Check out the video for Wendy Schneider's "The Smart Studio Story," screening for free at The Union Oct. 4.

FREE Screening of ‘Smart Studio Story’ Comes to The Union Oct. 4

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In 1982 legendary rock producers and musicians Butch Vig and Steve Marker transformed a dilapidated warehouse on the skirts of unassuming Madison, WI into Smart Studios. In time, the studios would come to be known as the institution behind the creation of some of the most influential albums of the past three decades.

The Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, TAD, Killdozer, The Young Fresh Fellows, Garbage (Marker and Vig’s band), Archers of Loaf – and, in later years, Fall Out Boy, Death Cab For Cutie, Sparklehorse and Hawthorne Heights (as well as numerous others) would either record or have their albums mixed in the confines of the small space that was shut down in 2010 due to financial stress.

Butch Vig and Steve Marker, the founders of Smart Studios. (
Butch Vig and Steve Marker, the founders of Smart Studios. (

Shortly following the demise of the studio, filmmaker Wendy Schneider began to investigate the impact of the closing studio on the surrounding community. Thus the seeds for the feature length documentary, The Smart Studios Story, were planted.

The film, which will screen for free at The Union on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. – was already received to much critical acclaim at this year’s SXSW festival.

“When I started this, I really hadn’t anticipated working seven years on a feature-length documentary,” said Schneider. “As I started to interview people and hear about the strong history of the studio and it’s relationship to the Midwest and the relationship of the Midwest to rock music in general, I felt really moved to continue working and to expand the project.”

Some of the artists interviewed for the film include Dave Grohl of Nirvana and The Foo Fighters, Shirley Manson of Garbage, Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, Donita Sparks of L7, Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie and many more.

The feature includes rare and never-before-seen archival shots starring some of the most influential rock acts to take part in the post-‘70s independent music movement.

Doors for the event open at 8 p.m. and the screening will take place at 8:30 p.m. Admission is free and the soundtrack, which will only be available during the film’s screening tour, will also be on hand for purchase. For more information, visit the Facebook event page for the Union screening. This screening is presented by the Hocking College School of Music.