Shea Stadium, the DIY music venue in Bushwick, celebrates its fifth anniversary on July 4, thanks in large part to co-founder Adam Reich. Reich is Brooklyn born and raised, and started Shea in ’09 with childhood friends and current bandmates The So So Glos. Besides running a business and playing in the Glos, Reich is also a music producer and plays guitar in Titus Andronicus (releasing a 7″ and July 7). Reich sat down with me on one of Shea’s signature ratty old couches and told B+B a little about himself.
How do you balance playing in your bands and running Shea Stadium?
They all play into each other. Since Shea has been open, this has been the So So Glos’ rehearsal space. Same with Titus Andronicus. Titus has been practicing here for years. All the members of those bands generally comprise the staff of the shows. We all work here. You can find any member of the band sitting at the door taking donations on any given night. So to me, it’s like a family business.
You kind of feel like you’re running a bowling alley sometimes. Like, you set up the pins, only to get knocked down again. The beginning of the show, everything is set up, the place looks great, and at the end of the night, you’re picking up beer cans, you’re sweeping, you’re mopping the floor, you’re putting all the stuff away, packing up the sound equipment, doing this, doing that, only to get the space back to looking the same way it did at the beginning of the show, only for it to get ruined again. It’s like building a house of cards and then pushing it down, knowing that you gotta build that same house of cards again and then push it down again.
Yeah, I got an acoustic guitar from my grandparents for my 11th or 12th birthday. The guys from the Glos would tell you very similar things. We started our bands when we were five and no one knew how to play anything. But we would just hit stuff, and someone had a karaoke machine with a microphone that recorded onto cassette, and we’d make these albums. Which were basically just 15 songs of like, shouting lyrics over this cacophonous, horrendous noise. Some of that stuff still exists somewhere.
It’s hilarious. Lyrically, quite advanced for our age. But everything else, it was a horror show. No one knew how to play. It’s amazing that our parents supported us through that. It must have just been horrible racket all the time, until we started to learn, “Oh, if you put your fingers here, it doesn’t sound like shit.” Those were fun times. From a very, very young age. And it’s funny because we’re all doing the same exact stuff in a lot of ways that we always did.
I can definitely say that the one that had the most impact on me was when my dad took me to see the Rolling Stones when I was like, I don’t know, 12 or 13. These are people who, up until that point in my life, I’d spent so much time listening to, and they’re these sort of larger than life figures. I remember that moment clicking in my head where they came onstage and I was like, “Woah. These people actually exist! That’s a real person up there!” I’m thinking about looking around and seeing 30,000 people at Madison Square Garden and just sort of pondering the enormity of all of it. “Wow, this is a real thing.” That was a big moment for me, personally. I got home that night, and I was certain that this is what I was gonna do.