John talks to G. Brown about being his hiring by Jim Guercio as manager of Caribou Ranch (1:35), the famous “Caribou sound” (5:05), adventures with Elton John (6:45), Chicago recording “Wishing You Were Here” with the Beach Boys on backing vocals (10:11), John Lennon’s visit (11:12), Earth, Wind & Fire finding inspiration (12:25), Dan Fogelberg losing a car on the premises (13:36), the hijinks of the Caribou girls (21:38), the studio gear that captured the music (24:32) and the beginning of the end (26:37).
After a stint in the US Army and functioning in the corporate world, John Carsello got the call to run Caribou Ranch, transformed by Chicago producer James William Guercio into the first “destination studio,” an opulent retreat for pop music’s aristocracy outside of the usual Los Angeles or New York circles. With Carsello managing the operation, Caribou was home to many of the biggest pop music recordings of the Seventies and early Eighties, gaining prominence when Elton John recorded the gratefully titled Caribou album in 1974. A veritable who’s who of rock music’s elite passed through Caribou Ranch’s gates on Carsello’s watch—Earth, Wind & Fire, Dan Fogelberg, Stevie Wonder, John Lennon, Joe Walsh, Frank Zappa, Eddie Rabbitt, Michael Jackson and many more. Caribou stayed in operation until an electrical fire ended the era in 1985.