Throw the Goat is one of the area’s hardest-working bands. Between national tours, Warped Tour performances and multimedia experiences, the band rarely passes up an opportunity.
That’s why I was not surprised when I learned that frontman Brian “Puke” Parnell had just opened a recording studio, rehearsal spot and performance space.
Audiowild Studios, up the mountain in Idyllwild, has taken over a building—right in the middle of town—that used to be a church.
“I started recording bands out of my apartment maybe five years ago,” Parnell said during a recent phone interview. “I started by helping Johnny Wilson, aka Johnny Trash, the original rhythm guitarist of Throw the Goat. He had written some solo acoustic songs, and after we recorded all the vocals and acoustic guitar, I kind of heard some other instruments in there. We started reaching out to people we know up in Idyllwild who are musicians and were trying to see who wanted to contribute to the album. We ended up with, like, 22 different musicians on there. I just kept the ball rolling after that, and did the 5th Town record, Sweat Act, the Instigator demo and their full-length.
“The idea was always to not be recording in my apartment anymore, but have some place with a little more space, and not annoy my neighbors as much. So at the beginning of this year, I was going through some rough stuff, and I decided that I was just going to take a swing and go for it. There was a unit in the middle of town that I had my eyes on for quite a while; I reached out to the people who own the building, formerly a church, and just threw it out there. I fully expected them to tell me to fuck off, and instead, they said, ‘That it’s a great idea.’”
That meant Parnell had to then come up with the funds to take over the space.
“I basically cashed in everything that I could, hit up everybody who owed me anything, and a very generous friend offered to handle the remainder,” Parnell said. “I’ve had the keys since mid-March and have been working on the soundproofing, remodeling and getting everything up and running. I was wondering when I was going to be able to open the doors, and then I reached out to The People of the Sun to see if they were interested in playing. We worked out the date (July 10), and I just locked it in to force myself to be ready by then.”
Parnell said he loves to help others with their music.
“I like to geek out on my own stuff, but that only goes so far,” Parnell said. “It’s kind of like masturbation in a way. For some reason, I hear songs on the radio, or I listen to albums, and I’ve always been able to pick apart the production that already exists. Almost every time, I hear things that I would have done differently or that I would have added in there; it’s kind of a blessing and a curse. With Instigator, it was like, ‘Hey, let me do this for you guys, so that way, I know that it’s gonna be the way that I would want to do it.’ It’s sort of like when Chris Goss was recording Kyuss: He wanted to do it just to make sure that he would get them to sound the way that he wanted them to.”
Creating a recording studio and performance space is already a great feat, but as Parnell explained, it’s in his nature to “tack on more and more and more.”
“The idea from the beginning was to be able to do live performances as well as recording, and then it occurred to me that I might as well paint the walls behind the stage in chroma key green—to be able to do green-screen filming, because nobody really has that capability up here,” Parnell said. “I brought my guitar bench over, so that way, I would be able to do guitar repair and stuff on top of that. A lot of times, bands get into the studio, and there will be an issue with one of their instruments, or they break a string, so having a workbench in-house is a very helpful thing. Years and years ago, when all of us were living at the ‘Goat House,’ is where the idea came from.”
Parnell said he’d eventually like to be able to do screen-printing and even make CDs in the space.
“I want to basically have it be a one-stop shop for all things musical, and it really helps out that it’s in the middle of town,” he said. “It’s actually kind of shocking that nobody has created a commercial recording studio in Idyllwild. I think it’s going to be a really beneficial thing all around—not just for me and my selfish desires, but for everybody else in the whole music contingency in Idyllwild and beyond.”
I asked Parnell to explain how Audiowild could fuel his “selfish desires.”
“There are lots of different projects and stuff that I’ve been wanting to work on beyond Throw the Goat—little experimental things that I’ve wanted to do, but I just haven’t had the time or patience or proper workspace to be able to do it,” Parnell said. “A lot of my friends who are in bands feel the same way, and they all have little pet projects and stuff they want to be able to do, so having a decent work space to be able to do that is really paramount. Even just having the space in general has been so beneficial to my mental health and well-being, because even when disaster strikes, and I’m having a shitty day, all I have to do is unlock the doors, go in, and start playing around, and it automatically makes everything better. I halfway feel guilty for it. I ended up coming out of the pandemic a better person, and with a rosier outlook, and definitely not everybody can say the same.
“I’m also going to be branching out into doing custom guitars and stuff like that. I’m thinking of calling it ‘Regurgitars.’ There are so many different ideas that I’ve had in that realm for a long time.”
People of the Sun, The Spaceman Trilogy and Throw the Goat have all either already performed or are set to perform at Audiowild. (Full disclosure: My band The CMFs is also slated to perform there as well.)
“I definitely have plans to utilize the space for basically anybody who wants to put a private show together,” Parnell said. “I’m not really looking to be a public venue, necessarily, mainly because I think the smartest thing to do is keep it limited and not really have any random Tom, Dick or Harry be able to walk through the door and steal a guitar off the wall or something. I’d also like to branch out and be able to do showcases and stuff for bands that are interested in getting record deals, if that’s still a thing. … Get the industry bigwigs to come up to Idyllwild; put them up in a fancy little cabin; and have a private little show for them. I think that would be pretty cool.”
Parnell emphasized his desire to help others via Audiowild.
“I guess I could be more self-centered with it, but there’s just such a great music community that I’m really proud to be a part of, and I don’t understand why people aren’t doing more for one another,” he said.
For more information, visit audiowildstudios.com.