Film on Smart Studios planned for October

Film on Smart Studios planned for October
Former home of Smart Studios.

On the northwest corner of East Washington Avenue and Baldwin Street stands a two-story brick building. People mill around the corner waiting for the bus or getting coffee at a café nearby, and the two-tone bricks keep an incognito cover over the old home of one of the greatest rock production studios in history.

In the early 1980s, Butch Vig and Steve Marker launched the future of garage band music with Smart Studios. Over the course of nearly three decades, they recorded and produced some of the most influential music of the genre, including Smashing Pumpkins’ debut album Gish, Killdozer’s Twelve Point Buck, “Polly” by Nirvana from Nevermind and nearly every album from Vig and Marker’s own group, Garbage.

When the studio shut its doors in 2010, Madison filmmaker Wendy Schneider announced a documentary about the space, The Smart Studios Story. Schneider connected with Vig and Marker in the 1990s as an engineer at the studio. In 2014, she launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project.

As of this spring, Schneider was collecting archives and submissions for the film. The projected distribution is scheduled for October.

“The film’s production is in line with the ethos of Smart-DIY,” Schneider told Madison Magazine in 2014. “It’s a people’s history and with Kickstarter, it’s a people’s film.”