1795 Gerrard Avenue
The house on 1795 Gerrard Avenue is where I like to think my 3rd act of life in Columbus really ramped up into gear. Or maybe the 4th act. At any rate, as a first time home owner, I was stoked on that level, but also in that it felt like a return to where I belonged, my favorite general region of the city. Before this, it seemed as though I would probably just continue moving further and further out, until winding up in the suburbs somewhere, married and living in a quiet subdivision. And possibly worse still – the horror! – I never even thought about it, never considered any other option at all. If I had, I probably would have considered it just what a person did in growing older, and why fight it.
So over time, I had lost contact with countless friends, living in such far flung, exotic locales as Upper Arlington, or out off of Morse Road. We might catch a crappy cover band every now and then, nearby, but I had completely lost the pulse of the music scene otherwise, not to mention what was happening downtown, on campus, or in my favorite neck of the woods, Grandview.
It wasn’t a conscious decision to jump back into the fire, so to speak. Like most major overhauls, I suppose, in retrospect I can see this was prompted, in a roundabout fashion, by a breakup. Being single meant a bunch of expenses I was paying alone, meant taking on a second job, meant kind of thinking for the first time, once finances stabilized, that, hey, I can actually afford to buy a house if I want. Not to mention looking up many old friends for the first time in who knows how long. Next thing you knew I was actually looking at houses, and though driving around and checking out something like 20 in the space of a single day, with a realtor chosen only on the recommendation of a coworker, I kept coming back to the first house we had walked through that morning…1795 Gerrard Avenue.
The idea was that I could rent out 2 of the 3 bedrooms if I want, and the basement on top of it, and break even or perhaps show a slight profit on the monthly payment. This would prove a hit or miss proposition, though I’m fortunate that in the extensive scroll of bill-paying roommates at that house (Damon, Matt, Brandon, Clif, Gedroe, Megan, Clif again), the good ones far outnumbered the duds. Living here would help me reconnect with the city, and reinvigorate my social life in a major way.
As expected, it also turned into party central. And as an unseen, never considered bonus, for some reason the basement in this place had insanely good acoustics for recording live music, in particular the drums. Vocals were a different animal at times, but you could put one crappy mic in the middle of room and pick up all the instruments in remarkable balance, sounding crisp. And as I’ve said, the drums especially stood out in this setting, sounding much better than anywhere else I have experienced. As a result, this place did become somewhat of a hotbed for musical activity. Impromptu jams with an audience happened frequently, or, sometimes on a nightly basis, we’d come home from the bar at 3am or whatever, hit RECORD and goof around to see what might happen. Here are some tracks which were recorded as live improvs in this spirit, entirely in that basement:
The basic rule of thumb with these is that whatever sounds like the hardest instrument to play, that was probably Matt. Whatever sounds like the easiest, that was definitely me. Other random people would fall in and out of the mix on a continual basis. We have a boatload of similar evidence in the can, and while the songs themselves are debatable, I do find the audio quality amazing at times, considering no work was done to them whatsoever.
When I move in, there’s this light grey Berber carpet everywhere, which was supposed to be stain resistant – mmm, not so much, at least not in our hands – yet really didn’t look that great from the outset. Then at some random cookout, this Bill character (pictured below), who was a maintenance man of sorts, said he would almost guarantee there were hardwood floors underneath this carpet. We peeled back a section and it turns out he was right. Beautiful hardwood floors covered most of the house, but had been covered over by this ghastly carpet – which we began removing that very night.
Random scenes from random cookout: