Barely a month after his death from complications resulting from a long battle with Lewy body dementia, Bob Biggs, founder of the legendary L.A.-based punk label Slash Records, has had his idiosyncratic and remote compound in Tehachapi, Calif., listed by his wife Kim for $2 million.
Biggs was an artist and punk rock visionary who signed seminal underground acts such as L7, The Germs, Violent Femmes and The Blasters in the late ‘70s and early ’80s when major labels wouldn’t touch them, and he often contributed original artwork to their album covers. It’s fitting, then, the iconoclast lived in an one-of-a-kind compound that comes complete with a 2,600-square-foot artist’s studio and a six-stall breezeway horse barn set amid 80 acres of arid and secluded scrubland.
Located two hours outside of L.A. in the mountains southeast of Bakersfield, the remote spread is as eye catching as it is solitary. The description of a “modern day concrete fortress” in the listing descriptions conjures the image of an eccentric music mogul holed up in a secured, possibly armed desert estate. In reality, the nearly 3,900-square-foot main residence is more of a nod to minimalist Asian architecture than anything fortress-like. Although the copious use of raw concrete does give it a certain brutalist aesthetic, three stone fireplaces and wood-trimmed windows and doors add warmth to the chic and sophisticated pavilion
Set on a promontory at the base of Tomo Khani State Historic Park, not too far from Tehachapi’s emerging wine region, with views of the surrounding canyon, the home was designed by architect Carl Day and competed in 2003. Being 12 miles outside of town, the property has a very low walk score with trips to the post office and supermarket a well-planned undertaking. Its isolated location, in fact, requires water come from an on-site well and, due to the omnipresent danger of wildfire, the main residence is protected by custom metal shutters.
Inside, the voluminous living room’s smooth concrete floors, crisp white walls and vaulted ceilings are offset by a rustic stone fireplace. French doors open the room to the outdoors. The kitchen is sleek, modern and high-end with gleaming white countertops on clean-lined wood cabinets. A bowed island snack bar divides the kitchen from a combination dining area and lounge with a second stone fireplace. Telescopic glass sliders open the kitchen to a skylight-topped atrium filled with potted plants. The main floor master suite offers a third stone fireplace along with two huge walk-in closets and a compartmentalized bathroom. As in the kitchen, telescopic glass sliders open the room to the light-filled atrium. There’s a guest bedroom on the main floor and another upstairs with an en-suite bath along with a third-level loft space with wrap-around views of the surrounding desert.
It’s far cry from the raucous hedonism of L.A.’s late ‘70s punk scene but an undoubtedly tranquil and idyllic setting for Bob Biggs to spend his final years.