One of the dubious joys of being in a band is finding a suitable place to rehearse. Owners of mills or abandoned factories will make rooms available with a few plug sockets in them and loosely refer to these spaces as rehearsal rooms and then charge a small fortune for excitable youths to make a lot of noise in them. They are not always very nice.
Our current rehearsal room is in a mill in Stockport where a band called No Ceremony/// rent a large room directly from the mill and we rent a third of it off them. As rehearsal rooms go it is quite pleasant, especially when compared to some of the dives we’ve played in before. It has plenty of space, is dry and secure, has plenty of power sockets, lights, toilet facilities and a working lift.
Before finding this room, we used a number of rooms in the same building but rented by a company who had three or four rooms together, all poorly equipped, and with unsuitable features such as shiny laminate floors, broken pianos, smashed windows and obscene graffiti. Rooms such as these will do for the odd session, but utterly fail to inspire the up and coming musician.
When Pete and I were with our previous guitarist and drummer, we rehearsed in a place called Brunswick Mill in Ancoats. It was like something out of Trainspotting. The first room we were shown when we went to visit had no light, only one plug socket and was right next to the second worst smelling toilet in England. It was also up a dangerously uneven and dimly lit staircase and though narrow, damp and dark corridors.
Having politely declined this kind offer, we were then offered an alternative room on the ground floor which at a first glance looked ok although it had an uneven floor, no working light and was again right next to a lavatory of some distinction – it was even worse than the one upstairs. In a moment of insanity, we accepted this room for £200 per month. Within a few weeks there was mould growing on the walls and the toilet which had long since stopped flushing (but was still in regular use) was more like an open sewer.
Our response to the increasingly furry walls was to hang a large blanket over the mould, but it soon started to grow through the blanket. I had been suffering from a bad chest and breathing difficulties for quite a few weeks at the time and I’m quite sure it was related to spending two evenings a week in this room. Carl actually said he’d rehearsed in worse so god knows what sort of hell holes they were. This is the price we pay for our art.
In the end Pete left the band, and I also announced my departure. Later the two of us got the thing going again and recruited a new drummer and guitarist in Nick and Neil, found a rehearsal room fit for human occupation and we’ve been much happier since.