Sugar Percussion at the 2015 Oscar Awards

Oscar Shot Maroon 5 If you live in Santa Cruz, I'm sure you know any number of truly amazing artists. I think you should meet another one. It's time you met Sugar Percussion. Tonight their custom five piece Honduran Mahogany drum set built in Santa Cruz made its way onto the stage at the Oscars thanks to Maroon 5 drummer Matt Flynn. The Oscars is a big stage and slowly but surely, Sugar Percussion is doing big things.

Founded in 2011, Sugar Percussion specializes in custom stave-built, solid wood drums. Rooted in nearly 20 years of custom woodworking, Sugar Percussion drums are conceived and built like fine furniture, carefully and precisely designed, dedicated and deliberate in their construction and custom to the nuanced particulars of every client.  There is no ‘stock’ model.  Every drum is built from and specifically to the  deliberations and conversations between player and builder.

Before Maroon 5, Black Crowes drummer, Steve Gorman, was one of Sugar Percussion’s first clients.  Introduced to the company through one of their snares, Gorman immediately ordered the rest of his full kit, all built from a single plank of Eastern Black Cherry.  Quoting his immediate response to the delivered kit… “Exactly how drums are supposed to sound, exactly how they’re supposed to feel.”  Gorman used the kit throughout the final Black Crowes tour, and subsequently ordered a second kit made from Alaskan Yellow Cedar for his latest project, Trigger Hippy.

On the recording side of the glass, producer Eric Valentine was also introduced to the company through a single snare.  A full kit and 3 snares later, Valentine continues to be a treasured ‘family’ member, as well as a tremendous resource.  It was through 3 weeks of correspondence between Jefferson and Eric that the Eric Valentine Signature Recording Kit was born.  Aiming to design a better kit made specifically for recording, the two employed shallow depths, thicker shells, blunter bearing edges and a dimension schedule based on prime numbers to inhibit sympathetic resonance between drums.  All of this and more rendered a controlled and balanced sound ideally honed for studio use, scratching every itch of a meticulous, perfectionist producer, as demonstrated in a video produced by Jefferson and Eric using only a single microphone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FzziEGoUfQ

Sugar Percussion continues to build recording, live and hybrid kits and snares for a wide range of clients including Gadgetbox Studios (Santa Cruz), Blackbird Studios (Nashville), The Blasting Room (Ft. Collins), SIR (New York City), as well as backlines regularly for bands in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.

Contact them at: js@sugarpercussion.com or http://sugarpercussion.com/

Do You Know Gail Rich?

Capture Every year the Santa Cruz  Arts Council Associates puts on the Gail Rich Awards at the Rio Theatre. You've probably never been, but I think yo u should go. Here are my top 10 reasons to go to your first Gail Rich Awards next Wednesday, Jan. 28.

  1. It's a awards show that celebrates the spirit of the arts in Santa Cruz by formally recognizing, "our friends and neighbors who are committed to living lives of artistic passion."
  2. You will be way more inspired than usual on a Wednesday night.
  3. It will give you that feeling of community that you forget you love until you experience it again and then remember it is why you live in an artistic community in the first place.
  4. There will be live music.
  5. It's free.
  6. You will hear stuff like this (quote from honoree Robbie Schoen): "I want to do what art is supposed to do," Schoen said. "I want it to stop people in their tracks and give us pause to reflect on our place in the world as human beings. It's here to remind us of the things that matter and take us away from our day-to-day lives."
  7. Excellent networking, especially if you like the artist types.
  8. There is often wine.
  9. You pay a lot of money to live in a town that has really cool shit like this, but if you don't go out and support it, it goes away.
  10. There are always free cookies.

I really hope I see you there.

