Urban Dictionary defines a Garage Mahal as follows:
“Occasionally seen in the yards of people with way too much time on their hands. The Garage Mahal is a large, ornate garage, probably used for storing expensive goods, such as Ferraris, French Bread, Platinum Chains, or Record Labels. So large, many a small child have never come out.”
Although this definition is unconventional, it proves to be more than accurate for MDRN HSTRY’s case. As you walk into this tiny garage tucked away in Pacific Beach, you find yourself emerged in years of history and collective memories.
The story itself is serendipitous. It started when Guitarist Jesse Orlando moved into this garage as a room in November 2016. He spent two months there until a bedroom opened up in the house. Orlando was no stranger to this garage though, as a local he has partied in that house years beforehand. Throughout the years the garage has served as many functions, including being a motorcycle garage and a home gym. At one point, there was even a quarter pipe inside. By the time Orlando moved room in, the room was in shambles. It became the home of empty cans, cigarette butts and hoarded trash.
Once Orlando got the trash out and moved in, he started playing his guitar with the door open, hoping it would attract any fellow musicians. To his surprise, it actually worked. Nick Roberts wondered in and complimented his music. It didn’t take long for them to end up in Nick’s garage, also known as the Boner Garage. This became the spot where members of MDRN HSTRY all met each other. The last piece to the puzzle was Cinco De Mayo of last year. Orlando threw a Cinco De Mayo party and invited all of his friends. Orlando and AJ Peters were jamming together in the garage before being joined by Shea Smith, Drew Wright, Pete Eichar, and Nick Roberts, hence officially beginning MDRN HSTRY.
This garage has gone through many phases in its time, but through the years, its collected a lot of memories. The walls are covered in doodles, autographs, and chicken scratches from countless residents and guests. In fact, they encourage people to write on the walls.
“The free wall is a testament to its history,” said Jesse Orlando.
Since MDRN HSTRY began, they have made a conscious effort to collectively add to this garage, turning it into their new home as a band. Random art, miscellaneous instruments, and aimless decorations can be found in every corner of this tiny garage.
Over time, it has turned into the Garage Mahal. There are no boundaries for how weird or random you can be. It almost feels like a speakeasy, with it being so secretive. Every so often, MDRN HSTRY will put on a show here. Once you walk through that garage door, you enter a portal that takes you to a place of curiosity and astonishment.
The Garage Mahal has a big future ahead. Beginning April 28, Local Expression and MDRN HSTRY are going to start the “Garage Mahal Sessions;” a weekly series where local bands perform at the Garage Mahal in a stripped down set.
These tucked away gems don’t build themselves overnight. It takes years and years of transformation. We’re lucky to have it become such a beautiful creative space that will hopefully become a staple in the San Diego local music scene. If not we hope this beautiful garage becomes a new trend in the music community. Until then, be on the lookout for more from the Garage Mahal.