Tweakers Took My Speakers

Drummer Andy Robillard has been playing in local bands for 15 years, including Butch Wax Duo and gogogo airheart. His latest band the Tighten Ups rents a room at the Universal Sound practice complex near the Sports Arena.

He has some words of wisdom to all the other bands who rent practice rooms: There are tweakers out there who can and will rip you off. “Get renter’s insurance. It’s about $300 a year.”

On December 12, the Tighten Ups’ 30’ x 15’ rehearsal room at Universal Sound Studios was broken into. “They got a guitar, a bass, and a couple amps with speakers. They took a Rogers drum set my dad gave me 30 years ago, a karaoke machine, and a 24-track board. They took between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of crap. They came in two different times and robbed a total of four rooms. The band Canobliss got hit really hard.”

Robillard says he has a $500-deductible policy. “I had insurance for three years and I never used it. I almost didn’t renew it, but I [renewed it] just a few weeks earlier.”

The Tighten Ups filed a police report, but he says there are no leads that he knows of.

“I think somebody left the front door open. On our room we had a padlock, a deadbolt, and a handle lock…and they still got in. They had all night. It was probably tweakers.”

SDPD Detective Anderson confirms there were four rooms that were burglarized and that there are currently no leads.

Universal Sound Rehearsal Studios includes a 20-room complex near the Sports Arena and a 40-room complex on Miramar Road. All 60 rooms are “lock-outs,” which means each band has exclusive use of the room on a month-to-month basis.

Universal owner Sean Brandes says there was no alarm system at his Sports Arena building. He says security “is up to each band. A couple of bands put in their own alarm systems.”

He says thefts have never been an issue until recently. “Then we got hit twice in the past few months.”

Robillard appears with the Tighten Ups February 8 at the Bar Pink.

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Anyone (especially Tweekers, but OK anyone) who rips off hardworking musicians should, when they eventually die of their inevitable overdose -- be put in a hell that consists of a cramped elevator full of un-bathed junkies and tweekers going "Cold Turkey" (also the name of a punk record Lennon made before punk existed) playing a MUZAK versions of Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life and mmm... Free Bird...

This is just sad. If ANYONE, after reading this story spends ONE THIN DIME with this company they are fools.

I used to rehearse at this place back in the 1990's when the Manning brothers ran it. Believe me, it was pristine. Pete and Johnny kept it spotless. I was shocked at how downhill it had gone in just a few years. If you keep your stuff there, expect the worst.

And this story just green-lighted the fact that this location is nonsecure, and is ripe for the picking by those who would seek to rip off musicians.

And SDPD? That's a joke unto itself! SDPD is OK with the theft of musical instruments, because in their eyes that equates to one less noise complaint they have to field. One less barfight they have to break up. They don't care. A well-known drummer here in town had gotten his drumset stolen, filed a report, and waited. 3 months later he found his drums for sale on Craigslist, called SDPD and they flat-out refused to help him. What did he do? He bought his gear back from the thieves.

The only real solution is to lie in wait for the thieves, and work them over with an ax handle. Of course, he law would penalize YOU for protecting your gear.

Bottom line? Don't rent from this company.

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