19th Annual Gail Rich Awards January 28th, 2015 at 7:30pm Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave. in Santa Cruz FREE and open to the public

2015 honorees:

Carolyn Hyatt – arts philanthropist
Dale Ockerman – White Album Ensemble, Musicscool
Robbie Schoen – Felix Kulpa Gallery
Johnny Simmons – KUSP radio personality
Cat Willis – Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center

As Simple as a Tweet

Capture This week I am taking part in the #YourTurnChallenge, a 7-day blogging challenge inspired by the Your Turn book by Seth Godin. Since being introduced to his daily blog years ago, I am constantly inspired by his views on work, art and how to treat people. A lot of what he writes about is along the lines of, "go, make something happen."

It was in this spirit that we approached starting the rehearsal studios in the first place, and most recently propelled our involvement with the SoundSwell project. Back in August of 2012 I read an article on Hypebot about the Iowa City Public Library and how they were offering free downloads of local musicians for those with a library card. I couldn't help but think that if they were doing it in Iowa, we could do it here in Santa Cruz. I tweeted as much to the Santa Cruz Public Library and the next day got an email from the virtual services coordinator.

She was aware of the ICPL work and was also about to attend a leadership retreat the next month which included the development of a year long project for which she would get help applying for grant funding. We got to emailing, she got to talking around her office and before you know it, we started to make something happen. Serendipity? It was through this one interaction that we opened the door to being involved with this amazing project from the ground up.

To date the Santa Cruz Public Library has paid local musicians over $5000 to license music for library patrons to download free of charge. This year they have another $4000 waiting to distribute to new local bands what would like to join.

This project is a win / win. Local musicians get real money in the bank ($100 for full length LP, $75 for EP). To earn that much from iTunes band would typically need to over 100 downloads. With SoundSwell, bands not only make the money up front, but only local library patrons can download the music, so bands are not only earning money, but also making new local fans. Our community also gets access to a library of free local music.

All it took was one tweet to make to make the connection to start this project. I encourage you to send one email, or tweet, dedicate a FB post or an Instagram hashtag to foster more SoundSwell connections.

If you know a local musician, tell them about the opportunity. If you have library card, download some new music. #keepsantacruzweird #liveformusic


Five Years Young in 2015

January-2015-printable-calendar 2015 marks the five year anniversary of Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios. We've been high, we've been low, but we're still here paying the rent every month thanks to our community of local musicians. Thank you.

Some days it is all we can do as a small business to just keep the doors open with all equipment running, other days (like today), we've got energy to spare and start thinking about all the OTHER projects we'd like to do in and around our space in the world.

The short list includes:

  • Video stuff. We've got an epic GoPro Hero w/the music bundle that we can rent to bands for cheap. It is under utilized and the whole idea of video in the studio needs attention.
  • Art. In the beginning we put a lot of time and energy into First Friday and having new artists in the studio every month. Then life happened, and we skipped a month, an artist flaked at last second, and the whole thing just went on the back burner. We'd really like to bring it back, or maybe it looks like something else, artists taking over the space, a collaboration event to learn to make show posters or DIY merch ideas.
  • Teaching / Co-working /Networking. We have a community, we have free rein of a physical space, there are more things we could be doing to share resources, have more fun and get more creative together. We've been inspired by things like  Cohere Bandwidth, Backyard Brunch Sessions, Balanced Breakfast, etc. We want to use our space not just for rehearsals, but do MORE, more impact, more, more, more.

I am writing this blog as part of the #YourTurnChallenge, the goal is to blog for seven days straight. I realized I had not taken the time to blog since September, 2014 so I wanted to get the ideas flowing again and you know what, it's Day 1 and I feel like it's working.

If any of this inspires you in some way, please reach out, let's make something happen in Santa Cruz or beyond. You can email direct at jenn@santacruzrehearsaltudios.com or connect w/ us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


GoPro Available for Rent

maxresdefault SCRS now has a GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition/Music camera available to rent to film your rehearsals. The HERO3+ Black Edition/Music bundle has everything you need to capture engaging, pro-quality photos and video of your rehearsals. Mount the camera to instruments, turntables, mic stands and other stage equipment for immersive GoPro-style footage. You can also download the free GoPro App and GoPro Studio editing software, providing all the tools you need to create professional content to promote on YouTube, Facebook®, Instagram or just use internally to work on your stagecraft.

