Monday, January 4, 2010
Does being a musician have to be so dirty?
On Saturday, I went to look at a rehearsal space for the band. There are five of us now, and with me also playing guitar, we have stuff and we need space. This was a shared space with a bunch of other bands, with some shared equipment, which can be pretty nice. But this place could have been free and I wouldn't have taken it. OH MY GOD. I knew there was trouble when the guy who rents the place met me on Cambridge Street in Allston and then took me down to a basement. A basement. In Allston. And as if the worn staircase weren't bad enough (I mean like so worn that you could see the depths of hell through them), the actual "space" was a decaying shithole with drywall crumbling into inhalable piles. Probably the lovely combination of drywall and asbestos, now that I think about it. He had a ton of amazing equipment--lots of vintage amps and a really nice shared drum kit, plus all the mics and a decent PA. I had to focus on those things to keep from losing consciousness. And when he showed me the bathroom, which had not only NO SINK, but NO FLOOR, i was absolutely sure that one more minute in this place would actually kill me. And apparently, the bands who do use this space would step over my body, because obviously they don't notice how vile it is. I had to go to Guitar Center afterwards to buy a pedal, just to get over my heebie jeebies.
Now, Bass Player A. has a rehearsal space. And until I saw this pit, I thought his was bad. His is in a classic warehouse type building,with a labryinth of hallways and screamo oozing from every cubicle. The bathrooms are gross, though I hear the men's room is a billion times worse than the ladies room. Still, I have (obviously) been to worse places and would pay rent to play there, except for the poison gas being emitted. Technically, it is turpentine from the illegal t-shirt printing/painter's studio right next door. The dude who works there has a problem with solvents, and the ENTIRE FLOOR smells like turpentine. Literally, I get a headache the instant I enter the building. And A.'s studio is RIGHT NEXT DOOR. As if the spilled bongwater didn't make it smell bad enough.
Now, yesterday, I practiced at the creme de la creme of studios, a pay-through-the-nose-by-the-hour place where the established musicians practice, and bands traveling through Boston for shows rehearse. This place is pristine. Unbelievable. The best amps, the best drumkits, anything you could possibly need or forgot to bring, the cleanest bathrooms--this place is amazing. I really can't afford it anymore (if I ever could) but we went out with a bang--because we happened to be the only band practicing yesterday, we got THE BIG ROOM. The picture above is that space, and it doesn't begin to show the size and beauty of the space. Literally, it was bigger than my studio apartment in Brighton, back in my student days. It had an amazing PA that literally made my ears ring. It was like being upgraded to First Class! And as much as I would like to go there again, and keep going there forever and ever, a place so classy was not meant for a girl like me. Sigh.
So in about an hour, I am going to see a space in a sister warehouse to A.'s, and tomorrow, another. But last night, with my brain wired on Diet Coke and brownies, I started thinking about whether it was time to bite the bullet and do something about our disgusting basement. It could work. And then we could move the air hockey table upstairs if we move the drumkit to the studio! Think it's time? I think it's time.