A lot of history dwells in the building at 14750 Puritan St. on Detroit’s west side. This is where Sound Suite Studios once held rank as Detroit’s premier recording facility. Now an abandoned, dilapidated shell of brick and overgrown weeds, the old studio was the first of its kind in the Motor City. Gutted, then renovated from the ground up to be acoustically accurate, Sound Suite set itself apart from other Detroit recording studios at the time, which were generally modified rooms and houses. The Sound Suite doors opened in 1975 and many of the artists that flocked to record there are now legends. It was here that Bob Seger recorded his 1978 release Stranger In Town. This is also the place where the Romantics recorded their first EP, and where heavyweight producer Don Was marked his beginnings.
With amazing artists such as The Four Tops, Gladys Knight, Johnny Trudell and so many more frequenting the studio, it is hard to see what could make its owners close up shop. According to Mark Calice, chief engineer of Sound Suite until 1980, “I was laid off for lack of work … when a recession hit the country and especially Detroit. I remember that many artists just stopped traveling to Detroit to record, as record company budgets shrank.”
But the final denouement was a long time coming. The studio didn’t close until a few years back.
Antonio Jones, a 25-year neighbor to the building, recalls, “I heard the place closed because it was getting broken into too much and equipment was getting stolen.”
Studio founders Michael Grace and John Lewis are still listed as the owners of the building. They could not be reached for comment. Perhaps Grace and Lewis are keeping this piece of music history for sentimental reasons, because monetarily the building isn’t worth much.
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