Q&A with Steve Nails of Dockside Studio, a recording compound that is just as unique as the surrounding culture

"There is no race, religion or socio-cultural implications at Dockside Studio only communication thru music."

Steve Nails: Dockside's Music Legacy

Dockside Studio is a recording compound that is just as unique as the surrounding culture. Located on a 12 acre estate in the heart of Cajun country on the banks of the Vermilion Bayou, Steve Nails says: "we promise sonically pure recording in a beautiful private setting. We offer a wide range of vintage gear including our vintage 52 input Neve 8058 console." Whether you are local, regional, national, or international we are here not only to help make memorable albums, but memorable experiences as well. Set deep in the Louisiana countryside, Dockside Studio has attracted some of the brightest and best recording artists.  (Photo: Steve & Cézanne Nails, Dockside Studio, Maurice, LA)

Hundreds of talented musicians have made albums there, from New Orleans legend Dr. John, Cyril Neville, Allen Toussaint to Levon Helm from the Band, Mark Knopler, Luther "Guitar" Johnson Jr., Sonny Landreth, Maria Muldaur, Rod Stewart, Junior Wells, Clerence "Gatemouth" Brown, and of course the legendary B.B. King, who loved it so much he donated his beautiful guitar Lucille to the studio. It all began in 1986 when Steve Nails, from Louisiana and a lifelong musician on guitars, drums and bass, started the studio with his wife Cézanne, a painter, from Florida. After a life-changing accident Steve found himself wheelchair bound, and decided from then on he wanted to take on a new musical role. Dockside Studio owner Steve Nails turned tragedy into triumph.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues n’ Rock music and culture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

We recorded several bands, like King Sunny Adé, from Africa, bands from France, Australia, New Zealand, Latvia, Germany, Spain and all thru Europe, Haiti, Canada and all over the world as well as right down the bayou. It’s all One Love -music is all one language.

How started the thought of Dockside Studio? What characterize Dockside Studio philosophy and sound?

Dockside Studio is a way of life for our family and every musician and artist that stays here. We are a live in recording studio located on 12 acres along the banks of the Vermilion Bayou. The music began in the 100 year old moss covered oak trees and bayou as this area is rich in music food and family.

Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences?

BB King, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Knopfler and Susan Cowsill. We exchange advice and musical energy.

"Dockside Studio is a way of life for our family and every musician and artist that stays here. We are a live in recording studio located on 12 acres along the banks of the Vermilion Bayou. The music began in the 100 year old moss covered oak trees and bayou as this area is rich in music food and family." (Photo: Steve Nails & the late great bluesman BB King, Dockside Studio, LA)

Why do you think that the Dockside Studio continues to generate such a devoted following?

Word of mouth (and awesome t-shirts) since the day we opened.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

The best way to make a million dollars in a recording studio is to start with 2 million.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

I did a short stint with the Coasters playing all their greatest hits,

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past?

I love 60’s music and wish I could have been in that scene.

What are your hopes and fears for the future of music?

No fear-it’s all rock and roll to me.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

No digital, all vinyl.

"We recorded several bands, like King Sunny Adé, from Africa, bands from France, Australia, New Zealand, Latvia, Germany, Spain and all thru Europe, Haiti, Canada and all over the world as well as right down the bayou. It’s all One Love -music is all one language." (Photo: Dockside Studio owner Steve Nails talkin' with Leon Russell, Louisiana)

What are the lines that connect the legacy of Louisiana’s music from Folk/Roots to Rock and Blues and beyond?

Louisiana is a true melting pot of culture which includes African, French, Spanish even a little German and of course island music.  Out of all that you get a beautiful Cajun and Creole mix - a perfect mix of flavors in your gumbo.

What has made you laugh from BB King & Clerence "Gatemouth" Brown? What touched (emotionally) you from Junior Wells?

BB King gave me his guitar Lucille. On his first of 3 recordings here (3 Grammys) he said this was the record he has been waiting his whole life to do. That was an incredible feeling and such an honor.

Gatemouth Brown was my crazy Uncle that always carried a gun and held his band meetings at my dining room table with gun on his napkin. He was ready for an alligator or any other trouble headed his way. He was about the most ornery super human guitar player there ever was.

Jr Wells was like my brother introducing me to Bruce Springsteen in their dressing room at the Grammys.

What is the impact of Blues and Rock music on the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?

There is no race, religion or socio-cultural implications at Dockside Studio only communication thru music.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

A day in the 60’2 with The Cowsills, Grass Roots and The Birds.

Dockside Studio - Official website

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