…from the Malibu Candyman that bushy bearded and frequently barefooted music super-producer/guru Rick Rubin has just dropped $2,000,000 on the world-renowned and much-beloved Shangri La music studio, nestled into the rustic rolling hills just above Zuma Beach in Malibu, CA.
Mister Rubin, a much in demand and shockingly prolific producer who does not actually know how to read music or operate a sound board, is the co-founder of Def Jam Records–now owned by Universal Music Group–and the current co-president of Columbia Records. The zen-ed out music mogul has worked with a long list of music industry super luminaries who include (but are far from limited to) Johnny Cash, Beastie Boys, Aerosmith, Neil Diamond, The Gossip, Dixie Chicks, Rage Against the Machine, Mick Jagger and the soo–blime Avett Brothers.
The prosaic ranch style main residence at Shangri La was built in the late 1950s by actress/dancer wife Margo, a niece of the late-great Spanish bandleader Xavier Cugat and the long-time wife of two-time Oscar-nominated actor Eddie Albert. According to the recording studio’s website the property became an “upscale bordello” that was “rumored to have hosted the Hollywood elite of the 1950’s.” In the 1960s the tee-vee program Mister Ed was filmed on the property and Mister Ed the horse was stabled on the property.
The property was purchased and converted to a recording studio and rock and roll refuge in the late 1970s by audio engineer and music producer Rob Fraboni. A virtual parade of rock and roll icons and legends flocked to and recorded at the low-key property including Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan (who apparently spent some time living in a tent in the rose garden), Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt, Ringo Starr, and Crosby Stills & Nash.
Although property records Your Mama peeped indicate Mister Chaney actually bought the ocean view property in October of 2006 for $2,125,000, most reports indicate the property was acquired in the early Noughts by Blaine “Beej” Chaney, singer/gee-tarist for the 1980s New Wave band The Suburbs and the former hubby of low-profile Cargill heiress Sarah MacMillan. Make of that what y’all will. Mister Chaney continued with the property’s rock and roll recording history and in recent years Adele, Kings of Leon, Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have recorded albums at Shangri La. Since Mister Rubin has worked with all four of those artists and bands , one can safely presume, he’s intimately familiar with Shangri La.
Although Mister Chaney married into one of the wealthiest families in America, records Your Mama dug up out of the interweb show foreclosure proceedings were initiated on Shangri La in the fall of 2010 and a Notice of Sale was filed in late December with an auction date set for January 13, 2011. It’s not clear to Your Mama if the property was sold out of foreclosure or if Mister Chaney managed to stave off that beast. What we do know is that in May 2011 Mister Chaney pushed the property on the market with an asking price of $4,100,000. Within weeks the price tag had been slashed dramatically to $3,195,000.
Listing information shows the 1.73 acre spread has a main house that measures 4,449 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms plus a detached guest house. While much of the house is devoted to music making and recording listing information indicates there’s a dining room, game room with pool table and built in bar, office, and an eat-in country kitchen. The recording facilities include both state of the art and analog recording abilities with one of the recording studios located in an Airstream trailer with ocean view parked on the property.
We’re not exactly sure to where Mister Chaney decamped. Property records show he and his heiress ex-wife Sarah MacMillan own four contiguous ocean front parcels in Malibu where they custom-built a sizable compound. Of course, just to be clear, Your Mama don’t know a lug nut from a wing nut so we can’t say with any authority whatsoever whether Mister Chaney and/or Miz MacMillan currently reside at the beach front compound.
Mister Rubin has owned property in Malibu since at least 2005 when he paid $4,762,500 for a 4,281 square foot mock-Tudor style residence perched privately on a flat promontory above Point Dume’s Westward Beach, about 1.5 miles from Shangri La.
As far as we know, based on our perusal of property records and other online resources, Mister Rubin continues to own two additional historic estates in Los Angeles. In late 1992 the Buddha-like Svengali producer shelled out $2,045,000 for a gated estate just above the Sunset Strip that includes a 9,268 square foot Mediterranean mansion built in 1924. The Malibu Candyman told Your Mama that the estate was once owned by horror movie actor Lon Chaney and that Mister Rubin outbid Madonna for this imposing manse but Your Mama has no specific or personal knowledge of such an occurrence.
A couple years after buying the house Madonna (allegedly) wanted Mister Rubin spent a comparatively paltry $785,000 for an nearby estate in Laurel Canyon with a long and legendary Hollywood provenance. Some online reports suggest that master illusionist Harry Houdini bunked on the property for a short period of time in the early/mid 1920s. However, there seems to be some question about whether Mister Houdini actually lived in Mister Rubin’s house/studio, occupied another nearby house or if he ever lived in Laural Canyon at all. We suspect the mystery of he whereabouts would please him. Anyhoo, according to the fine folks at The Movieland Directory, the Mediterranean mansion was rented in the late twenties and early 1930s by Mister Houdini’s widow Beatrice (Bessie). The property was later owned or rented, also as per The Movieland Directory, by a slew of Tinseltown pooh-bahs like Errol Flynn, W.C. Fields, and Jimi Hendrix as well as underworld entrepreneur Bugsy Siegel who
Various earlier reports stated that Mister Chaney wanted Shangri La sold to someone who would respect and carry the property’s deep and wide rock and roll history into the future. Mister Rubin’s acquisition ensures that not only will Shangri La continue to host music industry icons for years to come but also that it will retain its decidedly un-fancy down home charms that have drawn music industry legends (and legends in the making) for decades.
listing photos: Sotheby’s International Realty