Down the Drain

While the name Jeff Zeigler might not be a household name in Philadelphia outside of the city’s music scene, he has produced and recorded some of the biggest names to come out of Philadelphia in the past 10 years.

Back in late June, Zeigler’s new studio flooded, which caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of financial setbacks for his recording business. | Photo submitted by Jeff Zeigler.

When Jeff Zeigler moved into his new space in Port Richmond at the beginning of March, the last thing he expected he’d have to deal with was a 2-foot geyser in his new building. 

“My old studio was in Chinatown near Prohibition [Taproom], if you know where that is,” he explained. “I was over there for, like, 13 years, but that building got sold, and I managed to find this spot for what seemed at the time to be a pretty good place.”

But alas, in one of the recent thunderstorms the city has gotten over the last few weeks, a blockage in Zeigler’s building’s drainage system caused his brand new spot to badly flood. It wasn’t Zeigler’s house that flooded, however. It’s Zeigler’s new warehouse space that he’s been turning into a music studio since he started renting it out back in March. While the name Jeff Zeigler might not be a household name in Philadelphia outside of the city’s music scene, Zeigler has produced and recorded some of the biggest names to come out of Philadelphia in the past 10 years. Zeigler has worked with the likes of Steve Gunn, Kurt Vile and A Sunny Day in Glasgow. The most famous artist he’s worked with is The War On Drugs. The band won a Grammy for its most recent album, A Deeper Understanding, which Zeigler worked on. 

“We did some sessions early on for that and then a little stuff toward the end,” he said. “I also helped co-produce and engineer some of the earlier stuff.”

Zeigler’s studio, Uniform Recording, is a functioning studio, but it’s still a work in progress. There’s lots of construction going on, which Zeigler is doing himself, but the live room is still hosting bands and artists to record. Luckily, there wasn’t much music gear left on the floor at the time of the flood, which was actually the second flood in three weeks (the first time wasn’t as bad, however). However, when it comes to tangible possessions, Zeigler did say he lost “some power tools, some power strips, some adapters, some books,” he said. “But nothing instrument-wise that I’m aware of yet.”

But the most valuable thing Zeigler lost is his time. Recording with world-class producers like Zeigler doesn’t come cheap, and between lost work, labor costs of building the studio (with Zeigler doing the construction himself) and lost materials, he estimates that he lost somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000 on the whole flooding ordeal. Because Zeigler rents the building and doesn’t own it, it’s on the building to fix the drainage system, so at least he doesn’t have to pay for that. In order to pay for everything, Zeigler set up a GoFundMe to offset lost costs. He set the funding goal for $20,000 because it made him “feel a bit more comfortable” to not ask for the entire sum.

“I also just felt a little personally uncomfortable starting one,” he said. “I think the idea of putting it on the lower side made me feel a bit more comfortable about it, I guess.”

At this time, Zeigler has raised $15,075 of his $20,000 goal.

“[I]’m completely overwhelmed by the show of support, and can’t properly express how much this campaign has saved this studio and helped me regain some sanity,” he wrote on Facebook, expressing his gratitude. To donate to Zeigler’s cause, click here.