Included in Rental: HERO3+ Black Edition Camera Jaws: Flex Clamp 2 Removable Instrument Mounts Mic Stand Mount 3.5mm Mic Adapter

Introductory rental price will be $5 per hour. 


SoundSwell Local Music Collection


SoundSwell is a new online database of local music that library cardholders can download for FREE. It also establishes an archive of local music that people can listen to for years to come. SoundSwell was created in partnership with Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios. The database is scheduled to go live on June 3, 2014.

To find the SoundSwell Local Music Collection online, visit the library home page or go directly to scmusic.santacruzpl.org. For people without internet access, there is a physical collection of CDs that can be checked out at the Downtown Branch.

Anyone can find and listen to the SoundSwell streaming Local Music Collection. Library cardholders can download songs with active license agreements for free with their card number and PIN or Password. All songs in the collection currently have an active license agreement. All music in the collection is produced by Santa Cruz County musicians.

This project has the potential to bring listeners and the musical community together where public dialog happens— at the library. SCPL wants to help the creators of our local culture connect with each other, connect with the community, disseminate their art, and contribute to the historical record of Santa Cruz while receiving fair compensation for their work. By helping musicians to grow their fan base locally, SoundSwell can have a positive impact on local venue attendance. Ultimately, we hope the library will play a big role in supporting the artistic musical identity of our community. We are dedicated to supporting local musicians and building a collection that celebrates the richness and talent that makes our community so unique. What a fantastic way to explore new music and discover the creative pulse of Santa Cruz.

The SoundSwell project was supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. Each artist was compensated $50 - $100 per album (depending on number of tracks) for inclusion in the collection.

Local musicians interested in participating in SoundSwell should contact Diane Cowen, Virtual Services Librarian: by mail at Santa Cruz Public Libraries, 117 Union St. SC, 95060; by email at cowend@santacruzpl.org or by phone at 831-427-7706 x 7763.

Lending Library Now Open

index I love books and have a bunch related to the music industry (booking, touring, etc.), the entrepreneur spirit and marketing. The following awesome books have been literally collection dust in my house, so I've decided to start a little SCRS lending library. Here is how it will work. The books will be at SCRS, if you'd like one, just drop in and give whoever is working your name/number/email and a sincere promise to return the book within 6 months. Then go read.

Books Available so Far:

  • The Indie Bible (11th Edition) - 4200 publications to submit your CD to for review, 3500 radio stations.
  • Tour Smart - first real book about the business of touring
  • The Plain and Simple Guide to Music Publishing - What you need to know about protecting, and profiting from, music copyrights
  • Crush It! - Cash In on Your Passion
  • Anything You Want - 40 Lessons for a new kind of entrepreneur
  • Do the Work! - A Child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It's only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.

If you also have books collecting dust that you think other musicians could benefit from. Feel free to bring them by and I'll add them into the lending mix.

Santa Cruz Public Library SoundSwell Project

sound waves Attention all Santa Cruz musicians. Our library system is amazing and is ready to pay you to make your music available via download with an Santa Cruz Public Library card. Read all the details below.

Get your paperwork and CD in ASAP in order to be included!


The SoundSwell team is looking forward to working with you on our local music database project. The library has always been a place where people can find music, movies and other materials for entertainment and enrichment. Other libraries across the country are starting to incorporate local music into their systems and with our thriving music scene, we thought it would be a great fit in Santa Cruz as well. Our hope is that it will be win/win for you and our library patrons. Ideally in addition to monetary compensation, we would like to help expose more people to your music and convert more fans, while helping our patrons diversify their local music collections.

The SoundSwell project is supported by a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Eureka! Grant. The grant funding period covers most of the cost for licensing for the initial test database, which should be completed in August 2013. Under the licensing agreement, the library will pay you for a 2 year license as follows: $100 for a full length LP consisting of 9 or more songs, $75 for an EP consisting of 6-8 songs, and $50 for an EP consisting of 4-5 songs. During the term of the license, only those users with a valid library card will be able to download licensed songs. To raise this much revenue from iTunes, you would typically need 100 people to download one of your songs. If 100 people download your song from SoundSwell, you could gain 100 new local fans. That’s 100 people living in Santa Cruz who might tell a friend about your music or attend a show!

