512 Rage Room offers unconventional stress relief

Hannah Heckman

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. At 512 Rage Room, that trash becomes another man’s therapy.

From smashing cars with a sledgehammer to throwing axes at painted targets, 512 Rage Room is a safe and social space for destructive behavior. 

“I would say over 99% of our customers don’t have any visible anger or rage,” owner Damon Fogley said. “They’re just here to have a good time.”

As a veteran, former paramedic and business owner, Fogley is no stranger to innovation. His entrepreneurial ventures began with JDog Junk Removal & Hauling, a veteran-run disposal service, which led to the creation of the 512 Rage Room in April 2019. 

After visiting other rage rooms in Texas and Las Vegas, Fogley said he built 512 based on what the others lacked, specifically windows.

“A lot of them don’t have windows, so I planned a very open layout with space to watch while you’re waiting,” Fogley said.

Some of the junk, Fogley said, is supplied by his junk removal service. Instead of taking the trash to the landfill, Fogley has profited off of it. 

“It’s really not rocket science,” Fogley said. “We tear stuff apart, salvage what we can and repurpose it.” 

Most of the 512 Rage Room’s idiosyncratic interior consists of repurposed material. The front desk is made from an old bus found in New Braunfels and the counter from a surfboard. 

“We’re saving the environment while also creating a social space where people can come and have fun,” Fogley said.

While the majority of the Rage Room’s customers are just there for a good time, Fogley has faced some altercations surrounding the idea of “destruction therapy.”

“I’ve gotten some hate emails,” Fogley said. “Some people believe that this contributes to violence, which is totally not the case.”

Fogley said the psychological benefits of raging lie within its physicality and instant gratification. He also said raging satisfies three of the five senses: the sensation of the sledgehammer coming down on an old computer, the sound of beer bottles smashing against the wall and the rewarding sight of the shrapnel covered floor at the end of the session. 

“I think it could be more therapeutic than talking to a counselor or even doing yoga,” Fogley said.

Anger management specialist Bernard Golden said rage rooms provide a quick fix but provide “no insight into the wounds or inner pain that can make us vulnerable to anger arousal.”

Regardless, many customers appear to agree with Fogley’s philosophy. Bianca Delmar, owner of ATX FYI, a brand dedicated to finding Austin’s hottest spots, strongly endorses 512 Rage Room. She said it’s an especially great location for date night or even a large party.

“After the session, I felt invigorated,”  Delmar said. “I had the opportunity to smash a truck window. That felt incredible. It was absolutely a stress reliever.”

Delmar isn’t the only 512 Rage Room patron who left with a sense of relief. As an employee, Trace Grossman said his favorite part about his job is seeing how peoples’ attitudes change after experiencing the rage room. 

“You can see that a weight has been lifted from their shoulders, they’re less stressed and more open,” Grossman said.