On Tuesday, December 6, 2022, we visited legendary Tenderloin recording studio Hyde Street Studios (245 Hyde Street) with our New Door Ventures intern, Anthony Clewis. It was a special experience for staff and for Anthony, an aspiring musician, to learn more about the studio’s storied history in a private tour from studio manager Jack Kertzman.
Hyde Street Studios was recently added to San Francisco’s Legacy Business Registry, in recognition of their continuing musical legacy. Located in the Tenderloin, it is the successor to renowned recording studio Wally Heider Recording, which occupied the facility from 1969 to 1980 and is known for producing the “San Francisco Sound” through artists such as Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
The studio became Hyde Street Studios under Michael Ward in 1980, and today is the longest running multi-room recording studio still operating in the Bay Area. Kertzman spoke to SF Heritage about the diverse array of artists that have recorded here over the years, covering all genres from funk, garage, hip-hop, and pop. And while the studio has served big names in music like Green Day and Tupac Shakur, it gives back to the communities it serves by offering reasonable hourly rates for its high-level recording, producing, and mixing services, and when possible donates studio time to worthy local causes.
Anthony interviewed Kertzman inside the famed Studio A, which still has the original acoustic tiles, wooden flooring, and double-paned window separating the studio from the control room. A black-and-white picture outside the door of Studio A shows Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Neil Young and David Crosby inside working.
Anthony shared his experience visiting the studio and learning about its history and legacy:
My name is Anthony Clewis and i’m an intern at SF Heritage. On December 6, 2022 my coworkers and I took a field trip to Hyde Street Studios, a legendary recording studio that has operated in San Francisco for many years. We sat down with Jack Kertzman, the studio manager, and asked him questions about the studio’s history and background.
The doors first opened in 1969 as Wally Heider Recording, and since 1980 it has been continuously owned and operated by Michael Ward. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, the oldies loved Hyde Street Studios for the rock and roll, and according to Jack it was during this time when the studio really started getting its recognition.
Jack also told us how back then there was a lot more money coming in than now. When covid hit, they struggled just like everyone else, and had to organize fundraisers to pay rent and keep the doors open. But Hyde Street fought and fought, and now their business is back to booming. Jack and the studio have also worked with local non-profit organizations to help give back to the community.
I asked Jack what advice would he give to an up-and-coming artist. His response was, “own your skill and work on marketing,” meaning if you love to do something, work on it and do you.
Hyde Street has now been open for 50+ years, making it one of the few recording studios in the Bay Area left from its era still in operation. It is also now listed on the Legacy Business Registry in recognition of its contributions to San Francisco (SF Heritage helped advise Hyde Street Studios on their legacy application).
I had a great experience interviewing Jack, and appreciate all the knowledge he dropped on us. If you’re a local artist in the Bay, I recommend you check it out one day; I think you would be impressed as well. We want to thank Jack for having us, and we appreciate him sharing an experience we won’t forget.