May 18, 2006

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Milling out the music
Manchester Music Mill makes music and money
By Richie Victorino  rvictorino@hippopress.com

Joe Lacerda has dozens of guitars at his fingertips, all of which he could play if he only had the time. He has the $3,500 Fender and the $80 guitar. He has a sitar (just for decoration, he said) and a banjo.

He has so many guitars (at home and at work) that his wife asks him why he needs so many, seeing as he’s only able to play one guitar at a time.

“You can only wear one pair of shoes at a time,” he rationalized.

He loves his guitars and would love to play all of them all the time; but he just doesn’t have the time.

Lacerda, with partners Harley Walker and Donna Walsh, own Manchester Music Mill, a music store at Morgan Self Storage that opened last October. Running a business, as Lacerda explains, is a life-consuming experience.

But that’s why these three folks chose to run a music store; music already consumes their lives.

Walker and Lacerda are lifelong musicians. Walker, a drummer, comes from a family of musicians – his father was a bassist who also played guitar (displayed at Manchester Music Mill is a double-neck guitar Walker’s father started to make; one neck is a bass; the other is a six-string guitar).

Lacerda played tuba in the Army band.

“It was the best job in the Army,” Lacerda said. “Everybody loves the band.”

But Lacerda also plays guitar, and when a drummer and guitarist hang out with each other long enough, eventually they’ll start to jam together.

“Yeah we play … we usually jam in the back room,” Walker said, pointing to the room where music lessons are taught (ranging from guitar to sax, flute, drums and more).

Location, location, location
Manchester’s Music Mill is like a convenience store for musicians, Walker said. The store is located in a building (Morgan Self Storage) that serves as a practice space for more than 50 bands. That’s proven to be helpful for both the store and the bands. These musicians are able to pick up what they need (like strings, picks etc.) on the way to or from their practice session. If a guitarist breaks a string one night, no problem. All he has to do is walk a few yards to the Music Mill.

Thanks to its location, the Music Mill has even found one of its newest guitar teachers; guitarist (and certified guitar teacher) Eric Turner of the band Duty Free has signed on to be an instructor. Duty Free’s practice space is no more than 20 yards away from Manchester Music Mill’s door.

Michael Bolton’s soundboard
Among the many instruments and equipment for sale at the store lies a mammoth-sized soundboard.

“That’s Michael Bolton’s,” Lacerda said.

Lacerda was given that soundboard by Chris Morrison, a man who has toured with Bolton, Lionel Richie and more. Lacerda told Morrison he wanted to get some used equipment for the store; Morrison sold him Bolton’s soundboard and even an amplifier used by Clint Lowery of Sevendust. Just imagine it; you could have the same soundboard Michael Bolton once used in his studio … wow.


Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com

Mill-around
Manchester Music Mill is located at 400 Bedford St., Manchester. It is inside Morgan Self Storage building. Your best bet is to find the Mill Lady Statue (across from UNH Campus). The entrance to the building is right behind that statue. You can call the store at 623-8022.
Take a lesson, get a guitar: If you sign up for 12 weeks of guitar lessons (at $20 a session) Manchester Music Mill will give you a free guitar.
Yay for eBay: Aside from instruments, equipment and accessories, Manchester Music Mill will also sell your unwanted stuff on eBay for you. As an experienced eBay seller, Lacerda knows how to get the most for your stuff