Barrie Barlow outside his studio
In the Doghouse
By Linda Serck
Take an exclusive trip around the Shiplake studios that has recorded Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty, Mark Ronson and more. Owner Barrie Barlow, formerly of Jethro Tull, is your host.
"Hello listeners to BBC Radio Berkshire, it's Barrie Barlow here, the owner of the Doghouse studio," begins the 58-year-old former Jethro Tull drummer, now full-time owner of the Shiplake-based studio that's attracted the likes of Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty, Mark Ronson and more.
The Dog House Studio
Recording Barrie for a special documentary on my show The Session Introducing, he gives me an exclusive tour round the converted barn that doubles up as a tranquil living quarter as well as an infamous recording studio.
I'm arguably the only member of the press that hasn't been hosed off his land - then again I'm not a part of the paparazzi who've trespassed and hidden in his bushes (sometimes wearing leafy helmets as a means of disguise) in order to snap Winehouse or some other tabloid target.
And it's little wonder all the top names are flocking here. Barrie's Thames-side sprawling estate houses a football pitch and swimming pool as well as a sylvan hideaway along the river.
Winehouse recorded at Doghouse
On entering the Doghouse there's a snug white tiled kitchen on the right, where Barrie distinctly remembers encountering a rarely-seen domesticated side to Amy Winehouse:
"The vision of watching her doing the washing up in the kitchen in her bra and panties is something I'll remember for a long time," he laughs.
The kitchen is also where Barrie once caught Take That's Mark Owen on all fours...
"He was on his hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor one morning when I walked in," he recalls.
"I said 'Mark you don't need to do that, you're a popstar', but he said 'no no it's fine'. I then said 'in that case, you've missed a bit in the corner'".
Inside, the studio itself is stuffed emporium-like with an array of instruments along the walls and huddled on shelves - all facing a mammoth L-shaped sound desk that displays what looks one hundred regimented lines of knobs and buttons.
The Wurlitzer keyboard
At the back there's an alcove housing a vintage Gretsch drumkit ("these kits were used by Tamla Motown drummers because they record beautifully"); in a corner an ivory-coloured Wurlitzer keyboard beams quietly and gracefully, while opposite there stands a multi-tiered C3 Hammond Organ, ("on permanent loan from John Evan, Tull's old keyboard player who's my oldest and dearest friend").
On the sound desk an open magazine shouts out 'Kate Moss's summer collection' - an odd sight to see inside a recording studio, were it not for the fact that the supermodel visited here while she was dating Pete Doherty.
"At one point they writing together," says Barrie of Pete and Kate. "I remember her lying on the couch here and adding some lyrics to one of Pete's melodies - I don't know whether that will ever see the light of day."
Barrie Barlow in the 70s
Pete has been to the studio a number of times, turning up before his band Babyshambles to try out some melodies.
"One morning Pete turned up about half past ten," Barrie remembers,
"I said 'would you like a cup of tea Pete' and he said 'oh yes please'.
"I asked him 'how do you want it' and he goes 'I tell you what, instead of the milk could you put orange in it, and instead of the tea, vodka'!"
Experience the tour for yourself and listen to Barrie's stories told in his own affable dry wit by clicking on the link here:
last updated: 23/06/2008 at 17:29