The Mountain Studios is now a museum-exhibition dedicated to Queen
The exhibition-museum "Queen: The Studio Experience" opened its doors in 2013 in Montreux following the closure of the famous Mountain Studios. This recording studio was formerly owned by the band Queen from 1979 to 1993. The site has since been transformed into a permanent exhibition in honour of the British group.
Queen: The Studio Experience, which is managed by the Mercury Phoenix Trust, was opened on December 2, 2013 in the presence of Queen's guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor and David Richards, the sound engineer who worked more than 25 years within the Mountain Studios. This exhibition faithfully retraces one of the most important periods in the life of the band Queen and also marks the 40th anniversary of their first album.
The Freddie Tour as well as the Freddie Tour (Extended), guided tours organised in Montreux will give you a wealth of information about this mythical place. These excursions will allow you to discover, in an original and unprecedented way, the rich musical past of the city of Montreux through the story of one of its most illustrious guests, Freddie Mercury!
Visit the Queen: The Studio Experience
As well as being a faithful reconstruction of the atmosphere of the period, the main hall of this exhibition is full of personal effects that belonged to Freddie Mercury and Queen, such as numerous stage clothes made by his faithful costume designer Diana Moseley or manuscript letters and photos from the period. There are also various musical instruments, such as John Deacon's bass, Roger Taylor's drums and a replica of the "Red Special", Brian May's famous guitar, which he built himself in 1964 with the help of his father. Essentially created from salvaged materials, Brian May would have spent only £17 on components to make this guitar, which would become world famous.
The original studio control room has been reproduced exactly as it was. It is located in a small room at the back of the exhibition, and is accessible to the public. A reproduction of the famous original Neve console has been installed to allow visitors to put themselves in David Richards' shoes and mix 4 hits of the band (Made in Heaven, Mother Love, Bicycle Race and Invisible Man). This famous console, qualified at the time as the best console in the world, is now at the Svenska Grammofon Studion in Gothenburg, Sweden. It is still used for professional recordings. Also in the same room is the famous 24-track recorder of the Swiss brand Studer.
This control room contains countless precious memories. One of the most striking is that of the last recording of Freddie Mercury, then seriously affected by the disease. It was in this piece that he recorded Mother Love, a song that was released posthumously on Queen's last album, Made in Heaven, in 1995. In a very poignant way, a gilded commemorative plaque was installed on the floor, recalling the place where the singer was standing during this final voice recording.
At the back of the main hall, hidden behind a discreet curtain, a small cinema room is available for visitors and the curious, who can isolate themselves for a moment in a darkened room. This part of the exhibition shows several extracts from the famous documentary "Queen - Days of our Lives". First shown on BBC Two in May 2011, this two-part British documentary was directed by Matt O'Casey. It tells the true story of Queen and shows the highlights of the British quartet.
The Queen: The Studio Experience, managed by the Mercury Phoenix Trust, was produced with the invaluable collaboration of Greg Brooks, Queen's official archivist. It presents visitors with a chronological overview of all the albums recorded in Montreux and is packed with archives and unpublished documents. It begins with the first album "Jazz" recorded in Montreux in 1978 and extends to the last posthumous album "Made in Heaven" recorded with Freddie's vocal parts before his death.
Mountain Studios Recording Studio
The site of this permanent exhibition, Queen: The Studio Experience, is housed in the former premises of Mountain Studios, the legendary recording studio that Queen acquired in 1979 and which itself is located within the current Casino Barrière in Montreux.
The list of artists who came to record there at the time is just as grandiose as the aura of its owners. To name but a few: Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, B.B.King, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Yes, Duran Duran, Chris Rea, Sting, Phil Collins, or AC/DC.
David Richards began his career as a sound engineer at the Mountain studio when it opened in 1975. He was then assistant to John Timperley, who held the position of Chief Engineer. Richards took over from Timperley when he left in 1977 and continued to work there until 2002.
Mercury Phoenix Trust
The Mercury Phoenix Trust is a foundation that was established following the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991 by the members of Queen (Brian May and Roger Taylor, the band's guitarist and drummer respectively, and Jim Beach, their manager). In recent years, the Trust has donated more than $16 million and has funded more than a thousand projects worldwide in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
Freddie Tours is a direct supporter of the Mercury Phoenix Trust, as a portion of the proceeds from each booking go directly to the Trust.
Practical information for your visit
The address of the place:
Casino Barrière de Montreux
Rue du Théâtre 9
The Casino Barrière de Montreux is located in the city centre of Montreux, about a 15-minute walk from the train station. Admission is free and the exhibition, which is located inside the Casino, is open every day from 10:00 to 22:00.
More information on the Queen: The Studio Experience:
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