My old band, the Infomercials, practiced at Super Sound Music in Escondido. The facility had two rooms that were equipped with gear (amplifiers, PA, drum kit, mikes), so all you had to do was bring your instruments and drum sticks and you were set. But the economics of a "plug and play" practice space wasn't viable enough to keep the business going, so Super Sound Music owner Brian Aberg closed the doors earlier this year.
"I shut down the rooms because it was costing me a lot of money," says Aberg. "We were losing about $5 an hour on them."
One of the reasons Aberg may have had to shut down is because he rented his spaces by the hour instead of monthly. Aberg believed monthly rooms attracted more established bands while groups in their early stages opted for hourly rooms.
"I'd say bands most definitely prefer to rent monthly. Who wouldn't? You have all your own stuff there set up and ready to go, and you can spill all the patchouli oil you want on your own bass amp. Only problem is if the cost is worth it for you. Many bands I had only played twice a month. Most monthly rooms are $400 to $500, whereas I did $20 an hour. The average time a band would rehearse would be three hours, so $120 versus $400 to $500 is a big difference."
Aberg encountered a variety of musicians, ranging from country to jazz to death metal.
"I had some classical cello soloist during the daytime, when it was quieter. Another time, some crazy dude that played his bongos to a Carlos Santana CD for five hours then later passed out drunk in my parking lot."
Aberg says he is looking to get back into the same line of business.
"For now the plan is to open a larger place in Escondido offering both monthly and hourly [rooms]. I'd like to do eight to ten monthly rooms and four to five hourly equipped rooms."