Seedheads frontman Kevin Pulido says the lack of affordable practice space countywide may impact the ability of his five-man reggae band to stay together.
They were just kicked out of Storage West, a San Marcos storage unit that has long been known as a welcoming place for practicing bands.
“We did find a new place in Vista,” says Pulido. “But it was twice as much [money]. One of our members says he may not be able to continue because of the extra cost.”
Pulido says their new practice space is located in a converted house.
Storage West district manager Ric Kaestner confirms that his company has evicted all practicing bands from their storage units throughout San Diego County and that the Seedheads were the last band to leave his San Marcos facility, which has for years had a band-friendly reputation. He says he gave all the ejected bands a two-month notice.
“It’s not just Storage West...it’s an industry-wide decision.”
Kaestner says that storage facilities used to be “relaxed, mom-and-pop operations,” but now, as the industry has become more corporately owned, operators don’t want tenants who smoke, drink, and hang out.
And business is still good. Kaestner says that Storage West enjoys an 89 percent occupancy rate.
“It’s a liability issue,” Kaestner tells the Reader. He says it was always in their contracts that tenants were to only use their space for storage. “But now storage companies are executing that part of that contract... We have never had any problems. But all it takes is one little lawsuit.”
He says bands and their friends have triggered after-hours alarms. “We had to tell the police that everything was okay.”
Pulido says his Seedheads used to pay Storage West around $200/month, which was feasible for his all-original roots-reggae band.
Kaestner says he recognizes that there is a huge, unmet need for bands looking for a place to practice.
“I told them they should find someone who could come up with $5000 to $10,000 to get a warehouse and build some rooms just for band practice. There are so many bands looking for practice space.”
The Seedheads perform for a free-admission, all-ages show at noon on Saturday at the 29th Annual Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club Contest and Beach Festival. They play at the pier-adjacent bandshell along with Upfull Rising, the Younger Brothers, Millionaire Beachbums, Ocean Natives, and Triloc.
UPDATE: Although Seedheads used the word "eviction" to describe their leaving Storage West, Storage West district manager Ric Kaestner makes it clear that an actual eviction process was not used for any of the bands who left. He says that bands willingly left when they were told they could no longer practice in Storage West. He said the bands could stay as storage tenants, they just couldn't practice at Storage West any more.