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The Spin I’m In: And the Beat Goes On

Down by the LA river, in the grimy, industrial, "Repo Man" part of town, stands a couple of buildings swarming with activity 24/7. Amongst the lonely warehouses and wandering homeless people, ladies and gentlemen I bring you Downtown Rehearsal, two hundred and twenty rooms of band "lock-outs". 

You see, at first a band will rent a rehearsal space by the hour, usually a three hour minimum. The drag about this is that you have to lug your gear in and out after every rehearsal. But once a band gets a bit more serious (or can afford it) they move on up to a highly coveted "lock-out".  This means that the space is now yours, you pay monthly. It's a total luxury to be able to leave your gear set up.

Every city has its own buildings of "lock-outs". The infamous and very sketchy Music Building in Midtown Manhattan was amazing. My friends The Lunachicks rehearsed there in a room with Freaks who were "willed" the room from The Fuzztones, who got the room from Madonna.

At Downtown Rehearsal, the creaky freight elevator ascends, covered in band stickers,  floor after floor, and one hears a different cacophonous blend of out of tune -caterwauling dark wave, uneventful roadhouse blues, salsa extravaganzas, ho-hum punk rock bands, and (my favorite) grind-core with Cookie Monster vocalizing. 

A total microcosm of the music industry and radio, some of it is god awful in my opinion. But because everyone can hear what their neighbors are up to, I'm sure there are bands listening to mine thinking "who is that? God, that is awful!"

In the usually dirty bathrooms, the toilet paper is on a locked rod so no one will steal it and the light bulbs sometimes end up missing too,. I've been in much swanker joints, but I still find this place somewhat glamorous and exciting. People are creating, bad as it may be, they're working on it. 

For some bands who are determined to "make-it", this place is a Field Of Dreams, for others, they've just got to have their fix of turning it up loud and kicking out the jams. And the beat goes on………

I'd love to hear The Spin You're In in the comments section

The Spin iMix In: And The Beat Goes On

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The Spin I'm In: And The Beat Goes On

Song

Artist

Mars On Fire

Earthlings?

Modern Romance

Sasha Dobson

No Complaints

Beck

Family Affair

Mary J Blige

Tender

Blur

Here I Am (Come and Take Me)

Al Green

Evil (Live Version)

Interpol

Clara Bow

50 Foot Wave

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Donita Sparks

Donita Sparks

Donita Sparks is a singer/songwriter living in Los Angeles, CA. Her first solo record, Transmiticate, has been released nationwide and a US tour is booked for Spring and Summer 2008. Donita is also the co-founder and front person of the rock band L7 who have released six studio albums.

Her original scores can be heard in the upcoming feature film The Life of Reilly starring Charles Nelson Reilly and in online projects for Activision and Microsoft. In 1991 Sparks and L7 formed Rock For Choice with the Feminist Majority Foundation staging numerous concerts benefiting pro-choice organizations.
Donita has been a contributing writer at Firedoglake since July 2006 with her music column The Spin I’m In.

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