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Noise violation

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by need4mospd, Jan 23, 2006.


  1. need4mospd

    need4mospd

    Dec 22, 2005
    Houston
    We apparently violated some noise yesterday during our second practice as a full band. We had asked the neighbors beforehand, but apparently we were a little too loud for someone. That's a whole new topic though (in the misc. forum).

    Anyways, we just finished running through a song, and we heard a knock on the garage door. Whoops! The drummer(home owner) went outside to talk with the cops that showed up and we started shutting everything down. Well, before we could do much, the cops came in and asked us to play a song for them because they thought we sounded kickass!

    They even offered us a rehearsal space during the week at some police association building(when none of us can meet), and they talked of letting us rent it out on the weekend if we wanted!

    Just thought I'd share!
     
  2. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    If the neighbors are already calling the cops on your second practice, then I suggest you find elswhere to play. The sound of a full band can carry for blocks in a residential neighborhood. It is understandable that the neighbors might not want to listen to your band practice all day.
     
  3. need4mospd

    need4mospd

    Dec 22, 2005
    Houston
    We asked before if they minded if we practiced 3-4 hours on Sunday afternoon, and no one objected. We thought, as most people would, that meant it was ok to practice there. We are discussing options for sound control, moving locations, or talking to the neighbors to try and work something out again. Either way it's gonna cost alot of money.
     
  4. Skeletomania

    Skeletomania

    Oct 25, 2005
    hong kong
    Or you can invite your neighbors for a gathering. Throw in some drinks and hot dogs and you're set to practice.
     
  5. txbasschik

    txbasschik

    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    Hey, that's pretty awesome! Maybe the cops'll book you to play an event for them?

    Talk to the neighbors again. Maybe there is someone you missed? Find out whether a different time/date might be better.

    Also, find out exactly what the noise laws in your community do and do not allow. In ours, we can play until 10 p.m. unless there are *excessive* calls from residents. One or two people complaining won't bring cops out, but several complaints will.

    Cherie :)
     
  6. Forget it. Even if they are nice about it, the noise I mean, their patience will start to run dry after the fifth rehearsal.

    You need to find a place which you can sound proof well and that will not disturb the neighbours. Hey I'm a musician myself and rehearse four times a week, but I don't want to hear a guitar or bass riff with drums being practiced for two hours at a stretch, even if the band is playing RUSH, or Wooten.
     
  7. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I think you are right about this. While some of the neighbors may be patient for a while, that patience will run thin quickly once the music turns into a regular occurence.

    Right after I got out of college, I lived next door to a group of guys who held their band practice in their home. 4 days a week, for hours at a time. I put up with it for a few weeks, but it got old quickly. I went over there a few times to ask them to turn it down or soundproof the room, but they just didn't care. I ended up filing 11 police reports over a 5 week period and ultimately got them kicked out by their landlord.

    Simply put, it is impolite to expect your neighbors to put up with weekly practice at full volume for an extended period of time. One of my neighbors recently came to my door and asked if we would mind if her son's band practiced in their garage. They were going to practice twice a week, both Saturday and Sunday, for two hours at a time. Their garage is uninsulated and un-air-conditioned, so they intend to practice with the door opened during the summer months. I informed her that while I commended her son's love of music, I couldn't give my consent to band practice thoughout the weekend. She had apparently assumed that I would give my consent and was upset that I said no. She informed me that she didn't need my permission and the band practice would go on as scheduled. Sure enough, the next Saturday the band started up at 10:00. Full volume. The guitarist was playing a half-stack and the bassist was playing through a 4X10 cab. Needless to say, I called the police, who responded in minutes. I filled out and signed the report, as did a number of other neighbors. The police stopped the band and issued the mother a noise violation citation. The band now practices at a warehouse owned by one of the other members father, but the damage is done. This woman now just scowls at the neighbors, and we aren't too fond of her either.
     
  8. need4mospd

    need4mospd

    Dec 22, 2005
    Houston
    I realize we were probably louder than they expected, but I thought it was discourteous to tell someone they can practice, then call the cops on them without saying, "Turn it down please". The cops told us they hate doing noise violation calls because most of them can be solved with a phone call or a knock on the door. I know that is what I would do. If we kept playing loud after they asked us to turn it down, that might give them a valid reason to call the cops.

    Anyways, this wasn't the point of the story, we've got a music studio to practice in now. :) I just found it funny that the cops would just stop by and ask us to play a song for them (at full noise violating volume).

    txbasschik: According to the cops, all it takes it one call to come out. If they come out 3 times, you get a ticket.
     
  9. txbasschik

    txbasschik

    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    <<<txbasschik: According to the cops, all it takes it one call to come out. If they come out 3 times, you get a ticket.
    >>>

    Actually, that depends upon the community and its laws. I guess I'm just lucky. There are a lot of bands in the area...you can hear them practicing all over the hills. Because we are in a very small, well, hamlet, really, no one minds much, and county laws apply. Its only when it gets really loud, or really late into the night, that you get more than one complaint call.

    I think it really is cool of the cops to get interested and want to hear you.

    I've had that happen twice, with my old band. Once at a party...the band before had been VERY loud. By the time we got up, too many complaints had come in about the other band. We had only played one song. The cops let us have two more, because they liked us. Then we moved the jam indoors, keeping to acoustic instruments and quiet singing outdoors, and all was well.

