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Have you ever been shut down due to noise complaints?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by TexasHeat, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. Based in Nashville and did shows all across the deep south.

  2. TexasHeat


    Jun 6, 2015
    Pretty good tune there. :)
    Scarysharkface likes this.
  3. zon5string

    zon5string Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    Happened all the time when I was a kid. We knew the routine: Cops would show up "You guys need to turn down." "OK". Turn down. Or not... Cops would return "You guys have been warned. You need to stop." "OK". We don't stop....play 3 more and start breaking down for when the cops return again. Never got a ticket or had gear confiscated.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  4. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    That was cool, I just had a potent flashback.
    Scarysharkface likes this.
  5. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    Never for a noise complaint, but we did get shut down for playing well past the cut-off time for outdoor events. The local ordinance stated that outdoor music events must wrap it up at 11 p.m. Here we were at 1:45 a.m. still crankin'.

    Of course the police eventually show up---one of them makes a bee-line for my side of the stage and motions me over.....I went over, ready to get an earfull, but instead he asks me, "Do you guys know any Stevie Ray?" Baffled, I told him that we did, and he responds, " OK. You guys play a couple Stevie Ray tunes, and then you gotta pack it up!"
    Mr_Moo, jeffbrown and Splash7 like this.
  6. Plain Old Barry

    Plain Old Barry Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2018
    Once upon a time there was a band in my area where all the members were in law enforcement. They were called "Roadside Justice". That sounds like one of them... :laugh:
    ONYX likes this.
  7. Back when I was in a couple gigging bands, I guess we should have, but never did.... I always wondered what we were doing wrong! There was this one time at a homecoming/frat party at Dartmouth College in the mid '70s.... I think my ears are still ringing from that one. :roflmao::woot::bassist::hyper:
    red_rhino and Plain Old Barry like this.
  8. Giffro


    Apr 29, 2017
    South Australia
    I told you not to do that Officer...
    Giffs Peavey Amp Mascot.jpg
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    A buddy of mine threw a karaoke party for his blind / autistic daughter's 10th birthday...on a Saturday afternoon competing with leaf blowers, etc. Upon learning the circumstances, the police simply turned around and left.

    Timmy Liam and Mr_Moo like this.
  10. whodom


    Mar 3, 2006
    Salters, SC
    Been shut down quite a few times. We used to play once or twice a year at a “boat club” in a fairly secluded area outside of town on a small river. Unfortunately there were some big houses across the river and the owners would almost invariably call the cops on us if we played past 11 PM. We eventually got where we didn’t feel like we’d played a gig if the cops didn’t show up.

    Best “too loud” story we ever had: we had a one-time gig at an outdoor yearly Halloween carnival at a nearby small town. We were to alternate sets (2 each) with another band. Part of the carnival included a haunted hayride during which the riders were confronted by guys in hockey masks wielding chainsaws (chains removed for safety). The guitarist had a ~30 watt Mesa Boogie combo, and I was playing through an SWR Workingman’s 15 combo with an extension cab which was only 180 watts IIRC, but we did have a big PA, so we did tend to get loud. At the start of our second set, they sent someone to get us to turn down because “the hayride passengers couldn’t hear the chainsaws.” :)
    Mr_Moo and Splash7 like this.
  11. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    A locally infamous series of events happened in the small town in Wisconsin where I lived in the 90s.

    The place has about 400 permanent residents but swells to about 4,000 in the summer because of tourism. The locals depend on them for money, so the bars have live bands play as often as possible.

    One year, a new resident transplant from out of state moved in to the house right next door to the loudest bar in town. He frequently called the police to complain about the noise but the local noise ordinance specifically accommodated live music because the town board knew how important entertainment was to the local ecoomy. They told him to learn to accept that Friday and Saturday nights from 8pm to 1am will be loud. They reminded him tthat he chose to move in to the house 50 feet away from the stage.

    A year later the guy ran for the elected office of town chairman. Nobody ever wanted to do that unpaid job so the guy who had been doing it for years out of civic duty took his name off the ballot and the new guy won unopposed.

    One of the first things he did was change the noise ordinance (with the help of a few of his buddies on the town board). It was a violation to have amplified music (or any other continuous noiset) that exceeded some ridiculously low dB reading on an SPL meter reading from the street.

