The address is very tasteful: The Beverly Estate Drive at the end of Benedict Canyon is one of the quiet, secluded corners of Beverly Hills. Less than ten minutes from Sunset Boulevard and yet high in the mountains, with panoramic views of the City of Angels and surrounded by picturesque greenery. Those who reside here are right in the middle and yet completely out of the public line of fire and neither have to fear tourists nor paparazzi. Once you have passed the inconspicuous gate, which does not allow any speculation about the size or style of the property, you stand in an inner courtyard with a fountain to which three buildings are connected: the main house, a guest house and a studio complex. Everything was built in 1951 in the Spanish colonial style, with cream-coloured walls and dark woods. Current market value: around four million dollars. "Probably the best investment I've ever made," giggles the landlord. "I moved in here in 1995 at a bargain price. I've had enough of England for good. What can I say? I haven't regretted it for a minute. I really found my paradise on earth here."
What the man with the wildly proliferating, slightly grey curly head, the well-groomed full beard and the grown pilot's glasses understands by it, he shows during a small tour. Jeff Lynnes Studio has something of a large, empty barn: a tall, bright room, completely lined with wood, with a long bar counter, great acoustics, and a circular balcony on the second floor. "I'm recording here," announces Lynne with an unmistakable Brummie accent, revealing him as a man from Birmingham, reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne without stuttering and with such idiosyncrasies as "me" instead of "my". That's why it's also "me girlfriend", namely Camelia Kath (widow of the late Chicago guitarist Terry Kath), who waves to us from the balcony, while the 67-year-old presents some devotional objects from ELO history. "Here's the original robot from the '77 tour, for example." Speaks and refers to a tin box that looks like a relic from the first moon landing.
The kitchen and living room are shiny and full of memorabilia of England, holidays together, Lynnes daughters and other family members, but also of deceased friends such as George Harrison, Roy Orbison or Johnny Cash. And this is just a foretaste of his "holy of holies": a room about 25 square meters in size, in which there is nothing but an old, scraped-off analog mixing console, a monitor, a computer workstation and a leather couch. "This is my control room, where I record what's going on over there in the barn, and from where I can follow everything on screen. So I am here in my quiet chamber, where I can do what I want. I've been using the board since the early 80s. Everything I've produced since then is based on it. By the way, the guitars on the walls are gifts from grateful customers, some of whom I am lucky to have. For example, this one is from Joe Walsh, this one is from Tom Petty, this one was given to me by Roy Orbison, and this one is from Bryan Adams. They're like my trophies."
Bryan Adams' current work "Get Up!", for which Lynne is responsible, was probably his last production order for the time being. Because the electoral Californian is currently experiencing a renaissance as a musician and composer. What began two years ago with Daft Punk, who sampled ELO for their mega seller "Random Access Memories" and thereby brought the 70s heroes back into conversation. This was followed by an honorary doctorate from Birmingham University, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an appearance at the Grammys (alongside Ed Sheeran) and a unique guest appearance in London's Hyde Park, the recording of which was recently released on DVD (see review in this issue). "These were all things that really flattened me and that I never expected. I mean, when I tried an ELO comeback in 2001, nobody cared. But now everyone is crazy about the old songs, and the labels are running the door for me. Seriously, I got a new deal that I didn't think was possible. Of course I liked to record an album there. That went relatively fast too, I had enough material in stock that I had written over the years and only needed to prepare accordingly."