As was first reported by the Reader on May 2 of this year, ex-members of As I Lay Dying bought Brick by Brick, which has been closed since February. The Bay Park music venue was purchased by a corporation owned by guitarists Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso and drummer Jordan Mancin. Frontman Tim Lambesis cofounded the local Christian metal band with Mancin in 2000. In May, Lambesis was sentenced to six years in prison for a murder-for-hire attempt on his ex-wife. Mancin, Hipa, and Sgrosso’s new band, Wovenwar (Metalblade Records), takes off for a four-month U.S./ European tour July 17.
The Brick liquor license transferred June 23. It was unclear when the venue would reopen. Attempts to reach the new owners or ex-owner Max Paul were not successful. Details were not disclosed. Based on market rates, the license was worth about $70,000. Some $30,000 in old tax liens needed to be paid before the license could be transferred.
San Diego’s hard-rock axis now seems to be shared by Brick by Brick and the Ramona Mainstage. Guitarist and metal fan Vic Nieto has promoted shows at both. He is now the principal talent buyer and production manager at Ramona Mainstage. He points out that there are pluses and minuses for both venues. The Mainstage’s 550 capacity is 150 more than Brick’s. The Mainstage can admit those 18-and-up (Brick is 21-plus).
On the other hand, Brick has a full-liquor bar and is more centrally located.
“This business is cutthroat,” says Nieto. “It’s all who you know. Those guys [in Wovenwar] are part of a big agency [ICM]. And I am sure that they will get most of the other bands that are signed to that agency. But I also know that some agents don’t want to do business with Brick by Brick.”
Nieto has been promoting shows since Brick by Brick’s Paul gave him a break in 2011. He has since booked UFO, Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmstein, and Saxxon. He says with Brick by Brick back in the mix, the added competition will force local venues to pay more. “This is exactly what agents want. But Orrin [Day, Mainstage owner] will not bid so much that he loses overhead. The fact is, Mainstage doesn’t have to be open every day; Brick by Brick does. And let’s face it, the local band scene is not drawing that well nowadays and it’s only gotten worse.”
On June 28, Brick by Brick’s Facebook page was updated with the following shows: Vinny and Carmine Appice, July 24; Burning of Rome, July 26; Fuel, July 31.