Beyond The Glamour

Pickwick // Practice Space
Photo Source: Eleanor Lonardo http://www.flickr.com/photos/elonardo/

06/21/01
Ragged Glory

We practice at The Sound Museum in the South End. Our building is a former warehouse/industrial complex-type building located in a triangle between South Boston, Bay Village and Chinatown. It’s an interesting melting pot of winos, hookers, drag queens, Chinese Laundromats across the street from Irish pubs, working warehouses, gourmet pastry shops, alleys and vacant lots strewn with trash, piss and used condoms, and townhouses carefully sandblasted by young elitist corpromaggots and Starbucks glitterati (30 years ago the first wave of idealistic young professionals bought up these crumbling townhouses in droves, displacing the “low-income”, i.e. “ethnic” tenants, and then declared the South End to be happily “integrated”. They were wrong).

The road leading to our building always makes me think of post-war Berlin. Inside, it’s not much more glamorous.

Our space is a brick room, with one wall covered with silver lined insulation. No climate control. In the dead of winter, we can only use a space heater for ten minutes or so before playing, lest we blow a fuse. In the dead of summer, it’s a total blast furnace, even with a fan.

Our space carries the stench of starving musicians; stale beer, smoke, sweat, hell knows what else. Sharing the space with two other bands doesn’t help matters, as tidiness isn’t quite a priority in their world. It’s a melee of unwrapped cables, wah-wah pedals, coffee cups, empties, overturned ashtrays, dirt, grime and destitution.

There is nary a hint of glamour involved, at least tangible glamour. We go in, we play very loudly, we sweat off a few pounds, we go home, we come back, break down and hump out the gear, drive many miles, set up, play the gig, break down and hump out the gear, drive many miles back, dump it off back at the space, go to bed at ungodly hours, drag-ass into day jobs, miss loved ones, and deal with aches and pains. We do this frequently. This is the cost of love, and the price we pay for those 45 sustaining minutes on a stage.

This is what we live for. We’re an American band.

Like!
http://www.facebook.com/BrianWestbyeWrites

Follow!
@BrianWestbye

23 comments
  1. No time to read, but love the photo.

  2. Glamour….always over rated.

    • Lotta great noise was made in our glamour-less space. ;)

      • Talk about noise…..practicing piano duets w/another accomplished pianist in my bldg. “Accomplished” means we sight-read at the same noise level…LOUD!
        Music….window to the soul. With you all the way BW!

  3. Great story – thanks for sharing… sometimes an unusual place to write/play/work can inspire!

    • Our space inspired me to play like crazy…and to take a shower. ;)

  4. It’s all about the music.

    • Man, I miss that. *sigh*

  5. My son, the drummer, had the kit at our house, therefore it was the “studio” until they moved on to bigger and better facilities. Oh, we were the joy of the neighborhood for 2 years in a row! I think I am officially numb to sound and the song Crazy Train. Great read!

    • HAH! Yeah, my high school bands were a joy for our neighborhoods as well. Ah, the kids are alright.

  6. Who needs glamour when you’re practicing your craft?

    • Great memories. *grin*

  7. You’ve completely captured a single moment in a way that I didn’t expect. I don’t know what is going on in your world, or why, but you have hit this amazing stride in your writing in the last two weeks, IMHO. More, please. A lot more, please.

    • No words, Courtenay. Just…thank you so much.

      • *Does goofy happy dance*

  8. Remember that Rocky Balboa could only get the “Eye of the Tiger” in that old broken down, smelly, training gym. Just like Rocky Balboa, I’m sure you were far more inspired in this space than you would have been anywhere else.
    Hey, I typed that with a straight face!

    • I read it with a straight face also! You are Spot. On, Grip. Perfect comment, thanks.

  9. writerwendyreid said:

    Although your posts in reference to music aren’t my favorites, they are still really well written. I especially loved the last line. Made me smile. :-)

    • Thanks!

  10. ahaha, i like the colorful description of the place – so seedy. and i like the attitude! i imagined the neighborhood and your and your bandmates’ bodies as you dive for the bed after each performance. ah, you know it… ;) hello, brian!

    • Helloooo! Yes, seedy, sleazy and yes, vaguely homoerotic: we had it all.

      • :)

  11. You caught this one perfectly, Brian! I played solo for a long time, so I rarely had to take the “garage/warehouse” route for rehearsals but I have many friends who did. Still remember the grunge and the excitement of hearing music in the making in the seedy (cheap) parts of town :-)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,227 other followers

%d bloggers like this: