Gus Dudgeon: 1942 – 2002
In tribute to the late producer, The Gus Dudgeon Foundation was launched in England on June 30, 2004. This non-profit, of which Elton is a patron, was established to help the top audio technology students in various British universities fold in some real-life production experience to their studies. As founder Chris Hook puts it, “This is like a post-graduate course; the students basically record a whole song from scratch. The whole idea is to teach how you approach the artist. How you do the artist’s vocal recording, how you talk to the artist, how you deal with session musicians and how you mix it, the choices that you make.
“Sometimes at university they’re twiddling around in their room for days on end, doing something very small that they’ve knocked out with their friends and they’re just playing with just the routing. So they understand where things go, but we’re trying to take them back to the fact that you’re trying to get a performance out of people.”
Gus’s custom-made MCI mixing board, rescued from his studio, The Mill, by Stuart Epps, is the centerpiece for this exclusive one-week course located at the University of Glamorgan in Cardiff. “The Gus Dudgeon Studio Suite is becoming sort of a museum,” says Chris. “There are photographs and, because Gus was a huge fan of rhinoceroses, the biggest ceramic rhino statue that he had is in the studio as well.”
The students spend a week with a top record producer (the most recent course was instructed by Phil Harding), recording an original song from scratch with the artist who wrote it. Chris Hook says, “They learn how to record the strings and brass and everything, and just do the whole thing as close as possible to the way Gus would have.
“Our hope is that maybe one day people will say, ‘If you want to know how they used to make records, at Glamorgan they’ve got the Gus Dudgeon Suite, which is how we made records at our peak.'”
To learn more about The Gus Dudgeon Foundation, please go to their website.top