Being in a band inevitably has its ups and downs. Your Toronto Nightlife Examiner has been in many of them during his lifetime. Some of the pitfalls involve what I’ve always referred to as the “four way marriage.” Whether or not romance is involved between performers who inhabit the same band, all four humans (or however many band members there are…let’s make this easy by saying four) must not only properly make something decent musically together, they must also eat, sleep and hang with each other. It eventually becomes a ‘marriage’ for (almost) all intents and purposes. Bono and Edge must have really dug each other’s vibe to have enjoyed such a long successful partnership and longevity. Mick and Keith were (Keith’s quote), “brothers from different mothers”. All four Beatles are infamous not only for their songs, but the often mentioned singular brotherhood that only the four Beatles could understand and share.
Otherwise, folks, if you can’t attain that type of camaraderie when at first you venture into the world of musical performance, it’s just going to be a crazy fun-filled musical crap shoot…and the house usually wins. Everything in your little rock bandcould be cool, but more often than not it will be populated by the usual gang of idiots. The guy who doesn’t practice his parts, and thereby ends up slowing everybody else down at the rehearsals. Another member is fixated with some established rock star hero, mimicking, trying to write in that musician’s style, wishing to be that person while the audience rolls its eyes at an obviously parroted performance. Add to this various cold winter nights spent dragging drums and amps up slippery stairs into clubs filled with the usual indifferent observers, and voila’! Being in the band can sometimes become a one-way ticket to musical divorce court.
Andrew Hall’s Downtown Jam wishes to change all of that for you. Andrew was and is a guy with a great idea and a clear vision. At one time Andrew was an amateur Toronto musician with that singular passion for jamming and playing music. Andrew would always hear bandmates complaining that there really was no easy place to jam together in Toronto. Andrew recognized this need. In 1996 he created Downtown Jam, a clean and comfortable facility that allows all types of music makers the ability to make music with alike musicians in one of three available soundproofed studios at the 4,200 sq. foot jam space.
Andrew shares with me that “There are people who play at home and know their instruments, but are never able to have the experience of a full band playing along with them. It’s the dream of many, but making it actually happen is another thing. Many of the people who come to Downtown Jam are professionals who simply don’t have time to organize any type of musical interlude with other players or friends. The desire is always there with them, but for those with busy schedules, it becomes difficult to arrange the time and place to play. We provide that for them”.
The club’s membership has grown impressively since first opening 14 years ago. Andrew recently moved Downtown Jam to its 3rd and largest facility yet, with three lush and fully equipped music rehearsal studios. These are spacious, clean and warm facilities (not always the case in the rehearsal space world, believe me!). Downtown Jam offers a complete package, with quality instruments lined up and at-the-ready, all available to novice players who might not own the very instrument they actually play. Guitars, drums, keyboards, basses, amplifiers an PA’s dot each studio’s floorspace. The Jam’s best idea?… its music library of over 500 easy to read and follow chord and lyric charts of jammable music covering the 1950’s to the 1990’s. “We keep at least a few dozen copies”, says Andrew, “so everyone can easily read and play along with each other. We supply the venue, the music and instruments; all you have to bring is a desire to play and have fun”.
At Downtown Jam you’ll find other musicians that are just like yourself. People who play at all levels of musicianship and have a passion for playing and singing in a fun, organized and non-judgmental environment. Over the years Andrew has met CEO’s, Professionals, Cops, Politicians, stay at home mom’s and salespeople that, at the end of the day, just want a place to plug in to play with others. Downtown Jam provides a community of like-minded amateur musicians, all connecting with each other.
Downtown Jam also offers and encourages corporate events and corporate team building events. “We’ve had many successful nights with those types of gatherings, everybody always has a ton of fun”, Andrew says. Downtown Jam is equipped with caterer’s kitchen for such gatherings. There are three washrooms with handicapped accessible facilities provided. Downtown Jam’s very reasonable club rates can be found on their website.
For More Info:
Downtown Jam is located at: 31 Parliament St., directly adjacent to the Distillery District. If you are taking the GO train from the east, look down as you slowly pull into Union Station…you can’t miss it. There phone number is: (416) 585-9998.