Filmmaker Tracy Misner loves rock and roll. A chance visit to a recording studio led to a meeting with engineer and producer Greg Quesnel. Hanging around the studio, soon, an association with an up-and-coming rock star led to the opportunity to assist in the recording of an album. That rock star was Lynyrd Skynyrd lead singer Johnny Van Zant, and the studio was none other than the legendary Studio One.
Located in a nondescript industrial park in the Atlanta suburb of Doraville, Studio One played a significant role in the development and popularity of the Southern Rock genre. The iconic anthem of the South, “Free Bird,” was recorded in its hallowed halls. Sweet Home Alabama was recorded there as well. Gold and platinum-selling band, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, was born there from Classics IV and the Candymen members. .38 Special recorded their first several albums in Studio One. In addition to hosting a Who’s Who of Southern Rock, the studio recorded major hits from other genres and stars, like Ronnie James Dio’s first album, the #2 hit song Moonlight Feels Right from the band Starbuck, Alicia Bridges’ smash disco hit “I Love the Nightlife,” Paul Davis’s “I Go Crazy” and Nigel Olsson’s top 10 hits “Dancin’ Shoes” and “Little Bit of Soap.” All came to life inside that very studio, under the masterful touch of engineer Rodney Mills.
After his work on the album, Tracy pursued other career paths. A chance recording studio visit in 2011 led to an introduction to the studio’s owner, who he soon found was Melaney Sems, daughter of none other than the legendary Studio One co-founder and engineer Rodney Mills. That led to an on-camera interview with Rodney, followed by a trip to Alabama to interview Buddy Buie, co-founder of Studio One, the man who formed the Atlanta Rhythm Section, and so much more. These sessions sparked the idea of a documentary that tells the story of Studio One.
Sadly, Tracy’s journey was interrupted by the tragic loss of his daughter. In 2020, the story began developing steam again, and Tracy is resuming the final interviews that wrap up the incredible story of the cornerstone of Southern Rock.
With over two dozen incredible interviews completed, Tracy has gotten an “inside scoop’ from such luminaries as Skynyrd’s Johnny Van Zant and Gary Rossington, legendary producer Al Kooper, .38 Special’s Don Barnes and Jeff Carlisi, members of the Atlanta Rhythm Section, and many more. Over the following months leading up to the film’s 2022 release, we’ll be sharing some of the backstories and memories behind the incredible music and history of Studio One as we look forward to this fantastic film.