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Comment Archives: stories: Music

Re: “At Smythe's Accordion Center, the Squeezebox Business Booms

What a great article, thank you! My father was an accordionist and I've always loved that sound in any style. I'm glad to know we have this resource in Oakland, I'll definitely check it out. The only thing missing from this review imo is contact info (phone, email, url).;-)

Posted by Mary Pezzuto 1 on 07/17/2018 at 9:44 AM

Re: “At Smythe's Accordion Center, the Squeezebox Business Booms

As a professional accordionist and teacher who's patronized this shop for many years for himself and for his students, Smythe is very competent, reasonable, and honest.

Posted by Mike Zampiceni on 07/12/2018 at 10:57 AM

Re: “At Smythe's Accordion Center, the Squeezebox Business Booms

I love the accordion - have 2 of them - played as a child - now I am 63 and play for myself to keep my skills - I love Alex Meixner - he has his own band - he is one crazy dude trying to keep the accordion alive - I met him in TX at the Wurstfest in New Braunsville and I go back to see him preform every year

Posted by Monica Matteo on 07/11/2018 at 9:17 AM

Re: “At Smythe's Accordion Center, the Squeezebox Business Booms

kimric making the world a more beautiful place. one weird day after another, without relent.

Posted by on 07/11/2018 at 4:48 AM

Re: “Music Teacher David Byrd Helps Make Oakland High School Whole Again

Former Wildcats have started a GoFundMe to raise money for instrument storage, a music library and costs associated with going to competitions. To make a donation, check out the GoFundMe:

Posted by Catherine Ference on 07/09/2018 at 6:37 PM

Re: “Rehearsal Studios' Booming Business Sends Mixed Message About Local Music

Sam, I think people are reacting to the story as bogus because your hypothesis about OMCs motives is not backed by quotes or facts.

Your article acknowledges two reasonable causes for OMCs change of business model: One, a shift towards home studios in hip-hop, and two, Soundwaves reputation for being dangerous. Romantic as the old days sound to the outsider, its hard to ignore claims like the one about two dead bodies. It seems nave to gloss over Soundwaves safety concerns. My impression is that George prioritized the security of the space at a time when something had to change. A lot of musicians would prefer to rent a rehearsal space that it secure, and one without people hanging out in the hallwaysregardless of the style of music being rehearsed, or who the people hanging out are. (Im curious what Alan means by open door policy, specifically?)

I believe it is misleading not to disclose that you were a current tenant at OMC when the story was published.

While the whiteness of OMC may be unfortunate evidence of a larger trend in Oakland, nothing in your article serves as evidence that this particular shift was intentional or systematic. Is there a correlation between increased rockers and displaced rappers? Probably, yes. But youve implied a discriminatory policy without backing up your suspicion. Anyone could insinuate what the missing part of a story looks like; your responsibility as a journalist is to tell the real story using facts and firsthand accounts.

Even Alan, whose statement came after your article was published, isnt clear about how you got the angle right. There very well could be a story about the predatory lease, or a historical one framed by Alan's stories of the looser Soundwave days. But without the quotes to substantiate either narrative, your Express article is a nostalgic opinion piece written by someone who wasnt around at the time. To pretend otherwise is unethical.

-Adam Keith, tenant, omc

Posted by adamk42 on 06/23/2018 at 11:55 PM

Re: “Rehearsal Studios' Booming Business Sends Mixed Message About Local Music

Kudos to Sam Lefebvre for getting this story correct , and my apology for not participating in the research for the article.

When I created that business, it was 100% empty and I made it 100% full which lasted until the recession hit in 2008. At that point my occupancy dropped to 72%. Rather than negotiate with Soundwave, the landlord evicted and took over the business. The primary reason, however, that I lost the business was not the recession, it was NNN lease abuse by a predatory property owner. I learned the hard lesson that once you sign a rigged lease, no amount of heroics can save you.

Once they kicked me out , a whole lot of people left at once in protest , so maybe it was half empty there for a minute. Cleanliness, security, and bad reputation had nothing to do with the business crashing. In fact, OMC still uses my old security guys and janitor crew.

