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Celebrating 50 years of music and more at The Maintenance Shop

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

From Muddy Waters to The Lumineers, a venue located in the basement of Iowa State University's Memorial Union has seen 50 years of music, theatre, comedy and more.

The Maintenance Shop, also known simply as The M-Shop, officially opened on January 7th, 1974.

Named after the space's former use on the ground floor of ISU's Memorial Union, students organized to convert the room into a venue for musical and theatrical performances. The club quickly became the spot for A-list touring folk, jazz, and blues musicians, with collaborations with Iowa Public Broadcasting that put The M Shop on television screens across the world.

Not very much has changed a half century later. The stained-glass church window that was bought for $150 at an auction still hangs above the stage, and ISU students still provide much of the work and leadership needed to keep the intimate performance venue going.

Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe looks back at 50 years of The M Shop, first with The Nadas cofounder and ISU alum Jason Walsmith. Then, Nebbe talks with Dan Rice, who managed The M Shop full-time from 1980-1984 before enrolling as an ISU student. Current M Shop manager and advisor Jim Brockpahler joins the conversation, along with the venue's current student co-director Allison Talyat, and recent ISU graduate and former lead sound tech Hassein Rife. And listeners share their favorite M Shop memories.


  • Jason Walsmith, co-lead singer and songwriter, The Nadas
  • Dan Rice, transfer relations and outreach advisor, Iowa State University
  • Jim Brockpahler, entertainment programs coordinator, Maintenance Shop manager, Iowa State University
  • Allison Talyat, ISU junior and co-director, The Maintenance Shop
  • Hassein Rife, ISU graduate and live audio engineer, Pinnacle Recording and Productions
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.