Near the city’s neighborhoods on Hillwood Ave., a small rehearsal studio has seen — and heard — some big musical names.
Since 1991, Barco Rebar has provided a rehearsal room and drum room service for both locals and visitors to use for their musical talents. Musicians and bands including Motorhead, Beyonce and Foo Fighters have all recorded and/or broadcasted from Barco Rebar.
The origins of Barco Rebar began in owner Richard Gibson’s basement, after realizing that he and his band M.F.D. were disturbing his neighbors while playing their “loud” music. After searching for rehearsal spaces, Gibson said he and his band began to practice near two warehouse spaces, in what would become the first location of Barco Rebar.
Over 30 years later, Barco Rebar currently has four rooms equipped with a “whole backline equipment.” Yamaha drum sets, Ampeg SVT amplifiers, Marshall 100 watt tube Guitar heads and more are provided to musicians of all backgrounds.
“The process is very easy for most musicians using our place,” Gibson said when describing how musicians can practice at Barco Rebar. “Many will call or text [about using the space] and they are usually quite happy with that.”
One popular visitor at the rehearsal studio is Scream, a band formed in Bailey’s Crossroads and a musical stepping stone for Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. Pete Stahl, the singer and a founding member of Scream, said the band began practicing at Barco Rebar after befriending Gibson and M.F.D.
“There’s not many places in Washington, D.C. [to rehearse],” Stahl said. “Really the only place that we can find to rehearse is Barco, so it’s been providing a service to local musicians in Northern Virginia.”
As for why, Stahl said Scream keeps coming to Barco Rebar to practice and rehearse because the studio has a “good vibe” and Gibson offers a flexible schedule and equipment that each visiting band can use.
“Richard is the greatest,” Stahl said. “He’ll go out of his way to help you and even if he’s booked up, he’ll try to help you find a place [to rehearse].”
When musicians finish practicing at Barco Rebar, Gibson said he hears that the band “gets tighter and more proficient” at playing their instruments due to being able to hear themselves clearly when playing the music.
“This is all personally gratifying for me,” Gibson said. “It is nice when people say things about our studio or leave reviews and say how they made a great video or recorded a great record.”