Building Golden Voice Recording Co.


Building Golden Voice Recording Co. (origins of Golden Voice part 4)

Golden Voice studio outside wall


By 1965 Jerry Milam found himself in need of a proper studio facility.   He had built a first class four track studio in his basement but couldn’t continue to record at home due to noise complaints.  He needed a place he could afford as well as a place where the work would not be interrupted by problematic neighbors. The solution was to build on the rural outskirts of Pekin, Illinois in the village of South Pekin.  South Pekin was the only place in the area with cheap land at the time. The kind of place where even a downtown address meant you were surrounded by a cornfield.  After some searching Jerry was able to purchase an acre of land at 700 W Main for the low price of $1500. This spot ten miles outside of the small town of Pekin is where he would build his studio.

Jerry and his uncle, Clifford Brandt, set about building the studio by hand. Over the course of the next year the building slowly began to take shape.  The building was constructed from cinder blocks.  The main room was 40′ x 60′ with a 24′ ceiling.  It featured early acoustic treatments and a dedicated echo chamber.  A four track control room over looked the main studio area.

The studio would be complete in 1966 but even before it was finished Jerry was testing and developing the sound of the studio.  The first group to record, even before the glass was installed between the main studio and the control room, was a band called The Wombats (see the Wombats bio here) from Metamora, IL. The Wombats were a popular local teen combo who were just beginning to have a need for recording. Wombats’ rhythm guitarist Greg Volz’s (later of Petra!) older brother Ron “Rockin’ R’s” Volz recommended Jerry Milam who Ron knew from the early Peoria rock n’ roll scene.  The Wombats would become key early users of the studio and, in some cases, would remain connected to Golden Voice until the end of the studio.  The first finished song recorded by The Wombats at Golden Voice was called: You Lied, it’ would remain unreleased from 1966 until now.




Another important figure in the origin of the Golden Voice story is Bill Porter. The legendary sound engineer would come to Pekin and lend guidance to Jerry during the initial phases of studio operation.

 By the beginning of 1967 the studio was in regular operation, facilitating recordings from novice to expert and everyone in between.

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