End of a Dream

AFTER providing cheap rehearsal space to bands for 25 years – including the likes of John Butler and Paul Kelly – Dream Studios in Mt Hawthorn will close this Sunday (June 17).

Located at 369 Oxford Street, the building was bought in April 2017 for $1.53 million and in December the new owner submitted an application to turn the rear section of the building into a carpark. The front will be medical consulting rooms for a hearing specialist.

Dream Studios owner Jo Poole says the studio’s been around for “half my life” and it’ll all be over come Sunday.

It used to be the old site of the Hip-E Club – now down the road on Newcastle Street – and was one of the few rehearsal spaces not tucked away in an industrial zone.

• Jo Poole in Dream Studios. Photo by Steve Grant

The studio had a grungy charm, with walls clad in decades of overlapping graffiti, and it was a cheap option for young bands.

“We had dreams and aspirations,” Mr Poole said. “It was never about making money.”

Over the years the rehearsal rooms have been graced by thousands of musos, including John Butler, Paul Kelly, 28 Days, Drapht and the Syllabolix crew, and the Volcanics.

One musician who used to practice there and loved the price and atmosphere said, “$60 [got you] all the graffiti cocks you can stand to look at on the walls”.

• The doodle-covered walls of Dream Studios will be knocked down to make way for a new hearing clinic on the site. Our cartoonist Jason Chatfield wonders if some old habits will carry over to the new venture.

In 2013 the “Dream” nearly became a nightmare after Vincent council staff discovered the business didn’t have the right planning approvals to operate.

They wanted to shut the place down, but councillors relented and let them stay open.

The site’s zoning allows for up to five storeys, but the new owner didn’t apply to build upwards.

by DAVID BELL

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