BOB: Community Pick
Guitarist, Black Maria
In a town where a local band's guarantee is a couple of drink tickets and perhaps a slice of the take at the door, the green room at Sister (409 Central NW) will help you fulfill your rock star fantasies and momentarily forget you have to lug all your crap back to the practice space at 2:30 a.m. It’s an actual comfortable space with comfy couches, a large coffee table, practice amps, a separate stage entrance (so you don't have to wade through the crowd of nine people who came to see your band), a private bathroom with a clean toilet, sink and shower and a wall and ceiling treatment that chronicles Albuquerque's underground music history. They usually also have a dedicated bouncer to keep the pesky paparazzi away while you prepare for your set.
Virtually unknown/unseen by most (which is part of the attraction to me), Lloyd Hamrol’s "Highground" makes simple but dramatic use of topography, grass and a little cement. It’s hidden behind the UNM School of Law, just east of the North Golf Course. An abstract mixture of the scales of justice combined with putting greens sounds like it would be whack, but it’s actually aesthetically pleasing, calming and fits right into its environment. It's also a good make-out spot.
Studio Guitar’s Bill not-the-governor Richardson studied under Dan Armstrong,ran the vintage and rare guitar department at Gryphon Stringed Instruments for over a decade and has been a touring tech for various members of the Yardbirds, Chris Isaak, Al Di Meola, Jackson Browne and about a million others. In other words, he really knows his shit. Whether you just need a basic setup, repair of a splintered neck or an appraisal of your instrument for insurance purposes, Bill can do all that and more. Keenly sensitive to working with hobbyist musicians, he'll suss out your style and make your instrument respond to you and your style like you could only dream of. Fair, informative and informed, the man is sought out worldwide for his knowledge and skill. Yet this national treasure plies his trade in our humble burg, just off Route 66. He also has a bazillion stories/experiences with any freaking musician/band you can think of. He's that good.
Seeing as how Subarus are practically the official state vehicle, it's good to have a place that knows Subarus and will treat the mechanically uninclined fairly. Reincarnation’s Ben, Jared and Eric are down-to-earth, extremely capable and musician/artist friendly. They work on other brands, but seem to understand the "unusual" relationship many Subaru owners have with their vehicle, and they’re nurturing and never condescending. Plus they are well-groomed and quite polite.
Whenever someone says to me, "G, you look great!” or “What the hell happened?" it's usually because I just got back from having a trim and a shave at Dre's Barber Shop (or I have cash hanging out of my pocket). Dre's has an old-school vibe and old-school prices, but Dre and his staff are anything but old school. Although most of the clientele seem to be getting elaborate fades and geometrically complex facial hair designs, Dre is a master at regular haircuts, razor shaves and trimming up that rocker mop of split ends and cleaning up beards of all lengths. The man loves music and sports and can talk everything from relationships, hip-hop, gospel, hard rock and heavy metal. A well-stocked rack of magazines and the shop dog, Lola, make any time you might wait a pleasure.