Bob Douglas at Music Makers Rehearsal Studios in 2016. (File photo: Tom Zillich)

Surrey’s Music Makers Rehearsal Studios will rock on with new owner

Theory of a Deadman, Lee Aaron, Aaron Pritchett have rehearsed or recorded there

After a decade of operating the Newton-area hub for musicians, Bob Douglas has sold Music Makers Rehearsal Studios and will retire from the business.

Tom Clark, who runs Surrey-based sewing company Deimos Zipharness, will take over operations on March 30.

“Tom will be moving his other (manufacturing) business to the (Music Makers) location and combining it with Music Makers there,” Douglas told the Now-Leader. “Tom will be doing some renovations so most rehearsals will be moved to the Penthouse studio during that time. We expect that all current reservations will be accommodated without interruption. I expect the transition will be pretty seamless. I plan to be one of his customers.”

Music Makers includes two 400-square-foot studios on the ground floor and a second-floor “penthouse” of nearly 1,000 square feet.

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• RELATED STORY: Lee Aaron video shoot rocks Surrey studio with ‘Diamond Baby Blues’ sounds.

Since the doors opened in 2011, musicians who have rehearsed or recorded there include rock band Theory of a Deadman, Alfie Zappacosta, Darby Mills, Jerry Doucette, Lee Aaron and Aaron Pritchett, along with hundreds of players on the local scene.

Douglas, a White Rock resident, played bass in Vancouver-area bands starting in the 1960s.

For years, Douglas dropped out of playing music but got the itch again in the late-2000s when the idea for a Motown-ish band – initially dubbed S.O.S. and, later, Soul Dogs – was hatched. They needed a place to rehearse and Douglas, with money made in the RV industry, bought unit #26-8333 130th St., and called it Music Makers.

“The format here is a reflection of all the things I didn’t like about other places I’ve rehearsed in,” Douglas said in a 2016 interview.

• READ MORE: Longtime rocker’s music hub makes noise in Newton.

In early 2019, as part of his retirement plans, Douglas put Music Makers up for sale and has since looked for a new owner who wants to keep the place running as a rehearsal studio.

In White Rock, Douglas is part of the “Blue Crew” that stages concerts at Blue Frog Studios, as “front-end management” – a greeter who looks after concert-goers.

A longtime music fan, Douglas owns many original concert tickets, posters and programs that feature The Beatles, The Who, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and other music icons. He saw concerts by those performers, among many others, in Vancouver and other cities beginning in the mid-1960s.

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On Facebook this week, Douglas thanked his “wonderful artist friends” for supporting Music Makers in recent years.

“I so value all of the special friendships and I can’t tell you how much I will miss you all,” Douglas wrote. “It has been a great privilege to serve you. My last day will be March 28 but I will be helping Tom with the transition for a while after that.

“I’m not disappearing,” he added. “After kicking around the industry for nearly 55 years, music is in my blood so I hope to see you at Blue Frog and other venues around town soon.”

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