Des Desmond on his new Magic Room
All photos by John Keegan
Des Desmond with friend
BGN- The Magic Room in Brighton was such a
great place!! The ambiance, the community, bands and events you
put on...all so great. That place was dear to the hearts of many
of us!! We are thrilled to hear you are back at it with a space
in Norwood. It’s been several years….What spurred
you on to open another club?
Des- First off I would like to thank you for
your interest in the new Magic Room! I’m so happy you have
fond memories of the old place in the Sound Museum. We all have
some great stories about the old performance space. By the way,
that space is being used as a place of creativity still! For things
like video shoots, private parties, hourly rehearsal rentals,
recording etc etc. It’s a great sounding room!
BGN- Why way out here in Norwood? It’s
a long way from Brighton.
Des- We picked the space in Norwood because
it has good bones, was cost effective out of the gate, has plenty
of parking and we can get a beer and wine license! But we are
mostly doing the performance space here because we'll be working
with the David Beiber Archives on shows that involve celebrities
at times because the space will act as a VIP spot for all kinds
of acts as we will be showing a history of the artists' works
many of the pieces coming directly from the Archives right next
The Magic Room will also be open to local bands and artists ...
as always. We'll mix it up with all kinds of
shows and art openings!
We're also banking on this being a destination spot, since you
will need a car to get here. I have seen that many acts from out
of state are in large part bypassing Boston. The parking sucks,
the costs are high to run the venues, which reflects on revenues
at the end of the night...numerous reasons. The Norwood area already
has a big music scene and a big populace. We feel it's very possible
to tap this and the people that come will come back again and
again as we will be a very interesting spot to take in a show.
On the property there's also a large room that holds 500 peeps!
We'll be working with the owner of the Space Center organizing
the entire property as one big event as well. We have plans to
cross pollinate with other shows that are at the Norwood Space
Oh and you asked about the big red brick wall as you enter the
space, Well that will be where we hang works of art for those
artists that have showings here. The wall is huge and beautiful
and we intend on lighting it properly for art showings! The David
Bieber Archives will be using that wall to display things as well.
also photographic works will be displayed there as well.
Variety will be the name of the game.
You're expending a lot of time, sweat and treasure on the new room
- what's your motivation?
Des - The reason I’m building another performance
spot is simple - I LOVE IT!
BGN- Do you miss the community
you had at the other Magic Room in Brighton?
Des- YES! I miss the old place
and the fun, meeting new people and having my old friends come
out to a show! I miss the old crew that found their way to that
original space. What an eclectic group of wonderful weirdos! We
all had a blast at the Magic Room! That’s one of the reasons
I want to build another one.
BGN- In addition to a psychedelic carnival
look, I recall the Magic Room had fine, big sound and cool lights.
Des- I plan on keeping that weird ambiance
that I’m known for! I plan on having a trippy looking venue,
an intimate place that feels like a living room but also has that
"that weird ambiance I’m known for"
BGN- What else can folks expect
in the new room?
Des - Lights lights and more
lights!! The rectangles in the photos are going to be screens
for up to 7 video projectors. We’ll have one 10 foot screen
on stage for independent film showings and blasting the bands
as a light show. The place will light up like a christmas tree
if I have my way. Over the top!
BGN- Can you give us some
logistics? Like the capacity of the space? The size of the space?
The size of the room is intimate, but over double the size of the
old place. The estimated capacity will be between 125 and 150 people.
The final tally will depend on how many bathroom fixtures we can
get in those areas to code. That will have a lot to do with the
numbers. We are ok with the smaller number in any event as we truly
want that intimate feeling. The feeling that comes with a living
floor space is about 2800 square feet overall. The stage is awesome,
at 24 feet long and 22 feet wide, there is plenty of space for
most everyone and we have a real nice area for a green room to
accommodate just about any act. My long time friend, Drew Townson
came in with some great suggestions as we started to build the
stage. So the stage was pro-built as I see it. The sound system
will be next, Drew and myself are out there looking for the right
BGN- So Drew is helping you, anyone else?
Des- This will be a family affair as always!
My daughter Casey Desmond moved back recently from California
to help facilitate and manage the venue, help with booking, organizing
and promoting shows. My younger daughter Marylee Desmond as well
as my son William the 3rd will all have roles yet to be determined.
Katherine Desmond also has many ideas for planning events at the
space! We helped each other with the old space so its only natural
that we give that family thing a go.
Casey’s husband Levon Fox, who is very experienced with
lighting, sound stage, movie set installations, will be helping
with setting up the lighting in the room.
BGN- Who’s doing the booking?
The acts we'll have here will vary quite a bit. Casey's doing
some of the booking, and she will lean towards EDM and electronic
acts. I'll be booking everything from old school Prog to modern
progressive rock to single one-offs. We haven't actually inked
anyone in as of yet but we are talking to members of the old Captain
Beefheart's band, Brand x, Don Preston of Zappa fame, Adrian Belew,
Jerry Marottas band Security Project, are all possibles. I would
like to get The Residents as well, but not sure on that as a founding
member died recently sadly.
of the acts we get will have a hefty ticket price as well; 40
TO 50 bucks! We do feel there is an audience for this. To see
a celebrity act in a living room is all the rage, and no wonder
room will have sit down shows and standing room only shows like
the old place. The place will be set up as a VIP room, a meet
and greet type feel! A place you can see a killer show up close
and in your face! But there will be shows with a reasonable ticket
price as well. It'll depend as always on who is playing, and their
draw is also a factor. The usual things. The space will be available
for rental of private showings or parties. We'll make the space
available for practices of all kinds, and movie showings. We are
open to everything as this is not only a passion, but a business!
If we are successful we will be around for some time. If not,
well we will go the way of the buffalo.