The Bay Area musician community and local music fans would be better served if the OMC adopted an open door policy, like I've had at Soundwave Studios for 35 years. A policy where everyone is given a chance to take a shot and do their thing. Sure its hard work, but the music that comes out of a diverse environment is just better.

Hey OMC guys, grow up. If there are some black guys hanging out in the hallway in a West Oakland music building, that doesn't make it "shady". I'm glad you got called out on your vague, lame policies.

-Alan Lucchesi
owner, soundwave studios

Posted by alane1b4 on 06/21/2018 at 11:44 AM

Re: “Music Teacher David Byrd Helps Make Oakland High School Whole Again

I am so happy to read this article on progress being made at the Oakland HSs music program. As is to often the case it appears to hinge on one teacher. Music as one of the arts is so important in early education. It warmed my heart to hear him verbalize that He finds it odd that many of his friends and neighbors send their children to private schools. If every nurturing parent cared enough to support our public schools, the schools would fill with motivated young people and thrive once again. We dont need cheaters and home schooling. We need involved families in our public system. Ive read stories in the news this year and last how some of OHighs graduates have done very well. I went to public schools and so did my family. Support them with your time and energy and send your children - we are already supporting our schools with taxes anyway.

Posted by Francesca M. Austin on 06/18/2018 at 9:05 PM

Re: “Rehearsal Studios' Booming Business Sends Mixed Message About Local Music

The way this was written is very convoluted and misleading, but also what was the point or the argument that he was trying to make? Its lacking some basic literary tools and logic. I grade it a D-

What I read is that it was shady before and half-empty and being thrashed by the previous tenants and then when George took over it became a safe, secure, desirable place to be therefore serious musicians want to be there now . . Why would a business go back to what was failing them years ago when now theyre at maximum capacity with a waiting list!? . . . It seems like the authors intention was to make some outrageously false claims and stir up some trouble. Fake News.

Posted by Trishysweety on 06/08/2018 at 7:45 PM

Re: “Rehearsal Studios' Booming Business Sends Mixed Message About Local Music

Wow. Sounds like the writer is biased and ill-informed. OMC is a great rehearsal spot for all musicians, including hip hop bands. I have rehearsed at this spot from the time it opened as Soundwave to now. I worked there and have seen it in all of it's forms. I do have to say it got very sketchy in the last years as Soundwave, and since the new management has come in, it's a cleaner, safer, more professional spot to rehearse.

Posted by SLUDGEBUCKETbnd on 06/08/2018 at 12:08 PM

Re: “Rehearsal Studios' Booming Business Sends Mixed Message About Local Music

Omc rules - Ive been getting loud out of full stacks for over 6 years - best place to practice in the Bay Area and great network for musicians and bands of all styles. From brass to crass everyone is welcome.

Posted by Omar Barreto on 06/08/2018 at 11:36 AM

Re: “Rehearsal Studios' Booming Business Sends Mixed Message About Local Music

So... Are you commending this cat for his efforts to support local music, or just targeting him because Hip Hop doesn't seem to be his priority and so f**king what if he doesn't? Do you walk into a country bar and bitch that they're not more supportive of EDM? Come on. Rewrite this article without the mixed message.

Posted by Geoff Braithwaite on 06/08/2018 at 10:28 AM

Re: “Rehearsal Studios' Booming Business Sends Mixed Message About Local Music

Sounds like jealousy. Why so salty?

Posted by James Wilson on 06/07/2018 at 11:50 AM

Re: “Rehearsal Studios' Booming Business Sends Mixed Message About Local Music

This article is a worthless, fatuous and nonsensical adolescent hack job by someone with a clueless spoiled axe to grind. George is a stellar hard working manager who converted a facility from a filthy insecure place to a top notch facility. Anyone with even a tiny brain knows that unless you have a vocal booth or come in at 4 am no serious vocal recording can be done. With that said, hip hop is practiced and recorded here every day. I have been here for over 17 years and the amount of bullshit from a few stupid musicians that piles up has always been taken care of by George with alacrity and professionalism. He is a stellar individual and busts his ass every day as a labor of love. He is also a great musician. This article is infantile sound and fury, signifying nothing, written by someone in love with his own words, and is an idea to ignorance.

