So, what venue has the attributes of an amazing rock and roll museum while possessing a massive collection of nearly every instrument known to man? Okay, two more clues; this same venue houses the best and most luxurious rehearsal space around along with providing a staff of professionals–second to none–which can assist any musician with any need that they have. The answer?…………SIR Los Angeles. (SIR stands for Studio Instrument Rentals). SIR is a national company with locations in Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York City, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, and, Seattle.
SIR came into being in 1967 and it professes to be a “backline company,” however, after visiting SIR-LA, we would debate that limiting description. It is so so so much more than that.
SIR-LA is manned by about 60 employees and the layout is impressive. The facility is first and foremost some of the best rehearsal space around but as we said it is so so much more. For starters, the clientele are, for the most part, not your average musicians. On any given day you never know who you will see there. In fact, the day before our visit Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band were at SIR-LA rehearsing and none other than Paul McCartney showed up. KISS is also a frequent visitor and oh yes, TMZ is another visitor (on the exterior only!).
So what is it that makes SIR-LA so interesting, so unique and so irresistible? Well, here are some factors for consideration.
Rock n’ Roll History
This is pretty much self-explanatory because where else can you find items like these that belong in a music museum?
You also can find set lists from any number of artists.
Furthermore, there are also so many stories surrounding SIR-LA (formerly Hollywood) which makes it really special. Consider the recording of Neil Young’s album entitled Tonight’s The Night (recorded in 1973). At the time SIR was located in Hollywood and as the story goes, Young was so impressed with the sound of the rehearsal studio that he wanted to record his album there. So, what did they do? SIR accommodated by literally putting a hole in the wall to allow Young’s portable studio truck to run lines into the studio. Many of the tracks from that album were recorded at SIR-Hollywood.
These are only some of the tales and musical artifacts that surround this storied venue. Again, if you see something at SIR-LA it’s an original.
The Instrument Selection
Regardless of what you play you will find it at SIR-LA. When you first walk in it is obvious that SIR-LA possesses one of the finest guitar collections around. This collection also includes many stringed instruments and believe us, if it exists SIR-LA probably has it.
If you are a drummer you quickly will experience a fanciful rush which is nothing short of orgasmic. Imagine a place where you can find any pedal that you desire and any drum set configuration that you want.
You can also choose from infinite kinds of hardware and find any snare drum that you want.
Editor’s Note: The above pictures should not be understood to tell the whole story. Instead, they are merely just examples of a portion of SIR-LA’s inventory. That’s right, just a portion. Keys, horns, percussion, you name it and they have it.
Okay, so on the instruments we have to concede that SIR-LA has almost everyone beat and that includes most music stores and probably some manufacturers too.
The Rehearsal Spaces
Imagine renting out Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles or The Bottom Line in New York City for rehearsing or showcasing your material and band? Well, if you are up for something like that then you will love the layout at SIR-LA. The rehearsal rooms are spacious, ever accommodating and, simply over the top. These rooms are capable of satisfying virtually any need that a band has and more.
Each room is equipped with monitors galore and sound equipment which rivals and even surpasses many venues that most bands perform at. Indeed, guests will be impressed with your room which can quickly mirage as an actual “A room” venue.
Heck, SIR-LA even has its own liquor license for accommodating guests for any band that is showcasing itself. Did we also mention catering? Perhaps the only thing missing from SIR-LA was the guarantee of a recording contract. However, these facilities will give the artist every advantage and benefit of the doubt if you are in pursuit of impressing record companies or music industry folk.
The Professional Staff
At the top we mentioned the staff at SIR-LA. They are special people who combine the attributes of the best road crew that meets with the best technicians. A lot of that starts with Garon Eltzroth who is the quality control manager at SIR-LA. Garon was the best tour guide we could have hoped for and his hospitality was second to none. The following day Garon was slated to head out to monitor and oversee a show by a national act who was using backline provided by SIR-LA. “Never a dull day,” he tells us. Indeed.
We also mentioned the overwhelming drum department. Manning that is Scott Aguero and Chris Hansen who, in uncanny fashion, are able to pinpoint the locale of any desired drum, piece of hardware, or cymbal much like a game show contestant who has to reactively answer questions on a moment’s notice. Better yet, tell them the sound you want and they will build it……….literally.
Indeed, the entire staff was impressive and that includes pro audio. Even DJs get serviced at SIR-LA! Each SIR-LA staffer we met offered a helping hand, a wealth of experience, and a keen insight which was completely in tune with assisting an artist with whatever he or she needed.
For a musician a visit to SIR-LA is a good idea. No, actually it’s a great idea. The atmosphere there represents the right way to do things; everything else is an effort to mimic perfection. In the end, anything can be expected there and after 5 minutes it is apparent why recognized musicians see SIR and SIR-LA as the premiere rehearsal venue and backline company….case closed.
Admittedly, our experience at SIR-LA was overwhelming. Not much can compare to SIR-LA. Honestly. However, it’s unrealistic to expect that many can compete with SIR after visiting the facility. Instead, SIR should stand for a standard to be attained and an understanding about what can be done to assist a musician, artist or band short of handing them the music and lyrics for the next top 10 hit. If you are fortunate enough to experience SIR-LA professionally then savor it. It’s a rarity. For the rest of us take it all in and learn the way things should be done. SIR-LA you are simply the best.
Editor’s Note: For more information on this fabulous company please visit www.sir-usa.com.