practice spaces I've known

I grew up playing around speaker wires and empty bottles. Cheap spaces in warehouses, basements - even, once, a room rented out in the Planned Parenthood office building - crammed full of musicians and reeking of stale beer and smoke feel as comfortable to me as most folks' kitchens. You know The Warehouse, that excellent local pool hall? Back in the way back, my dad's cover band rented it as practice space. My sister and I used to roller skate there while they worked out Lola and I Got You Babe and Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Here I am now, 31 years old, not myself a musician (although I was once in the single worst band to ever play in Tallahassee), and I still consider "going to practice" a legitimate social option. A night or two a month, I'll be out there in some storage complex on the edge of town, drinking warming cans of beer, breathing in that old familiar smell, listening to my friends play the same 4 bars of their newest song over and over until they get it just right.

I guess I just feel like real music - the shit that means something - is slapped together by hand. There's sweat in there, and drunken tomfoolery, and shocks from a faulty mic, and band drama. And a little tiny space rented dirt cheap so the musicians can still pay bills and raise their families. If I can't hear that in your rock, I've got no use for it.


Ms. Moon said...

Ooh...a new post. About time, son.
See? I did raise you right!
I love you.

juancho said...

Man, no doubt. I lived with a band in PDX and they played in the basement. I remember many nights going to sleep with the bass oozing up through the walls. Now, a bunch of buddies play every Tuesday in my neighborhood. They're much more civilized about it, but the converted garage has that same sweet smell.

downtown guy said...

Mama: of course you did, I say that all the time.

Juancho: It's weird, practice spaces smell almost like a bar, but not quite. I dunno if the difference is the general lack of cleaning or the introduction of certain other substances to the mix.