It was the early-2000s or thereabouts. My then-beau and I were renting a room in our hometown’s historic former courthouse turned arts building. Musicians giving lessons out of their private studios, visual artists and the Georgian Bay Folk Society office were among the occupants at the time.
Before we had our own space in the courthouse, I had weekly drum lessons there. My teacher, Brad, had a studio in the left corner of the main floor, which neighboured the city jail. He had me buy a practice pad and we’d start every lesson with paradiddles and other patterns to strengthen my stick technique. He was in the city pipe band and he would have me practice to his pipe music tapes. After these warmups I’d move to his Pearl kit (it was a really nice kit) and work on my groove.
After a few years, Brad offered to let me use his studio on Wednesday evenings so that I could spend more time behind the kit. I had the place to myself. I’d bring my CD Walkman and practice playing along to Led Zeppelin and Rage Against the Machine and Radiohead and The Beatles.
My then-beau and I decided to rent our own space in the old courthouse. He was super into music too and we wanted a place to jam and record. We landed a room on the second floor in what, we were told, had once been the judge’s chambers. Room 211. The door to our studio was right off the old courtroom floor.
We set up shop, building our own little studio. Guitars, a Boss pedal (can’t remember which one), Roland TD-6 drum kit, TASCAM Porta 02 MKII tape recorder, Boss BR-8 digital recorder, monitors. It was a sweet set up and we’d spend hours holed up in there, together and independently, playing around.
A lot of memories were made in that room. Memories and demos. It was a time of experimentation and discovery.
I still have many of the demos from that time. Rock, blues, pop, acoustic – a mishmash that reflected our musical influences. Just a couple of young twenty-somethings, exploring what we could do with music when we weren’t at our humdrum jobs.
From time to time, I’ll indulge in a bit of nostalgia and revisit those demos, slightly in awe of how deeply immersed in writing and recording music we were. A lot of material came out of those years, largely unfinished. Part of me thinks that maybe, by putting some of it out there now, it will clear the channels for another wave of creativity like the one I experienced in the old courthouse.
This instrumental track, “Tripped,” is one of the demos that came out of my solo sessions in Room 211.