In 1974, Phil Gall opened up his home and living room to the music community and in the span of 30 years, he touched the lives of musicians from Flagstaff to the border towns of Arizona and beyond.
He was an eccentric kinda fellow, a perfectionist with a solid radio background and a love for analog recording. Mudshark Studios started out with only a Teac 8-track tape machine, a handful of microphones, a dog, some Beatles records, a small control room and a group of talented friends. Locals would say the lights never turned off in the house, hosting nightly recording sessions, parties or whatever came first. There have always been rumors of late night stop offs and flybys from members of the Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead to Steve Miller and Linda Ronstadt to maybe jam or just to record a demo on their way out to LA. In the end, who knows what's true and what's fiction but what we do know after Phil's passing in 2014, is that he was a generous, beloved character and was an essential piece of Northern Arizona's music scene.
In the fall of 2016, Mudshark was revamped and reopened by David James, a producer and audio engineer with over 20 years of recording and production experience as well as the singer/songwriter for the group Wolf Ram Heart. David is a former Recording Workshop honors graduate and specializes in vintage recording production as well as analog-based gear and tube equipment. It was in high school during the mid 1990's, that David began for the first time, mixing and recording to 4-track tape in a flat above his parents house. After only a short time, his group was named as finalist for Musician Magazine's best unsigned band in the country. In 1998, David's songs were discovered by founding members of the British pop group, Duran Duran and was asked to come to England to take part in recording projects with the band. David's songwriting influence can be heard on songs such as "Somebody Else Not Me," "Reach Up for the Sunrise" and "Lava Lamp" from Duran Duran's 2000 Pop Trash and 2004 Astronaut albums. In 2011, David wrote and produced the critically acclaimed Betrayal of Hearts album for Wolf Ram Heart. The album was later heralded by the press as a "headphone masterpiece" and a retro futuristic classic. In 2012, Blurt Magazine described David's writing and production as "cinematic" and sharing sensibility with "veteran film scorers as diverse as Ry Cooder, Calexico and even director David Lynch." Recently, in the winter of 2017 David was asked to come to London, England again this time to assist Engineer/ Producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie, Trex/Marc Bolan) and Chris Porter (George Michael, Elton John) on two separate recording sessions at Visconti Studios in Kingston.