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Billy Chrysler

Soundman – Rihanna, Shakira, Lionel Ritchie and Bob Seger.


12:28 AM
Feb 04
(Tribune photo/Kyle Moroney) Bill Chrysler works in the control room at Redwall Studio North in Grand Haven.
(Tribune photo/Kyle Moroney) Joe Sturgill of the band Four Finger Five tests out the acoustics in the Redwall North Studio.
(Courtesy photo) Roy Wallace will help keep the new studio running when Bill Chrysler is out of town. He is shown at River City Studios in Grand Rapids where he is a chief recording engineer.
(Tribune photo/Kyle Moroney) Bill Chrysler, left, and Joe Sturgill take a break in front of the sound mixing equipment at the new studio.
Grand Haven

Bill Chrysler, the soundman behind many award-winning musicians, is opening the doors of his harmonic haven: his studio.

The Grand Haven man — who recently toured with Rihanna, Shakira, Lionel Ritchie and Bob Seger — has operated a private sound studio at 725 Taylor Ave. for the past three years. There, he’s recorded albums for West Michigan band Four Finger Five and Grand Haven’s Garrett Borns.

He’s owned the warehouse space for 10 years, using it as storage for his sound equipment while on the road.

Chrysler has spent the past 30 years touring the globe with his clients, mixing more than 7,000 live shows, and says he is ready for a different road — one that is closer to his home and family in Grand Haven, and the local music culture.

“I really enjoy this work,” said Chrysler, 58, inside his Redwall North Studio. “I help make all this music from scratch and that’s exciting.”

Chrysler, with the help from members of the Four Finger Five band and others, began remodeling the 1,000-square-foot studio last month. The studio has new carpet, walls, an isolation booth for recording, and Auralex wall treatments to diffuse and deflect sound in the control room where the mixing magic takes place.

Various guitars attractively hang on the wall like pieces of musical art in the front office, juxtaposed with albums signed by music superstars. Fresh paint livens up the interior warehouse walls — with red on the two most northern walls that lead to the studio’s name: Redwall North Studio.

Chrysler’s sound secrets and melodic knowledge will be shared with the public beginning Feb. 15 when a “soft” opening is planned.

“I’m hoping its turnout is what I’ve envisioned,” he said.

The studio will maintain local musicians — Joe Sturgill of 4F5 and Roy Wallace of Sweet J Band — for engineering and management; as well as Chrysler’s son, Dustin, for technical maintenance when Chrysler occasionally goes on tour.

“I’m really excited,” said Sturgill, 33. “Every session is a learning opportunity — to learn from different genres and backgrounds. It’s fun to be plugged into the local music scene.”

Wallace, also 33 and a chief recording engineer at River City Studios in Grand Rapids, has been “immersed” in the West Michigan music studio industry for 10 years and is eager to work with Chrysler.

“He’s got a great ear about what makes a great album,” said Wallace, who helped record and mix 4F5’s latest album, “Soul in a Suitcase.” “His excitement — it’s contagious. He really gets into it. … I think we all possess it, but he gets really excited about a raw, back-to-the-basics recording.”

Following an upcoming tour with John Mayer in March, Chrysler plans to return to his Grand Haven studio and surround himself with brilliant local beats.

“I love being in the studio,” he said. “It’s a different kind of fulfillment. This is different in that people come in with an idea and when they leave, it’s a whole new creation. It’s a beautiful song, a complete piece of art. It’s very fulfilling.”

While life on the touring road with big name musicians is a thrill, Chrysler said an even bigger thrill for him is to watch aspiring musicians advance their musical passion here in Grand Haven.

“There’s a lot of good, local talent that has high potential,” he said. “The market is there. People in this area are in need for a good studio, to go to and make some music.”

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