the outside it's just a nondescript warehouse located near San
Francisco International Airport. On the inside, the place could
hold one vast answer for the rehearsal-space crisis that's
waylaying the Bay Area's music community.
``This is just meant to be,
dude,'' said an excited Patrick Dillmann, co- owner of Yosemite
Studios, on a recent walk-through at the 24,000- square-foot
site. Dillmann and his partner, Eric Zakin, are trying to buy
the warehouse, now being used by a furniture wholesaler.
The outlook for the local music
scene is bleaker than a bomb shelter, which was the original
function of the building that now houses Yosemite. Dillmann and
Zakin built their 35-room facility from an empty shell. They now
have one of the tidiest, most respectable rehearsal spaces in
town, with grateful tenants such as Box Set, the Del Bombers and
newcomers Creeper Lagoon.
Turnover at Yosemite is
negligible. ``They'd rather keep their studio than their
apartment,'' said Dillmann, a former musician. ``They can crash
with friends, but they can't find rehearsal space.''
Yosemite is just around the
corner from Downtown Rehearsal, the huge Hunters Point studio
space that was recently sold to a developer. Five hundred bands
were evicted. Add further closures , and the local music scene
has suffered a compound fracture.
Dillmann believes the San Bruno
space might provide some solutions. A mechanical engineer by
day, he noted that the place is already outfitted with all the
things he would need to build 100-plus rehearsal studios under
There's one thing he still needs:
money. Dillmann said he has collected $500 deposits from about
35 bands through a signup sheet he posted on www.sfmusician.com.
But the current owner wants $3.5 million for the warehouse, and
Dillmann, who is considering making the business a nonprofit,
needs $1.5 million more to build it out.
Several well-known San Francisco
musicians have spoken out in re cent months about their dismay
at the rehearsal crisis. If ``giving back'' has become the
mantra of the enlightened celebrity, Dillmann would like to
issue a challenge to some of San Francisco's.
``Les,'' ``Stephan,'' ``Kirk''
and ``Joe'' -- he mentions them by name. That would be Les
Claypool of Primus, Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind, Kirk
Hammett of Metallica and guitarist Joe Satriani. The list of
rock stars who once shared space with the Bay Area's
rank-and-file musicians is endless, really, from the Summer of
Love gang to the pop- punk revival of the mid-1990s.
``I'd like to see musicians fund
this so it's all about music,'' said Dillmann, who is developing
lofty proposals to make the space a kind of clearinghouse -- a
CD duplication service, a T-shirt business, management and
``I've never been in a studio
that offered anything more than a door and a lock,'' said Bob
James, drummer for the Del Bombers and a manager at Yosemite.
``When I first came here, I went, `Oh, man!' ''
Outside the warehouse sits a
little courtyard with benches and trees. It's a tiny oasis on a
block dominated by auto-repair shops.
``The meditation garden is a big
selling point for me,'' said James, a big guy with tattoos on
his neck. He flashed a gold-tooth grin. ``You wouldn't believe
the amount of internal band fights I've been in.''
``Elvis -- The Concert'' plays
Feb. 1 at Flint Center in Cupertino . . . Fatboy Slim spins Nov.
10 at Ten 15 Folsom . . . Los Amigos Invisibles headline Nov.
18-19 at the Justice League . . . Buffalo Tom plays Nov. 29 at
Slim's . . . Footage from David Gray's recent Fillmore
appearance is in his new video for ``Babylon,'' directed by Mike
Figgis . . . Michael Jackson was spotted last weekend at a
collectibles show in San Mateo. Eyewitnesses claim he bought
``kids' books, old toys'' and one dealer's Michael Jackson
E-mail James Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
San Francisco Chronicle Page 44