Another goal of the SoundSwell project is to establish a historical archive of the local music of Santa Cruz County. Although this aspect of the project will not be implemented until the database has been well established for at least a year, we believe that preserving this aspect of local community identity is important. That is why we ask in the license agreement for your permission to use your album in perpetuity in the archive. This archive will be streaming, but the music will not be available for download. Both the downloadable database and streaming archive will display live links to your band’s website or Facebook Page, making it easy for new fans to connect with your band, your projects, and your performances.

To receive a licensing agreement to review, sign and return email Jennifer at jenn@santacruzrehearsalstudios.com or Diane at cowend@santacruzpl.org . Please let either of us know if you have any questions or concerns or would like to meet in person to go over any aspect of the agreement prior to signing. Once fully executed, we would need you to deliver your CD to the library office downtown no later than one week, at which point the library will mail you your agreement fee.

To return signed license agreement:

Make an appointment with Diane Cowen to deliver the agreement in person or send the agreement with your original signature and W-9 form via US mail. Once the agreement has been received and signed by the library Director, the document will be scanned and emailed back to you with both signatures for your records.

Storage Locker #4 Available

Open vacancy in storage locker #4.

Big enough to fit a lot of shit.

Rental Rate: $1 a day payable at the end of every month.

New SCRS Gear


In an effort to keep things interesting, we've added a few new items to the $1 per hour rental list for our bass playing friends. Introducing:

  • SWR 6x10 Goliath Sr. Bass Cabinet
  • Ampeg SVT 3 Pro Bass Amplifier

Rate Changes for 2013

11036_big We hate "rate changes" as much as the next guy, but we have not raised our prices since we opened 3 years ago and unfortunately our landlords continue to raise or rent... so it's raise the rates a little or throw in the towel. On the bright side, we did lower the rental rates.

We hope you understand and know that we really do work very hard to keep our rehearsal rates reasonable/affordable.

Rate Changes for 2013:

Studio 1 - Size - 23 x 13 $19/hr. Full backline – which includes: • Drum rig - 5 piece Pearl Forum • Bass rig - Ashdown 1000 watt with Ampeg SVT 8x10 speaker cab • Guitar rig - Marshall AVT 150 H with AVT 412A speaker cab • PA System - Yamaha EMX 512 SC with 2 BR 15 speakers. Up to 4 mics with booms.

Studio 2 - 18.5 x 13 $16/hr. • PA System - Yamaha EMX 512 SC with 2 BR 15 speakers. Up to 4 mics with booms.

Studio 3 - 18.5 x 13 $16/hr. • PA System - Yamaha EMX 512 SC with 2 BR 15 speakers. Up to 4 mics with booms.

Studio 4 – 15 x 10 $14/hr. • PA System - Yamaha EMX 512 SC with 2 BR 15 speakers. Up to 4 mics with booms.

On-site Rental Gear.

Each item $1 per hour. Drums (5 pc. kit or any parts - no cymbals) Bass amp Bass cap Bass combo Bass guitar Guitar amp Guitar cab Guitar combo Electric guitar Floor monitor

Each item $4 per hour: Electric keyboard Stand-up electric bass

Cymbal Package for $5 Single cymbals $2 each Cable rental is $1

Music Festival Workshop Notes

Thank you Santa Cruz Music Community for coming out to our panel on Monday. My excitement and energy for working in the music community was inspired anew.

As promised I have attached my festival spreadsheet to date as well as my personal notes. I tried to mostly include festivals that already have 2013 dates but there are plenty more to add. Send me any updates/additions and I will keep it current. A current downloadable PDF will live here - http://www.santacruzrehearsalstudios.com/promotion.php along with other resources referred to in my panel notes.

