I have played in bands for the last 20 plus years and in every band there is the guy who provides the jam space. I am that guy for all my bands as far back as I can remember. Now don't get me wrong, there have been other members who have provided suitable places to practice but it always seems to always come back to me.
In the beginning I lived on a little farm on the outskirts of town, so it was no big deal to be making loud noise. Cows and pigs don't give a shit about anarchy. We would play and party all night long with out police interruption.
Then I moved to the big city where practice spaces are a hot commodity. Usually I was in two bands so we shared a space and that left me to be the one to collect everyone's 18 bucks at the beginning of each month. That shit sucked. I hated trying to squeeze cash out of my band mates and having to deal with all the rules and regulations of some douche bag landlord who reigns over my gear. Or, how about the lack of privacy? Nothing like having the occasional drunk moron music critic stop by to give his two cents…
Every time I have rented a room it turns out bad. Can't return equipment after midnight, pay 200 dollars a month to practice in a space that we can't even fit our drum kit in, tons of stairs, or landlords… Mother fucking landlords. One dick neck locked us out of our bathroom sized space because we were one day late with his 150 bucks. Let me get this straight, you are going to put a lock on a door which houses my equipment worth thousands of dollars and I don't get a key to for it. Fuck no! After I threatened his life he saw things my way and let us in, I guess he didn't want to have to replace his door. Sometimes being over six foot is a good thing.
In another place, we got fed up with all these rules and regulations we had to follow and our junkie singer broke the door into the space, so we decided to move out. I gave this guy a piece of my mind and I told him his place sucked and he was taking advantage of local musicians. He just smiled with dollar bills in his eyes and said I would be back. No fucking way, I promised myself I would never go back there no matter what, that was over ten years ago.
But true, all this bullshit still does beat having cops give you citations for noise. Early on I learned how to take carpet and attach it to any surface. Walls, windows and ceilings covered in dumpster dived carpet. Yup, the fucking nastiest shit ever we nailed to the wall. Fucking dust and dirt of some foreign nature falling on your head and breathing up into your nostrils. There was a reason they threw that shit stained carpet away in the first place but we didn't care. We could make any room airtight. You would start practicing and the smell and the heat would begin rising. It would get about one hundred and fifty degrees and band members would start turning green and falling out.
There was a group of row houses that always had hip people living in them. Well hip people got basements to jam in. There were a few snags, you run into scheduling problems if no one in the band lives there and coming to practice to find your gear all rearranged just to hear, “sorry my boyfriend and his friends wanted to screw around on your stuff”. One of the row houses we would practice had these two hippies hanging around with the girls there, making smart ass quips about our look and our music. Turns out those were the South Park guys before they hit it big and now make fun of everyone. Another one would rain water in on you from a leaky faucet up stairs.
So I decided no more! I am not going to move into a house unless I can play there, period. Yep, bands started practicing in my bedrooms. Sometimes that can be a great thing and sometimes not. One thing for sure, you can not be accused of lack of effort in the band or get kicked out when you give up your space for the greater cause.
Then came warehouse living. Perfect, no noise ordinance, plenty of space, and no fucking stairs! It's a musician's playground. If I get wasted and me and my roommates want to jam at 3 in the morning, no problem. If we join Motley Crue and need to work on some pyrotechnics, no problem. If a ska band with 10 members needs a place to stay the night, pull up some concrete boys, no problem. Want to score a giant rock of crack cocaine out my front door, no problem...wait, what?
Oh, there is a down fall to some warehouses. They happened to be located generally in industrial zones. It turns out homeless crackheads love hanging around these types of places. The warehouse I live in happens to be next door to two different Missions. So there are lots and lots of crackhead zombies wondering around. A few years ago I lived in a warehouse that is adjacent to the one I live in now. Once my drug addict roommate moved out we decided to not only practice there but to throw shows. That went smooth until some of the guys from one of the shows decided to rip off some crackheads out front. Well a big brawl ensued between the punks and the crackheads which sucked because everyone inside didn't know why it was going down. They just knew friends were getting fucked with. It was a Halloween party so of course someone had a giant double dildo. Well needless to say double dildos don't make good war hammers but it was the only funny thing about that day. Watching that giant rubber dick smash zombies in the head was hilarious!
I have seen people shot, stabbed and robbed. Prostitutes kicked and punched by their pimps. Every kind of drug consumed, a few overdoses and I stopped one car jacking while I was dressed up as a barbarian (whole other story there). Oh, and one baby born on the sidewalk. Seriously, I took a picture of the stain next to our door.
Eventually our landlord installed this hose that runs along the top of the building that squirts water out periodically on the bums. Subsequently that wasn't enough to thwart their overt crack consumption, so next the landlords hooked up these speakers that emit a very high frequency… Akin to feedback. It ascends in pitch then drops again in an endless loop. I had to ask them to stop that shit. I couldn't even think with that noise going on super loud outside. But still the freedom that a warehouse affords easily out weighs it all. The crackheads do love to dance to everything but Grindcore. Even with all this, it has been worth it to have a jam space!