Rock and roll is really going down the toilet.
A Greenpoint glam rock quartet is being evicted from its Java Street crashpad — not because they couldn’t make rent, but because their 1,800-square foot loft is about to become an office for workers refurbishing a nearby sewage treatment plant.
During the six years that Justin Tranter, lead singer of the Semi Precious Weapons, has lived in the shadow of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, he assumed that his proximity to the often-smelly poop strainer would keep rent low and luxury development at bay.
But in the end, it wasn’t a rent hike or condos that forced the spandex-clad rockers from the loft — it was the plant itself!
The band is getting the boot so their landlords can turn the pad into a workspace for sewage contractors, said Leon Yaloz, one of the landlords.
“There are going to be offices for one of the companies working across the street at the plant,” said Yaloz.
But since the rockers — who Yaloz described as “nice guys” — received a 30-day eviction notice earlier this month, Brooklyn’s answer to the New York Dolls have been looking for a new place to rock.
“Things are going well for us, but we aren’t a famous band yet, so we don’t have any money,” said Tranter, who announced the eviction in a YouTube video. “This city just isn’t about artists being able to live fabulously anymore.”
That may sound sad coming from the oft-stilettoed singer whose trashy party ballads earned his band the title “best local rockers” by the Village Voice — but there just aren’t mega-millions to be made in recreating the sound that made David Bowie so fabulous in the 1970s.
Even with Tratner peddling handmade jewelry, the otherwise jobless glitter rockers can barely scrape up the $1,400 monthly rent, which is less than half the market rate for Greenpoint lofts.
On the eponymous track of the band’s debut album, Tratner croons, “I can’t pay my rent but I’m f!@#ing gorgeous!”
Comparable spaces in the formerly cheap Polish neighborhood start at $3,500 per month, while similar sized lofts in Williamsburg rent for even more, said broker Michele Witty of Williamsburg Realty. Even the bargain-heavy Bushwick “is not much cheaper,” she added.
The Semi Precious Weapons are hardly the first band to get forced out of the increasingly expensive neighborhood.
“It’s getting harder to find rehearsal spaces around here,” said Tammy Hart, who books concerts at Williamsburg’s Soundfix Lounge. “They’re just one of the fistfuls of bands that are no longer able to stay here.”
So the overly make-upped and elaborately garbed band, whose debut record “We Love You” is out just as its members are looking for a new home, is planning a last-minute equipment sale to raise cash and drop clutter — but even with the proceeds, they doubt they’ll be able to pull together enough money to get a new loft.
“Everyone knows that Greenpoint is changing,” said Tranter, whose band is considering moving to (gasp!) New Jersey. “It’s no longer for artists here. You used to be able to move here and figure it out, but it costs too much now. Now you have to have a plan, you have to have a job, and you have to have rich parents. We don’t have any of those, so we don’t know what to do.”
c_This story was updated on August 27, 2008 at 4 pm.
©2008 Community News Group
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