For more than two years, Michael Burke has worked his ass off to provide a place for bands to rock without worrying about pissing off the neighbors.
Burke's sunk $300,000 of his own money into Bleeding Eardrum Rehearsal Studio. He's seen dozens of bands walk through the doors, but many of them have been late to pay for their practice time or haven't paid at all.
As the economy continues to tank, Burke says many local bands have been unable to come up with the dough to play at Bleeding Eardrum. "I'm the Freddie Mac of the music scene," Burke jokes. "I'm providing all of these subprime leases, without security deposits, to bands that don't have any money."
To try to stay afloat, Burke is cutting down the number of practice rooms from 30 to 11. Burke plans to convert the rest of the building into insulated office spaces that he can rent out for "more money than I can get from bands."
Burke says he's lost thousands of dollars over the last couple months, and he needs to stem the bleeding. "It is genuinely in danger of closing altogether," Burke says. "There's no doubt about it."
With the reduced number of practice spaces and increased revenue from renting out the office spaces, Burke says he hopes Bleeding Eardrum can keep its doors open. He's even looking into getting some coin-operated laundry machines so bands can wash their clothes while they jam. "We run a business that everybody in this town really needs," Burke says. "I don't know if there's another place that does what I do."
Through all the financial uncertainty, Burke's desire to see Bleeding Eardrum succeed has never waned. His resolve remains strong, but Burke has trouble articulating why he continues to fight for a business with severe monetary risks. "I lay awake at night asking myself that, and I can't figure it out," Burke says. "But, for some reason, I keep doing it."
Help Bleeding Eardrum stay alive by attending a benefit concert at the practice studio (9201 Indian School NE, at Moon) on Saturday, Jan. 10. SuperGiant, Hit By A Bus and 7of9 convince you to open your wallet. A $5 donation gets you in, and the show gets started at 7 p.m.
Visit bleedingeardrum.com or befriend the practice space at myspace.com/