Steven Severin, co-owner of Neumos in Seattle, says that venues are still paying 10s of countless dollars a month while they cross their fingers for federal help.
As co-owner of Seattle’s popular independent location Neumos in Capitol Hill, Steven Severinhas been a staple in the Seattle music industry for more than twenty years. Roughly 10 years back, he helped produce the Seattle Night life and Music Association to unite the area’s live event experts, and for the past 16 years has actually assisted run Neumos with its sis club Barboza and the accompanying Runaway bar.
As part of Signboard‘s efforts to finest cover the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the music market, we will be talking with Severin every 2 weeks to chronicle his experience throughout the crisis. (Check out the last installation here and see the complete series here. )What has changed for you in the past couple weeks?
In the last couple of days we had David Byrne on the Today Program talking about Save Our Phases and Margo Price and [National Independent Location Association president] Dayna Frankon MSNBC. We’re getting great momentum there. [Sen.] Marco Rubio (R-FL) has finally said that he has actually checked out the Save Our Phases Act and it seems like he supports it. He is a huge piece in this. We have actually been doing whatever we can. Him and [Sen.] Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are on the very same page that the hardest hit businesses, the last to open, are the ones that require to be taken care of and require to be supported.
That’s just part of it. If we got totally funded through the Restart Act we would get only half of what we require to make it through for what we reasonably believe is a year from now. Due to the fact that the vaccine is not going to come out, at the earliest, until the end of the year/beginning of next and they state it is going to take at least three to 6 months before individuals get it. And, not everyone is going to get it. That’s next summer season. We’ve currently been closed for 6 months and we’re going to need to go another year. Simply getting the Restart Act is getting us through the year so we can learn what to do next.
How far will the Restart Act get most places?
It is 45% of your 2019 expenditures, I believe. It must get us near to nine months, due to the fact that our expenses won’t be as high while we are closed. But we still have a great deal of those expenditures. One club in Washington that I was speaking to, it is $60,000 a month for them to be closed. And they have a discount rate on rent from the landlord. Without the discount, it would be $75,000.
How could being closed expense a place $60,000?
Lease, insurance, taxes. Then there are all type of other licensing costs that you still need to pay. You can be paying $10,000 a month in insurance when you are closed and our insurance coverage is dropping us in September. Not since we can’t pay, but due to the fact that they aren’t going to cover music venues any longer. So my rate is going to increase even though I don’t have any claims.
Since you are closed, can you stop having insurance coverage till you reopen?
In September, we will stop having the liability insurance due to the fact that it was currently pre-paid. Then it will simply be on the building. We still need to have insurance coverage on the building.
How do you manage waiting on the decision today on the brand-new stimulus packages and possible acts?
I was speaking with my partner on Saturday and I was simply holding on by a thread. I am absolutely depressed today. Today, it is so tough to rise and do things. A lot of it is dealing with the uncertainty. I understand that there are people talking in D.C. that are choosing my life. They are deciding what happens to my income and the people that I employ and individuals that come to my location. I have actually done all I can. I have worked actually hard to make certain that our voice was heard. Now I just have to sit here and wait.
Are other locations you are in contact feeling the same method?
Another music location in Washington disappeared today. They just couldn’t make it any longer. There are at least 10 venues that if it wasn’t for their landlords giving them a break, they ‘d be gone today. If people hadn’t gotten the PPP loans they would be gone. We still have to pay this cash back until someone informs us we do not. So we are all in financial obligation although we are still combating to survive. It is going to be so long prior to we pay once again. As an entrepreneur, how am I supposed to pay my costs if I can’t make an income? If there is no revenue, I don’t get paid. So I, and numerous others around the country, are combating to keep these places open for other people.
Have you heard anyone echo the sentiment made by Ivanka Trump that some individuals should pivot their careers?
I had somebody recently, a truly wise person, that stated the places that can’t make it, there will be people there to change it in the next year or more. I comprehend how they might think that for restaurants, but that is not true for music locations. Music places that are around begun in the neighborhoods that were less than desirable, since you needed to have inexpensive lease to be able to have that much area. We have actually got 10,000 square feet. We pay per square foot. That amounts to a lot, so you’ve got to do it in areas where individuals do not wish to remain in. As time goes on, they become more desirable and now, Neumos for instance, remains in a home entertainment district. It used to be Automobile Row. It’s not going to be brand-new music venues that can be found in, it’s going to be apartments.
Not to mention, that was someone’s dream, their livelihood. Someone else can be found in there is not an answer. Individuals resemble, simply pivot professions. I’ve done one thing in my life. It is music. What am I going to pivot my profession to? I have health issue that keep me from working typical hours. What am I going to go do?
Somebody mentioned that there was an old club back in the ’80s that was called The Coliseum and they put a Banana Republic there. And you know what, it’s still a Banana Republic. It has not end up being another music venue. There are no music places downtown any longer. There are none.