Freddie Mercury and Montreux
Mountain Studios in Montreux
David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, B.B.King, Yes, Duran Duran, Chris Rea, Sting, Phil Collins, AC/DC, Brian Ferry, Status Quo, Marvin Gaye, and of course Queen will pass through the door of the famous Mountain Studios in Montreux.
On December 4, 1971, the Montreux Casino went up in smoke during a Frank Zappa concert, an event that became world famous thanks to the famous "Smoke on the Water" by the band Deep Purple. The Mountain Studios officially opened its doors 4 years later.
A young British sound engineer, David Richards, moved to Montreux and quickly took over the controls of the brand new recording studio which was installed in the new Casino. Their first clients were none other than the Rolling Stones, who came to work on their new album, "Black and Blue". They are the first of a long list...
We learn, officially, on July 15, 1979, that Queen buys Mountain Studios, the group then declares : Having an exceptional geographical situation, a highly qualified staff (maintained as a whole) and top quality technical facilities, the studio deserves that the best musicians come and record there. Freddie Mercury, reluctant at first, became attached to Montreux, whose tranquillity he appreciated.
In 1993, shortly after the death of their leader, Queen separated from their Montreux recording studio. David Richards, who had been working there for more than 15 years, showed interest and bought it back. He officially became the owner of Mountain Recording Studios on February 1st 1993.
A few years later, in 2001, the French group Barrière bought the building and made major transformations, The Mountain Studios was forced to cease its activities in the summer of 2002. The location, which had remained inaccessible for a few years, is now under threat. Indeed, the soul of the place, David Richards, was unable to reach an agreement with the management of the Casino de Montreux.
David Richards then declares: "If we can't come to an agreement, I'll go elsewhere. I hope that the management of the Casino will at least consider using these premises as a museum".
Apart from the fact that the Casino refused to make a gesture, the rent was also increased at the same time. This was too much for David Richards, who left the premises and decided to set up his Studio in Attalens, a small village a few kilometres from Montreux.
After his departure, the premises were transformed into a discotheque inspired by the music of the 70s and 80s. The Mountain Club was then created without much success and a few years later, the permanent exhibition "Queen: The Studio Experience" finally gave new life to this mythical place.
"Freddie Celebration Days", an annual event in Montreux around September 5th, Freddie Mercury's birthday.