The SF Chronicle's great pop music writer Joel Selvin on the collapsed Bay Area music scene:
- When federal agents swooped down on Sausalito's Record Plant in 1985 and closed the recording studio after the owner's arrest on drug charges, the doors swung shut on three projects that would all go on to make the Top 10 — records by Huey Lewis and the News, Journey and John Fogerty.
Today it would be hard to find a single project in the Bay Area destined for the Top 10, let alone three at the same studio.
After more than a quarter-century of being one of the centers of the pop music world, the famous San Francisco scene has crumbled.
While underground rock still percolates in warehouses and lofts around the Bay Area, this insular constituency breeds few mainstream breakouts like AFI, an East Bay punk band whose major-label debut made the Top 10 last month in its first week out.
For years, the Bay Area music industry nurtured a steady procession of new and exciting rock talents — from Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead to Metallica and Green Day. Today, what's left of the local industry has disappeared into a crater left behind by the dot-com crash and struggles of the recording business. The dissolution of the area's music scene has occurred for two reasons: the economic hard times besetting the record industry as a whole, and the creation of new technology that has made recording studios all but obsolete....
A question and a statement: how do the record industry's problems and the new recording technology hurt the Bay Area anymore than any other place? And, scenes are cyclical - the Bay Area will have its turn again, although we've been waiting for the Cleveland/Akron area to come around for 20 years.
The tale of woe is continued, with an emphasis on ProTools and home recording here.