    So every time some band played in one of the 3 bars on his block, he called the cops and they were forced to shut down the music. They couldn't even turn down because the SPL in the ordinance was so low that a small portable radio playing music at modest volume would be too loud.

    This triggered a virtual war of noise complaints. He and his buddies all owned businesses of some sort in town, so the locals started calling the cops on them for noise violations in retaliation. They got citations every time their businesses had noise leakages. One of them ran a sidewalk cafe, which meant that the customers' conversations were too loud because the ordinance measured SPL from the street - about 8 feet away from the diners' tables. He tried to remedy the problem by putting up signs asking his patrons to please "speak quietly" while dining. That didn't go over too well.

    The chairman started petitioning the town to support a "revised" ordinace that was effectively the same but would exempt his and his friends businesses

    It all came to a head at the next town meeting when half the town angrily showed up to compell the town chairman and board to go back to the original noise ordinance.

    The guy was stubborn and argued to have it his way. He tried to baffle the townspeople with a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo about "sound pressure levels" and "free air propogation" and other terms he assumed the local rubes wouldn't understand.

    Big mistake. One of my friends was a well respected long term resident and he studied acoustic science at university. We were classmates at NIU a few years earlier and both of us had a good working knowledge of acoustic physics and sound technology.

    It was fun to watch my friend take this guy apart and reveal him to be nothing but an ignorant loudmouth. After being publicly humiliated, the guy caved in and the ordinance was changed back at the earliest opportunity.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
    Mr_Moo, jeffbrown and Splash7 like this.
  12. Splash7

    Splash7 The Determined Bass Player Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2019
    Mid to late 60's my older brother was in a local band that played various family parties and other teen events. They spent a lot of time at our house practicing because my parents were cool and figured loud music was better for them than getting into trouble. After high school graduation the band members went their separate ways to college or jobs, except the bass player, who went to Viet Nam. He did a couple of tours there and was discharged and headed home. My parents put on a "Welcome Home Alive" party for him and all of the band members came back into town early to practice with him so they could perform just like old times. We had gotten new next door neighbors from the "big city" during that time who were pretty standoffish. Not real friendly.

    All of a sudden, the new neighbors realized that there was a loud party next door with about a 100 young people congregated all over the back yard and cars lining the whole street and lots of loud noise. Didn't even bother to walk on over and ask for the music to be turned down. Called the police straight a way to complain. The chief of police, who's son was the drummer, took the call from the dispatcher. After listening to their complaining, he told them the purpose for the party, and said they would need to like it or lump it, because there was no way he was stopping that party.

    The chief of police really liked my parents. Probably because his son got to play drums so much at our house instead of his. :laugh: New neighbors never did get friendly.
    Mr_Moo and jeffbrown like this.
  13. I have been in a lot of bands that have been warned and shut down for being too loud. An early and funny experience....

    1970s, south Florida, high school band. We practiced 2-3 afternoons a week in one guitarist's garage. After a few weeks we got a bit better than awful so some neighborhood kids would sit on the driveway and listen. Occasionally girls would dance. "Some kids" grew to maybe 15-20 kids, and of course 15 or so kids and loud music means "dope party" to small town folks back then.

    One afternoon 4 cop cars show up. Cops tell the kids on the driveway to leave. Guitarist's mom sees the cop cars comes out and asks the cops if she ca help them. Cops tell he that we (the band) are all under arrest for disturbing the peace and having a "dope party." She screams at the cops as they tell us to get in the cars. While we are driven to the police station she calls our parents, who show up soon afterwards.

    We were put in some office, and we see our parents come in, my Italian mother running around waving her arms and yelling at the cops "There's robberies and break ins all over the place and you arrest kids for playing music and keeping a bunch of other kids out of trouble!" Other guys' parents yelling, and then the bassists' lawyer dad comes in and introduces himself as our lawyer. He is brought into the police chief's office and a few minutes later a cop comes to get us, brings us into the cop break room and says we can have anything we want from the vending machines as he unlocks the machines. While we are gorging ourselves on candy and sodas "our lawyer" comes in and says that Officer XXXX has something to say to us. The officer apologizes, explains that they were told it was a "dope party," tears up the arrest paperwork in front of us and that we can enjoy as much of the candy and soda as we want.

