Music icon

Bill Laswell fans rally to help the evicted music icon save his NJ studio

WEST ORANGE, NJ – A legendary musician and producer who moved his studio to New Jersey after being kicked out of “rapidly gentrifying” Brooklyn in the late 1990s needs a helping hand, his supporters say .

According to a GoFundMe campaign, Bill Laswell – who runs Orange Music in West Orange – is trying to raise money for a variety of reasons, including an attempt to save the studio where Jethro Tull, Humble Pie, Carole King and Aerosmith created music.

On Tuesday, the fundraising campaign surpassed its initial goal of $35,000, but set a second goal after some pledged funds failed to materialize. View the campaign or donate here.

The campaign, organized by Orange Music Collective, gives some additional information about Laswell and the need for funds:

“The past two years have been difficult for everyone, but especially those whose livelihoods have been impacted by the pandemic. Bassist, iconic producer and sonic visionary Bill Laswell becomes the latest to fall victim to the vagaries of these times. a whole host of pre-existing health issues, Bill’s music output has been seriously curtailed by COVID, which is basically a death sentence if he gets infected. With the risk too great, he hasn’t been able to maintain his usual pace, working alongside other musicians and engineers at his Jersey studio.The pandemic has also forced him to cancel live appearances at European festivals, where he has generated the bulk of his income. To add insult to injury, he is now desperately looking for a place to live after being evicted from his current Manhattan home, he is also struggling to keep the Orange Music lease, the legend New Jersey studio area he’s been running for 20 years. We call on all fans, friends and fellow artists: if you can help, please get involved. It’s now or never, and no contribution is too small. »

The campaign continues:

“As an artist and producer, Bill Laswell really needs no introduction. Although he has managed to operate largely behind the scenes, he has collaborated with the giants of virtually every musical genres, from Miles Davis to Mick Jagger, Bob Marley to Bootsy Collins, to name but a few.His underground sensibility first met with commercial success when he produced “Rock It “, Grammy Award winner, for Herbie Hancock in 1983, a gargantuan success that allowed hip-hop to cross paths with the mainstream. period, he could have moved to Los Angeles and made some money, but chose to stay in New York and later New Jersey, keeping it real as he worked with unknown stars and artists around the world, and a true commitment to music as art and art as a weapon.”

Part of Laswell’s success is due to Orange Music, which has its own story, the campaign says:

“Orange Music, the studio Bill moved to in 1998 after being fired from rapidly gentrifying Greenpoint, Brooklyn, has a story of its own. Supposedly built in the late ’60s for Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, it was originally called Vantone Studio. In the 70s, bands like Jethro Tull, Humble Pie, Brooklyn Bridge and Carole King recorded there. In the 80s, the studio, renamed Grand Slam Studios, hosted luminaries such as Aerosmith and George Benson When Laswell took over the space, he brought with him his international cast of colorful characters, producing artists such as Tabla Beat Science, Sly & Robbie, Matisyahu, Bernie Worrell and the inimitable Lee “Scratch” Perry. As a maverick in his field, he has always supported other independent artists, who, like him, yearn for something deeper, deeper and real. he always opened the studio to other art independent artists and labels, including John Zorn (Tzadik), Rare Noise (UK), Meta Dossiers, TUM Records and True Groove. So many stand to lose if Bill can’t keep Orange Music.”

“Bill’s entire career has been a powerful art statement on commerce,” the campaign reads. “He has helped countless artists over the years – always generous and selfless when others have needed his help. Although money was never an issue, Bill now needs our help. S please do all you can.”

Several campaign donors have expressed their love for Laswell’s music. As seen online:

  • “The little I can offer has nothing to do with all you have given. Your records, your performances, your principles have imprinted themselves in my soul and I am better for it.”
  • “It was a no brainer when I saw this. Mr. Laswell, you have been a big influence to me for a very long time. Passing on the knowledge of Dub Chamber to my son and he loves deep bass. I wish I could put up with more but i wanted to help anyway i can. You always helped me with your music. Thanks for all the jams, the sweet ones, the funky ones and the crazy full *** bats.
  • “You’ve given so much to the arts… time to give yourself. Stay the course.”