Please feel free to share this information in any way, shape or form, as long as you don't make money off the info without giving me a (large) cut.

If you have additional resources to add to my section (favored web designers, graphic artists, photographers, etc.) pass them on. If you or your band is not represented here http://www.santacruzrehearsalstudios.com/sc-bands.php (or is misrepresented) please forward that along as well.

Again many thanks for everything, especially the generous donations to help us cover the room rental cost.

Plotting the next meet-up now.. stay tuned for January.

Updated Board

We've got some new rental gear & dry good. Full list:

Rental Gear:

  • Keyboard: KORG SP-250 - 88 key - $4 hr.
  • Floor Monitor: Peavey - $1 hr.
  • Cables: 1/4 " speaker or instrument, 3 prong power - $1 each per session

Guitars: $2 hr.

  • Bass Guitar - 4 string Dean $2 hr.
  • Electric Guitar - 6 string Squier - $2 hr.
  • Strap & cable included

Guitar Amps & Cabs: $2 hr.

  • Marshall 1/2 stack: 150 W valvestate w/ 4x12 cab
  • Marshall 4x12 cab only
  • Marshall 150 valvestate amp only
  • Fender DeVille combo

Bass Amps & Cabs: $2 hr.

  • Ampeg 4x10 cab only
  • Hartke 4x10 cab only
  • SWR 400 w amp only
  • GK 300 w amp only
  • Any amp & cab combo

Basic Drumset: $2 hr.

  • 5 pc. shell w/snare
  • 2 stands & high hat stand
  • 1 kick pedal


  • Crash, ride, hihat set - $2 hr.
  • Single cymbal or hihat set - $1 hr.

Drum Hardware: $1 hr. each

  • Single kick pedal
  • Cymbal stand
  • Single drum

All equipment is available for rent or purchase. Sorry, no loaners.

On-site storage is available.

Dry Goods:


  • power - $18
  • speaker $18

Straps - $5

Bass Strings

  • 4 @ $16
  • 5 @ $20

Guitar Strings - $6 (sorry - no singles)


  • .50 light
  • $1 heavy

Drumsticks - $10


  • $2 AA
  • $3 9V

Hats - $10

T-Shirts - $15


  • Coke/7-UP - $1
  • Redbull $3



Happy Thanksgiving (SCRS Closed 11/24)

Here at Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios we are really thankful for you. We are also thankful for our family and friends which is why we are closed Thanksgiving Day in order to properly overindulge with them all.

Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios will be closed Thursday, November 24.

We will be back in action Friday, November 25, ready for your post-Thanksgiving sessions.

In the meantime, check out our favorite holiday recipe:

Man o' War recipe

1 1/2 oz Wild Turkey® 101 bourbon whiskey 1 oz Orange Curacao liqueur 1/2 oz sweet vermouth 1/2 oz fresh orange juice

Shake all ingredients well with ice and pour on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a slice of orange and a cherry, and serve.

Cold Beverages

Like any good company, we're continually trying to expand and give our loyal clients what they want. In our case, the expansion might be pretty minor but whatever.

We are proud to announce that now in addition to our complimentary water, coffee and tea, we are offering three cold beverages for purchase. For $1 you can get a cold 7-UP or Coke and for $3 a little liquid crack in a can. Enjoy.

First Friday, March 4 - monsters never die

First Friday, March 4 Artist Reception  - 6-9 pm

monsters never die - prints and paintings by Kenny Srivijittakar

Artist Bio: Kenneth Srivijittakar is an artist and illustrator currently living in Santa Cruz. His artwork is inspired by romantic failures, childhood nostalgia, the people that surround him, and the imaginary. His body of work stems out of living in an age where we are rushed through our lives and forget to notice the splendors of our mistakes, and our accomplishments. His art conveys his own personal reflections of the world around him; from the romance of human failure, to the crumbs on his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In the end, he is working towards creating art that will make his audience stop and take a breath, and remember the little things they have forgotten to see. http://www.kennyfightsdirty.com/