Best Space Lost in Time

IT WAS A PLACE OF SHARED VISION, part rehearsal space and recording studio, part living quarters and rock venue, part bar and hang-out spot. Those who were involved remember it as a rock & roll Shangri-la — The Space, an underground warehouse in Long Beach, home to a group of wayward musicians and artists bound by a love of good music and a good time. Rising acts like Buchanan, Rocco Deluca, Brett Bixby, the Dibs, and Scott Devours (now of Ima Robot) all got their start there and fondly remember it, even giving props to it in their MySpace profiles.

I was recently given a tour of the old warehouse; a friend of mine still lives above it, and longs to see its return to glory. His apartment is a rambling maze of rooms: You could get lost in it, or you could get crushed under a falling tower of boxes that line the walls. We walked down a dark staircase, the kind that would lead you to a basement nightclub. You can still feel the energy of those who drunkenly groped and sloppily kissed on those steps. And on the lower level, a stained and gum-spotted red-carpeted floor led us past a bar. The bar reminded me of the one in The Shining; it was dusty and covered in cobwebs, except this one had an old neon beer sign above it hanging on for dear life.

The main room had a stage in the corner, and amps dotted the floor, making up a silent black-box audience. Each one was covered with an inch of dust. A lonely mike stood onstage speechless, surrounded by a faded curtain that missed the applause. More rooms, a foosball table covered in spiderwebs, a dirty pool table .?.?. the place goes on and on. It’s quiet, but the deafening kind of quiet, like the underwater feeling you get in your ears after a rock show. The only signs of human life came from a backroom studio where people still record. “When there were shows, there was no cover charge, only a donation,” says my friend. “Tons of people would come and rock out and drink free beer, and see bands they couldn’t see anywhere else. It was an explosive music scene. There was momentum building. It was about to peak, until the city came and shut it all down. Then things seemed to fade away.” Now he just lives with the ghosts.

LA Weekly