The Tale of the Two Barts
In 1979, while living in Hays, Kansas, I was the bass player in a New Wave/ Punk band called the Extremes. The group performed original material by Singer, Guitarist, and Songwriter of the group, Bart Ward, along with some selected cover songs. Our influences were mostly British groups like The Clash, The Jam, Elvis Costello, Sex Pistols, and the like.
The Extremes L to R John Hix, Bart Ward, Ron Bailey, Mike Miller
Bart was was writing songs like mad, recording demos on an old Wollensak tape recorder he "borrowed" from his High School. Needless to say, we were not a popular band in rural Western Kansas.
Recording in my dining room: Bart Ward, Mike Miller, Alan Hale
Soon we gave up on playing shows and started recording songs with borrowed equipment. I started buying recording equipment and soon after put together a small studio in the garage and an outbuilding at my home.
More and more gear and soon I was recording other local bands. The name Westend came from an excerpt in a Beatles book, where the author referred to the London "West End". Clearly, Bart Ward's interest in songwriting and recording was the impetus for the creation of Westend Recording Studios in 1983.
Bart Meets Bart
In May of 1987 I moved to the Kansas City metro area. My equipment was stored in a spare bedroom with no plans for the future. Bart Ward had also relocated to KC about a year before and was playing in a band called "The Now". He told me of their plans to do some recording and asked me to visit a small studio they planned to use, Holly Hill. Holly Hill was an 8 track facility located in a small building at 47th and Holly St just west of the Plaza.
While in Hays, some of the recording equipment I purchased was from Superior Sound in Kansas City where I met Bart Biechele. I met him a few times in person, but mostly I dealt with him on the phone. I was surprised to find out upon arriving at Holly Hill that Bart Biechele was part owner of the studio with J.J. Johnson. After a short conversation, I was part of Holly Hill. The rebirth of Westend was right around the corner and again Bart Ward played a roll in it. Holly Hill lasted about a year. I started looking for a new space and asked Bart Biechele to join me.
Bart Biechele at Westend, KCK 1991
In December of 1988 Westend Recording Studios opened for business at our current location at 1911 West 45th Ave. Over the next 23 years, we added a second studio, upgraded equipment several times, and made many new friends and clients. Bart left the company in 1998 to pursue other interests. Bart's impact on the success of Westend in those first years was enormous. Sadly, Bart passed away in 2006.
Current Control Room
The Westend of today features the best of vintage analog and modern digital technology. We strive ( and always have) for a friendly, comfortable and creative atmosphere. Westend is STILL one of the city's best values in audio recording.