Posted by Matthias Miller on 06/06/2018 at 7:11 PM

Re: “Rehearsal Studios' Booming Business Sends Mixed Message About Local Music

So how do you track vocals when 70 bands are playing at the same time? Sam, you don't understand the difference between rehearsal studios and recording studios. They are totally different beasts. If the studio is filled with people playing through amps and beating drums, you can't record. With the current technology, most people including myself, track (record) in your house or apartment using garage band or Protools. You clearly are not a musician and wouldn't understand the difference.

Posted by Steven M. Machado on 06/06/2018 at 5:51 PM

Re: “Rehearsal Studios' Booming Business Sends Mixed Message About Local Music

Hi Sam, You have misrepresented The Oakland Music Complex by saying our policy is selectively enforced. There is a difference between students coming to learn music, typically children, and artists coming to record. We do not accommodate production or post production studios. We are here to serve bands with live instruments because live instruments are too loud for apartment complexes. Our studios are too loud for production and post-production studios for the purposes of recording. Bands play at all hours of the day and night. If a studio booked an artist for a voice over session and the band next door was playing, the artist will be unhappy because he cannot record and they cannot tell the band next door to stop playing. So, we just do not have recording studios. There are hip-hop bands at OMC, but they are bands.

Posted by George Anderson-Oaklandmusiccomplex on 06/06/2018 at 3:28 PM

Re: “Ashkenaz Adjusts to a Changing East Bay with More Experimentation, Wider Representation

A place like Ashkenaz with David's help became an experiment in what a venue could be. It was nationally unique in being smoke and alcohol free at a time when those things were not mandated or common. I was very proud of our uniqueness and spent much dance time in the 90s coming from walnut Creek and Grass Valley. I loved seeing the posters,being inspired by David's political stances evidence by his posters, protecting people and planet, truth to power.

I still go but saddened by the removal of some of the above elements that made Ashkenaz special. Though I understand economic and mainstream pressure to include alcohol and remove posters. I feel we lost much of what made it nationally special. Some of inspiration is lost and now like all the other clubs alcohol is available which has changed the audience with many holding drinks on the dance floor, spilling, some in a drunken state, almost like a bar.

Posted by Rich Oberleitner on 05/23/2018 at 4:24 PM

Re: “Ashkenaz Adjusts to a Changing East Bay with More Experimentation, Wider Representation

I appreciate this reporting, and the work Brandes is doing. The changes I have seen reflect the mission of Ashkenaz. They are are measured changes, not huge ones; but any change will cause some people to question or resist. That's OK, and community dialogue (and change) are in the roots of Ashkenaz. Take a look at the historical posters on the walls there for a taste of that. Disclosure: I am a renter at Ashkenaz for a weekly event that has taken place since 2003.

Posted by Zach Pine on 05/16/2018 at 9:49 PM

Re: “Spurred by Threatening Legislation, Musicians Rally Behind Sex Workers

Is this a larger priority than getting some out of sex work to begin with. In 2nd and 3rd world countries, children are forced into human trafficking and have no way of escape and no choice. Organizations strive to FREE them. Putting many in danger in the process.
Let's put an end to unwanted "sex work" to begin with. We should stop using the term to cover every aspect of the sex industry as well. But easier said than done.

AND YES ***"although the term sex worker is sometimes viewed as a synonym or euphemism for "prostitute", it is more general. Sex worker can refer to individuals who do not directly engage in sexual activity such as pole dancers and sex toy testers. Another example of sex workers that would not fall under the term prostitute would be an adult talent manager, who negotiates and secures pornographic roles for their clients. There are also erotic photographers that shoot and edit for adult media and porn reviewers who watch and rate adult films."

Posted by Nelda Roe on 05/16/2018 at 1:21 AM

Re: “How Gracie and Rachel's Berkeley Roots Influence Their Violin-and-Piano Pop

Very nice rhythm. Go for it. Wishing you success in the Big Apple.

Posted by capmama17 on 05/10/2018 at 6:59 PM

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