    I remember grabbing a couple more packs of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups on the way out.
    PaulS, delta7fred, Mr_Moo and 3 others like this.
  14. tubedude

    tubedude Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2015
    In our gang it was Joe's mom, a fiery Irish woman that took no gruff from small town cops with nothing to do but harass us kids. She took a strip off of whatever cop was dumb enough to earn her wrath. God bless her.
    Mr_Moo and AudioTaper like this.
  15. AudioTaper

    AudioTaper Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2018
    This is a seriously awesome story. I would have loved to hear the conversation between your lawyer and the chief.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  16. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Nope. Volume, and satisfying the customer, has always been important to me (even when they are unreasonable).
  17. jjk2007

    jjk2007 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Some good stuff in here. Had some garage jams that got shut down.....played at a wedding venue that was right next to a senior living center.....that became an acoustic gig quickly.....but my favorite of all time.....

    On 4th of July in my little old sleepy hometown of Temecula, CA. For 3 years in a row right around the late 90’s headed into the 2000’s we would haul my buddies 100 watt Marshall head and pair of 4X12 Marshall cabs onto his roof. He would then dime it and play a moving rendition of the star spangled.....right at midnight. About as soon as he finished we would strike the roof and stash the gear. All 3 years about 60 seconds after we stashed the gear and plopped down in our lawn chairs we’d have the police slowly working through. We’d usually wave and one of us would point one way and the other person would point the opposite direction. Those were fun times indeed!!
    jeffbrown, AudioTaper, Mr_Moo and 2 others like this.
  18. dadglasser


    Oct 11, 2009
    This is nothing to do with being shut down, which has never happened to me, but... Somewhere around 1968 or so, one of my younger brothers and I each got $5.00 from our mom for some small service we had done for her. We walked over to the local K-mart and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were on sale. We decided we would each spend our new-found wealth on all the Reese's we could afford, hurried home, and ate them all. I can't remember how many we had other than it was way too many. I do remember being quite ill later on in the afternoon and evening.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  19. Epic? Do you work for the FBI?

    Here is why I ask. We were told that because the paperwork was torn up the arrests were expunged and we had never been arrested.

    Some 30 years later I am going to be interviewed for a Federal job. I was told that the worst thing I could do would be to lie or try to cover up or obfuscate. So when asked "Have you ever been arrested?" I replied 'yes' and then had to explain the circumstances. I told the whole story, including my 5'3 mother so angry that she switched from yelling in English to yelling and cursing in Italian and invoking the names of saints, the great candy and soda gorge and all.

    Both agents were laughing by the time I was finished with the story and one said "That's epic! Do you still play? You should write a song about this."

    The really strange irony here is that our candy & soda binge was the closest we ever came to a "dope party.' We were all really straight church kids. The singer and I played at the Catholic 5:30 Folk Mass every Sunday, the bassist was active in the Luther League and a church musician and the other guitar player's family were strict Methodists so they did not drink, and his father was a dentist so the did not have much candy or any soda in their house. Our cop-sponsored sugar and soda binge was the closest we came to any rock & roll excess.
    Timmy Liam, Mr_Moo, ak56 and 2 others like this.
  20. frnjplayer


    Feb 3, 2014
    The venue was an outdoor house party. The property was on 10 acres of undevelopable property that was bordered on 3 sides by the town. We had informed the local police that this event wasgoing to happen and invited them to make regular stops if they were so inclined. Live music started at 6:00 and a couple of young cops started to make regular stops and gave us a running score on how far away the noise complaints were coming from. Midnight arrives and they wander in and get the 100 odd people to be quiet while they report in to the station and say that everything is shut down and under control. After that we honored their request and played thdm a couple Stones songs to finish the musical portion of the evening. Cops leave, PA is torn down and packed away while the crowd chills out and settles in around a couple of campfires while a small boombox on the former stage plays some Bob Marley. Around 2AM the cops show up again, this time accompanied by the supervisor of the night shift. The Super talked to the evening's organizer saying that complaints are still coming in and had some choice words about certain citizens whining for no reason. The cops that had been in and out all wvening gave us a very nice thank you for making them look good.
    delta7fred and Mr_Moo like this.
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