Paul Buff

Paul Conrad Buff

Also known as Buff, P. Buff, Paul Conrad Buff
This performer (group) in the Internet:

Discography of Paul Buff:

# Release title Total tracks Type of release is Imprint date Label
1 Slow Bird 2 Audio 1963 Donna Records

American sound engineer, technician & producer, who founded PAL Studio in Cucamonga. Over 60 of Buff's archive recordings contain input by a youthful [a=Frank Zappa].

Buff was a self-taught pioneer in the field of independent record production in the early 1960's, developing his skills through the necessity of low budgets and creating unique techniques, recording equipment and sounds that would elevate such groups as [url=,+The]The Surfaris[/url] and [url=,+The]The Chantays[/url] into the limelight.

Born in Cucamonga, USA, Buff initially gained knowledge in aviation electronics as a member of the Marine Corps and later worked on guided missile production at General Dynamics. With a modest $1000 he launched himself into the recording business by setting up the Pal Recording Studio back in his home town, where he opened his doors for would-be bands to record their own material and circumnavigate the hard slog of trying to attract the major labels.

The Pal studio in Southern California was a rather uninspiring building on Archibald Avenue in the semi-desert town of Rancho Cucamonga, a location frequented by Hell's Angels and inhabited by the disaffected youth of the beat generation's counterculture. An ideal breeding ground for 'alternative music'. It was here that Buff created and employed a unique multi-track recorder and effected the use of splicing and overdubbing techniques to fill in the sparse sounds of under-equipped bands. A multi-instrumentalist in his own right, Buff would often session in on work.

This location was an unlikely place for the 'surf sound' of the 60's to emerge. With Buff's recording skills The Surfaris from Glendora turned that improbability on it's head with the single "Surfer Joe" b/w "Wipe Out", one of the most well known surf records of the era. Buff processed the voice of the band's manager, Dale Smallen, into the manic intro on the flipside of this number. Another landmark single recorded by Buff was "Move It" b/w "Pipeline" by The Chantays, on the flipside of which the bass and rhythm guitars have been brought to the front in the mix by Buff, with the piano and lead guitar pushed back to accompany the drums. Both of these singles were 'reinvigorated' on [l=Dot Records] by [a=Randy Wood]. Another surf band recorded by Buff in 1962 were [url=,+The]The Tornadoes[/url] from Redlands, California, who later changed their name to [url=,+The]The Hollywood Tornadoes[/url].

From mid 1960 musician [a=Frank Zappa] almost became a permanent fixture in Buff's studio. Zappa's emerging musical skills and vision for the fusion of genre styles became an ideal marriage to Buff's technical skills on the console. The duo released a number of singles together as producers, sometimes featuring on the recordings. Many of these works, with Buff engineering and producing, can be heard on the Zappa release [url=]The Lost Episodes[/url]. Bootlegs also exist from this period.

By 1963 Buff had become involved in the soundtrack production of a film "Run Home Slow", in which Zappa had also been involved in composing. Their working relationship became tenuous, resulting in Buff selling the Pal studio to Zappa, which he renamed "Studio Z". Buff then relocated to [a=Art Laboe]'s "Original Sound" studio in Hollywood to continue work on Run Home Slow. Here he also produced the bands "[a=Sugarloaf]" and "[a=Strawberry Alarm Clock]". "[l=Original Sound]" recordings of Buff and Zappa also exist.

During his time at Pal studio Buff had produced records on his own labels "Pal", "Emmy", "Yukon", "Plaza" and "Vigah". At "Original Sound" he also made recordings in his own right, producing such groups as [url=,+The]The Hollywood Persuaders[/url] and [a=Sean Bonniwell]'s band The Friendly Torpedoes.

In 1982 Buff, the producer/engineer for four Top 40 gold records, said goodbye to the industry and set up an electronics business called "White Lightning". In 2004 he opened the "Different Strokes" art gallery in Nashville, Tennessee and an artwork publishing company called "GoGo Press".

The long-promised series of Paul Buff works, from the Pal period, have been released by Gregg Russo of Crossfire Publications. As of 2010 there are 8 collections.

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