motel in 1985, the studio is still based not on how much money a musician has but how much talent a person shows and how good their tunes are….no matter what kind of music.

Now the sole owner, Kirk Kaufman, when not in the studio, continues to play gigs with his bands: The Madison Avenue Players, Junior’s Army and H and K. His aspirations are the same as the people he records for: to write that big tune. “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings, to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and lends to all that is good and just and beautiful.” (Plato)

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