Bands on the Run

Pann, singer-guitarist with circaNow, says the musicians who rented space at Universal Sound rehearsal complex near the Sports Arena were not happy when they found out they had to vacate the property.

“We got notices that said the lease for the building ran out on [January] 27 and that we had to be out by the first [of February]. A lot of bands got really pissed off. They basically trashed the place. There were busted lights. The walls were trashed. A mannequin was shoved through a wall.”

Pann says he tried to get in contact with Universal owner Sean Brandes. “I tried to get ahold of him a bunch of times, but it was obvious his voice mail was flooded. You couldn’t even leave a message. We still owe past rent that we wanted to pay and are still willing to pay, but we couldn’t even get a hold of him to pay that. I think he was busy. I think he had a lot on his plate. I think a lot of people ripped him off. Some of the bands that practiced there were big jackasses. They really trashed the place bad. A bunch of the metal bands were really being idiots. They were really disrespectful. That was not cool.”

The Sports Arena Universal Sound complex included 20 rehearsal rooms. Universal still operates a 40-room rehearsal complex at 8840 Miramar Road. SDPD Detective Anderson says that she has reports of four different rooms at the Sports Arena complex that were broken into and robbed of equipment in mid-December. “From what we heard, a total of eight rooms were cleaned out,” says Pann.

Pann says his band had been paying $400 a month for a 10-by-14-foot room at the Sports Arena complex for over a year.

“It’s sad to see it go. We really need to have a place nearby. It was good to have [24-hour access] so when we came home at four in the morning we could unload. There is an absolute need in that area for more practice space. I used to go there and play music every single day. We need a new place pronto.”

An employee named Dale answered a call to the Universal Sound facility on Miramar Road. He said that Brandes was in London.

Brandes responded by email: “Let’s just attribute it to a tough economy. There are not enough bands that can pay at the moment and the profit margin is too thin for the business to survive.”

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It sucks being out a place to practice but really, why the hell would you keep ANYTHING of value in that slum? Seriously, there is no security and it's pretty amazing they have not found a body in there. I used to go there when it was run by Pete Manning (who originally established the place) and it was very nice- the best we had around 1989 when it opened.

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