Thunderbox,Practice Space, Old Fourth Ward, 728 Ralph McGill Blvd, 2006 - 2015
Opened to absorb demand for practice after Black Box and Metro closed their doors, Thunderbox was Atlanta's premiere practice space, serving over 200 Atlanta bands and performers.
Kylee Kimbrough writes: There were a lot of memories there. I was a late bloomer to playing music and can't imagine how else I would have been able to access being able to practice drums or anything like I could with my room at Thunderbox. My mind works best at night. I needed somewhere I could go and be loud at 2am and that place made that possible for me.
Click here for Dasher's first demo, recorded at Thunderbox
I have no idea what people are doing for practice spaces in Atlanta now but it bums me out that it's probably scattered and disconnected many artists that may have otherwise met via Thunderbox and potentially collaborated or inspired each other. I heard the place was sold, demolished and turned into condos or something. It seems so counter intuitive to me for a city to fail to recognize the significance of a space like Thunderbox existing. What would our lives be like without music and art? Even from a business standpoint it still doesn't make any sense that something as important as a place like that could just disappear and be replaced with condos. Music and art are the foundation of what makes any place unique or special. Wouldn't it be in everyone's best interest to want to sustain the best environment for local artists to congregate and thrive? Shouldn't a city consider this as an investment in itself? I don't think I'll ever really understand things like that haha
Also the first tape I put out was recorded at Thunderbox.
I'm also pretty sure everyone I ever knew that played music practiced there. Bands that maintained a lot of commercial success like The Coat Hangers, The Black Lips, Mastodon, Deerhunter etc..they all practiced there. And folks that never played a show before. They were there too. Everyone in between. So to ask what bands practiced there, it really seemed like pretty much every band in Atlanta did haha.
I spent a lot of time there obviously practicing, but like most people felt, Thunderbox was also special because of the constant traffic of friends and their bands loading in and out. we all would take breaks and congregate by the loading docks. It was built in to my life, via Thunderbox, to get to see and keep up with so many other artists that were active in the city at the time. I can remember the way the place smelled. I can still see all the no smoking signs carefully placed on every wall of every hall with a metal bucket full of sand for cigarette butts right below them haha. I can still remember the old green carts and their wobbly wheels but how they were better than the red carts. I'm pretty sure everyone surfed on one of those carts down one hall or another at one point. I have many memories from Thunderbox that are probably similar to most everyone else's that used the space. There is one story between me and the manager Ted though that stands out a little. It's a little embarrassing but still pretty funny so I'll share this one.
I had a few days off. My drum set was falling apart. I had been really meaning to work on it so I walked up to the space with that intention. I had my room to myself that day. I wound up getting really ambitious I guess and decided to take all my shells apart to sand and repaint them. It took all day to sand them so by the time they were ready to paint it was dark outside. I loaded up my drum shells and took them outside with a new can of bright chartreuse spray paint. It was so dark I could barely see what I was doing. I picked a spot in the far corner of the parking lot to use because it had a street light. I spread out the shells and sprayed down the first coat. Waiting on them to dry, I spent the next few hours rebuilding my kick pedal from parts of things other people through in the trash up there. I fell asleep on the floor. I woke up the next day and slammed some crap from the vending machines and set out to finish the last coat of paint so I could put everything back together. But as a start setting up shop back in the lot I noticed several vans and bands pulling up, loading in and walking around etc. I didn't think to much about it at first but couldn't help but notice people pointing at me and staring. I was confused but still tried to ignore them. Eventually one guy pulled out his phone and started filming me..lol. I started feeling even more confused. For a brief moment I considered that maybe they recognized me from my band?..and maybe were fans?..haha even that idea seemed far fetched to warrant their reaction to me. I didn't know what to do so I smiled and waved.
Well just as I was finishing up. Ted, the manager of Thunderbox, came outside and marched right towards me. He was livid! Apparently everyone was pissed at me and turning me in with the videos for desecration of property or vandalism or something. I was so caught up in my project that I had no idea that I got so much paint all over the parking lot. I literally didn't even notice it myself until Ted was standing right there in front of me confronting me. I was literally still holding the spray paint in my hand and smiling and waving when he was approaching! Lol I had no clue I was doing anything weird. Ha. ( story of my life)..anyway. I felt bad immediately and insisted in finding a way to clean the paint up myself. We talked it out. Things seemed ok in the end. I went later to talk to Ted about suggestions on how he'd prefer I clean it up. He then decided to leave it there claiming that when all was said and done, it was sort of endearing and gave the parking lot a little character. After that, a few bands used my green over spray disaster mess as part of their photo shoots. So I guess if anyone ever remembers the weird chartreuse rings of spray paint in the parking lot up there and wondered about them, that is the story behind them haha.
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