Former 'San Francisco Chronicle' Writer Records Album in Paper's Basement

By: E&P Staff Delfin Vigil was laid off from his job as a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle this spring, but in addition to the line on his resum?, he left the paper with his band's first album -- recorded in the basement of the Chronicle's building.

While searching for a quiet place to avoid the disorder in the newsroom during that time, Vigil stumbled across a mostly abandoned and isolated storage room in the Chron's basement that housed book-review books. Among the old printing presses and stacks of newspapers, Vigil's band, Amores Vigilantes, recorded its debut album, with only a janitor, security guard and Chron book review editor Oscar Villalon as its first audience.

Vigil smuggled in microphones, recording equipment and instruments, and he and his bandmates recorded on nights and weekends in the already soundproofed room. About two-thirds of the resulting album, ?West Coast Kingdom,? (out Dec. 8) were recorded in the makeshift basement studio. While Vigil's efforts were supported by Editor Joe Brown, once another editor heard about his illicit recording sessions he was kicked out of the space.

"The thing about that building is the people who built it had big dreams for the place," Vigil told BayNewser. "It still has a lot of soul -- it's just that the people who run the place find new and creative ways to suffocate it."

Amores Vigilantes will play their first show in Dec. 17 in San Francisco, in case Chron editors would like to see the finished product of those basement recording sessions.


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