WHAT HAPPENED WAS
If you take a look at my recent posts you may notice that they've been a bit infrequent. Hmmm.
Let's see... there I am slamming Def Leppard in late May 2006. A few posts from July 2006, as we prepared to move Smoke and Mirrors Studio to... well....
Ah, yes. There's the disconnect.
I left my last day job at the end of May in '06, fully prepared to go back to music full time. I had new business cards, we were all nutty with MySpace, I had learned so much since the last time I tried to make Smoke and Mirrors a "business". I was very well prepared to do a lot of work and actually make enough to cover the rent and go out to see a movie once in a while. I was very optimistic.
A week later it all caved in. We were told that, after 5 years, we had to be out of the building that housed Smoke and Mirrors by August 1st. Our "landlord," who actually held the lease on the floor we occupied, finally decided to tell us that said lease was up. Suddenly my brand new business cards were obsolete. The internet was disconnected sometime after July 25, 2006. (The Silverface Deluxe Reverb still hasn't been fixed, if you're wondering.)
I was adamant about not following our "landlord" to the new space he was building. After 5 years of broken promises I vowed to move on. And move on we did.
It was then that we met Randy Rollner
, diminutive bassist in Blood Orange, owner of Rollner Architecture Metals, and liar extraordinaire. Randy had a lease on a small building (really a big finished garage) about 2 blocks from my apartment. Randy told us he was 2 years into a 10 year lease and wanted to rent the extra 2 spaces in his buildings to studios. Although the bad vibes flowed from him freely, we were desperate. We gave him a security deposit and moved during the first weekend of August 2006 during a killer heat wave.
We began massive construction of the new studio. Little Randy rehearsed with his terrible band right next door to us and continued to amaze with his compete lack of social skills. Why do tiny bassists have to have such big amps? Are we making up for something here?
Six weeks in, Ted and our friend/carpenter John arrived at the space around noon to find the City Marshall's office locking up the building. They'd gone in with cops and chainsaws, opened all the rooms, inventoried (some of) the gear, and put on a fresh new padlock. In short (pardon the pun), we found out that Randy had been in the midst of eviction by his landlords, whose son Michael originally rented the space to Randy. You may remember Michael from this little piece of news
. Randy had happily taken our cash, knowing full well that his time was nearly up.
To say I was shocked is an understatement; catatonic is probably a more accurate word. I'd left about 2am the night before the eviction, having just played the last track I'd ever record using my beloved Juno 106
. When Randy finally started answering our frantic phone calls a few days later, he said his lawyer was "working on it", and then was unreachable for weeks at a time.
Every bit of music stored on our computer, all of our gear, everything was in that room. We were actively working on projects for clients. We didn't even have the receipts for the equipment and building supplies; they were in the room. We started waiting, got a lawyer, gathered pictures and affidavits. After so many years of being in a studio just about every day, I didn't know what to do with myself.
Six weeks later the building was opened on an order from the court. We got back in, only to find that someone had stolen the Juno, my digital camera, my watch, $900 in cash for rent, nearly all of John's and our tools, and a crappy old worthless lamp. They didn't take the computer, thank God.
That was it for me. I've never been the same.
The day we got the gear back we moved it into our old landlord's new space, and now over a year later the same broken promises (The sound isolation between the rooms will be amazing! It'll be a professional music space! The toilets will actually flush!) float around our heads like so much stale cigarette smoke. Only now the rent is far more expensive, I get no cellphone reception, the location is a bit less than ideal, and the internet connection involves cans and a piece of string.
Still, I'm not really
bitter. At some point during that long summer of 2006, waiting to hear any news about our studio, I came to accept that everything might well be gone. I found I could deal with that. I truly let it go during a late night walk around the neighborhood (I'd pass by the building every day, unable to believe that everything was just a few yards away but completely unreachable). It was a true liberation.
As far as Randy goes, I think the fact that he misspelled "Dumber" on his MySpace page pretty much says it all.