It was a dilapidated building on the edge of town that many mistook for a crack house.
Yet this little indie studio in Madison, Wisconsin became not only the hub of the Midwest music scene, but a driving force of alternative rock worldwide. The sounds that sprang out of Smart Studios, established in 1982 by Butch Vigand Steve Marker, still influence music to this day.
The story in this feature-length documentary is told through never-before-seen archival footage and by the legendary artists who recorded there and interviews with Dave Grohl (Nirvana), Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Shirley Manson (Garbage), Donita Sparks (L7), Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) and many more.
If you’ve ever been touched by the music of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, L7, Death Cab For Cutie (among many, many others), you’ve been touched by the music created at Smart Studios, the legendary recording facility founded by Butch Vig and Steve Marker. Drawing on in-depth-interviews with musicians and producers, never-before-seen archival footage and a powerful soundtrack, The Smart Studios Story tells the story of the pivotal Midwest link to the global rise of Alternative Rock in the 1990’s and the unassuming Madison, Wisconsin recording studio at its center. The post-70’s explosion of independent music in America has many traceable roots, each with a compelling story. This is one of the most significant stories that has never been told until now.