Christmas studio heist brings out goodwill

Twin Cities musicians are putting on yet another benefit, this time for Alarmists frontman Eric Lovold.

Thieves ransacked the St. Paul home owned by Eric Lovold, left, on Christmas Eve, stealing up to $30,000 worth of items, including irreplaceable recording tracks. Randy Tomes, right, discovered the theft.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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Suffice it to say Eric Lovold's holidays were ruined when his St. Paul house was burglarized of $25,000 in recording equipment and other music gear on Christmas Eve.

Since then, however, the Alarmists bandleader has been enjoying something of a belated Christmas filled with the spirit of giving -- one that the Twin Cities music scene is known to spread year-round.

"It's been amazing to have so many people step out of the woodwork to help," he said.

Police are still investigating the break-in at Lovold's house near Como Lake, where his roommate returned home in the wee hours of Dec. 25 to find the front door lock smashed, mattresses and drawers overturned, and most of the basement studio plundered. Lovold ran the studio as a business, Instrument Control.

Among those coming forward to help are the operators of the Varsity Theater, which will host a benefit concert Jan. 28 (First Avenue also offered to host it, Lovold said). The musicians playing the fundraiser are doing so for free, including White Light Riot, Chris Koza, members of Solid Gold and Lovold's Alarmists band mates. Visual artists also will be auctioning off artwork, and Barb Abney of the Current (89.3 FM) has agreed to emcee.

Meanwhile, other recording studios are offering their services and facilities for free to Lovold, including the Pearl Recording Studio, Fuzzy Slippers and the Institute of Production & Recording (IPR). These studios will be used primarily to help remake albums by two of Lovold's clients, the country band Kicks and Spurs and songwriter Brian DeRemer, whose recordings were just a few overdubs away from completion when the computer hard drives they were stored on were stolen from Lovold's studio.

"It takes a village to make a record," joked Zachary Hollander, co-owner of the Pearl, who said he fully felt the pain Lovold and his clients suffered. "It takes a lot of time and sometimes a lot of money to make a record, and those poor guys lost it all."

Kevin Bowe, a veteran producer/songwriter, had never met Lovold or the other victims when he offered to host sessions for them at IPR, where he's an instructor.

"Musicians are weird," Bowe said. "Most of them are broke dogs, but the minute someone says, 'Oh, this person needs help,' then we all come running. And in this case where it's a musician who's the victim, I bet any of us in town would help the guy out."

Lovold said he's most concerned with his clients. DeRemer plans to begin re-recording his album the weekend of the Varsity concert and considers it quite a daunting task.

"We spent a lot of hours and even weeks working on the thing, so I'm not sure how long it's going to take," DeRemer said. "I was really happy with the record we had, so I can only hope lightning can strike twice."

Before any money goes toward flying in his band mates, though, DeRemer said the Varsity benefit concert will first be used to cover Lovold's $2,000 insurance deductible.

The Jan. 28 concert is another in a long line of events in which the music community has helped its own, including a high-profile affair for injured sound man Brad Kern and another to pay the funeral costs for Mikey (Eyedea) Larsen, both held at First Avenue this past fall.

The Alarmists frontman admitted "it's a weird feeling" being the beneficiary of such an event.

"I've probably played 25 or 30 benefit shows myself, and was always happy to do it," said Lovold, who hopes to get his studio up and running by the spring. "What goes around, comes around, I guess."

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658

  • WANT TO GO?

    With: White Light Riot, Chris Koza, Solid Gold DJs, Kicks and Spurs, Brian DeRemer, the Alarmists.

    When: 8:30 p.m. Jan. 28.

    Where: Varsity Theater, 1308 SE. 4th St., Minneapolis.

    Tickets: $10. 21 & older. VarsityTheater.org.

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