Local venue helps bands prep for shows
By Mark Ambrogi
Rick Kingston is planted in his Carmel shop seven days. Some days he might be there 14 hours. No matter, he loves it.
Kingston’s Music Showplace, 340 Ridgepoint Dr., primarily provides rehearsal space for bands. The hours are typically from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., but that often changes.
“We have a lot of acts at the Jazz Kitchen and sometimes those guys don’t get up until dinner time,” he said. “So they are not done until 1 o’clock in the morning. I stay until the last band is done.”
The shop also serves as musical instrument store and a concert venue. Kingston started the business and about five years ago.
“It’s been a rocket ship ever since,” Kingston said.
He moved from smaller location on Gradle Drive three years ago and then doubled the space about 15 months ago.
“We have three rooms and they’re regularly booked so we’re looking for more space right now,” Kingston said.
The store has hosted several national and regional acts in his rehearsal rooms.
“Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band was in Brussels (Belgium) one night and in here the next,” Kingston said.
Kingston said Stars in Stereo, a Los Angeles band, rented out the place for a whole day before a date in Cincinnati. The band then canceled a show in Atlanta and came back and spent another day in the shop.
“It’s hard to find rehearsal space on the road,” Kingston said. “But what pays the bills around here is the local bands. We’ve had bunches of them in here the last few years.”
Kingston has enjoyed seeing bands evolve such as An Innocent Band, a Billy Joel tribute band.
“They started Day One in our place and it’s been wonderful to see them come along and work on the show and see the music mature,” Kingston said. “There’s been so many stories like that with all the bands.”
The 1971 Carmel High School graduate said some bands that work every weekend, such as Toy Factory, Living Proof and The Bishops, use the space on a regular basis.
Bryan Bishop, of The Bishops, a national party band based in Indiana, said Kingston’s is full service.
“It’s whatever you need,” Bishop said. “The sound is top notch. There is always refreshments, It’s the attention to detail. He has wireless printing capability. He’s getting ready to have a small recording studio. His motto is plug n’ play. In other words, come in with your instrument, and that doesn’t include drums because he always has drums. Then you plug in and start rehearsing. He’s got everything else covered.”
Bishop pointed out Kingston’s wife and co-owner Ellen is an artist concierge for The Center for the Performing Arts.
“They know how to take care of people,” Bishop said. “They’re professional. That’s the difference between any other rehearsal studio I’ve been to around town.”
Bishop said he plans to holds concerts there for higher-end clients. Kingston said Friday nights are slower because many bands have gigs that night. So twice a month Kingston’s hosts shows.
“So we do a showcase for young bands and people just starting out so their friends and family can come and hear the music,” Kingston said. “We have snacks and pop and it’s $10 bucks at the door for the band.”
Rehearsal time is usually sold in three-hour blocks for $60, with each additional hour $20.
“Sundays is actually one of our busiest days,” Kingston said.