Chamberlain’s chamber

Alan Chamberlain invited me up to his Single-Malt Studio (subtitle: Small-Batch Digital Project Lab) a while back. Now, I already knew Chamberlain from around town. He moved here three years ago and immediately involved himself in the local business community and isn’t shy about telling folks what he thinks about things, which I find refreshing.

But I didn’t know what to expect when I dropped into his West Second Street studio. Turns out that, as usual, Chamberlain—who is also a strategic business consultant—knows what he’s doing. He offered me a drink (water, Sierra Nevada or Diet Coke) and fired up his music-editing equipment. CoolEdit Pro is his software of choice.

“Over the years I always had some kind of recording studio in my home,” explained Chamberlain, who is 47. Oftentimes, his goal is “to convert acoustic energy into digital energy.” He wants to “make records to listen to,” not the kind that you buy and let sit on your shelf after a couple of plays.

Single-Malt Studio, which includes booths for a singer, drummer and an area for larger groups, charges by the hour or day or project. Chamberlain also edits voiceover work for radio, such as Steve Benson’s judicial campaign. Since the studio opened in November 2000, Chamberlain has recorded and edited projects for talents including Highway 99, Bidwell Productions, Sid Lewis and Charlie Haynes, who represents Chamberlain’s favorite genre, jazz. He’d do more, but, Chamberlain commented not unlovingly, “this town has an overabundance of slack.”

Then, Chamberlain picked up an acoustic guitar and announced that he would sing me a song he wrote. (For a split second I silently freaked out: What if I don’t like this and I have to pretend I do?). I was really impressed. He did something from what he calls “The Samba Project,” which he is working on with other local musicians. I’d like to hear more.

Fry ball

Everyone’s talking—when their mouths aren’t full of fries—about the super-smart business move Will Williams made in joining up with the Chico Heat. Nettleton Stadium’s ballpark fare now includes Pommes Frites garlic fries.

Williams said it was the Heat people who first contacted him about the deal (the Heat gets a cut of the sales), but he’d already been toying with the idea. Garlic fries and ball games go hand-in-hand, he said. “It’s a total win for me—just a great relationship to have,” he said. “It was a real coup for my little business.”

Williams is hoping the Heat exposure will draw more customers to the Broadway restaurant, especially during the not-so-hopping summer season. (Besides garlic fries and assorted dipping sauces, Pommes Frites has prepared-on-the-premises polenta, fish and other crispy treats.) "We feel like we’re starting to catch on," said Williams, but, "the heat is not our friend—unless it’s the Chico Heat."