    Second time, we were practicing in our drummer's garage in town. Someone called the cops to have us quit. But when we did, they got a *bunch* of calls to say, "Did someone call the cops on those girls? Tell them we want them to keep playing!" Evidently, the neighborhood had made a Wednesday tradition of sitting on the deck, grilling out with a couple of beers, and listening to the local all-girl band practice. We were happy to resume playing. The cops hung around as long as they could, listening. :)

    Oh! And when we have jam parties, as long as it doesn't get too loud/late, most of our neighbors barbeque and crack a cold one and sit on the porch and listen. We often hear applause coming from across the creek or on the ridge on the other side of the canyon. We get musicians from different genres to come over and jam, so there is variety, and the neighbors just sit back and enjoy.

    Cherie :)
     
  10. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    You will find that many people avoid direct confrontations like that. In many neighborhoods, asking someone to turn down their music just one time can result in retribution for years to come. Sad, but true. I have never hesitated to be direct with noisy neighbors, but you always have to be ready to deal with any future issues.
     
  11. Sad but true. People are less friendly and less "neighborly" than just 20 or 30 years ago in the US, I think. Of course, like you said, someone coming over and asking politely that a band "turn down" could end up getting harassed, having their property damaged in retribution, etc.
     
  12. need4mospd

    need4mospd

    Dec 22, 2005
    Houston
    I could see them getting harassed more by calling the cops. We're 95% sure we know which neighbor it is that complained. If we were punk kids, we could easily go harass, damage, etc... just because.

    Oh well, it makes no differece now, and our new space is much better anyways! It's totally worth the price to have a place you can practice on a week night til 2AM if you want to.
     
  13. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    I don't have a whole lot of faith in noise-control ordinances -- at least not around here -- because the way things shake out are all over the map.

    Our practice space is an insulated garage with like 4" of foam completely covering the garage door for additional sound insulation. It's about a third of the way down one street from the corner. In the last year, the cops have shown up maybe a half-dozen times on calls from the house on the corner lot diagonally across the intersection. In other words, a pretty good ways away.

    A lot of times when I roll up, the guitarist and the drummer (whose home it is) are already set up and playing. I know from that, what we're putting out isn't excessive volume. But if you don't believe me, believe the police: EVERY time they have shown up, they've apologized, said our volume was fine, and they didn't understand why they were called. We're always very friendly with the police and try hard to be sure we're okay, asking what we can/should do to be in compliance, and so on. They always tell us it's not a problem and to not worry about it. Not ONCE have they suggested we turn down.

    In fact on the most recent visit, they sat in the driveway for a while (without us knowing it) to listen... I guess they wanted to see if we had turned down or something. One knocked on the door, went through the apology schtick, and then said we sounded good, he was a former bassist, and we were making him think about getting back into it! Yeah! :) His partner came in a bit after that, we chatted for a while, then they invited us to go back to practicing. They hung around for about a song and a half before giving us smiles and waves and heading out.

    Interesting bit was, we asked them what the neighbor complained about. I knew what was coming: "The bass." We all know bass seeps right through the walls and heads in all directions.

    I was shocked to hear, "The drums." We don't mike our drums, and as I said before, I've been outside when the drummer was playing... its NOT loud.

    I should also mention that we never start before 10AM and we only practice, at the most, three hours at a time. Only thing I can figure is that there have been some conflicts before and the neighbor in question is holding a grudge.

    On the other hand, last year some folks on a side street in my neighborhood decided to have a karaoke party. Outside. In the late Summer. With an amp so loud that the sound was going out across the lake (I live across the street from the lakeshore), bouncing off the houses on the other side of the lake, echoing BACK across the lake, and coming in my front windows at a still-obnoxiously-loud level.

    It wasn't too bad in the early afternoon, but as the day wore on and the beer flowed freely, the volume got louder, the music selection got worse, and the vocals got more out of tune. Early evening, my neighbor on the other side cranked up a chainsaw (to drown out the karaoke, I figure. :D ) I swear, the karaoke was louder!

    It wasn't bugging me too much because I was inside and I always had the option of closing the windows and kicking on the A/C. But as the hour got late, as a courtesy to neighbors who were afraid of the confrontation, I decided I would call the police if it went on until midnight.

    They missed me calling by only ten freaking minutes.

    Practicing in an intentionally insulated garage during reasonable hours and at an appropriate level is one thing. Blasting off-key karaoke until ten 'til midnight is, in my opinion, a totally different matter. And yet the sheriff (I live in the county) never appeared.

    Although that was probably because everyone within earshot was at the party and too drunk to care. Excluding your friendly neighborhood old-fart bass player... and the guy with the chainsaw. :p

    I figure around that time this Summer I'll go over and ask 'em if they would rather have live music this year. Hey, we already know the law won't show up...:D

    Bottom line, I think, is definitely consider the circumstances. Every case is different. Try to keep people happy, but keep in mind the folks you most benefit from keeping happy are the local law enforcement personnel. ;)

    'rick
     
  14. Up here in Ithaca, they've been trying to pass an ordinance stating that the police can ticket for noise violations even if nobody's complained. In a city where the population more than doubles when college is in session, this could be a very bad thing. That being said, we musn't be too bad, because the whole neighborhood can definitely hear us practice.
     
  15. Dkerwood

    Dkerwood

    Aug 5, 2005
    Midwest
    I went to city hall a year and a half ago because I was planning to throw my sister a Sweet 16 party with a band. I talked directly to the police chief about a noise permit. Apparently, in my town, anything that can be heard 500 feet away is potentially in violation of noise ordinance, and there's no such thing as a noise permit.

    If not for the fact that our police chief is rather catty, I'd be calling all the time to get him to enforce that ridiculous law.

    "Yes, police? Somebody down the street is mowing their lawn and I can hear it. Can you go ask them to stop?"

    "Hello, police? I can hear the announcer at the high school football game, and it's quite annoying. Yes, it's several blocks away. Can you go ask them to turn the PA down?"

    "Yes, police? The neighbor kid is installing a stereo and I can hear it. I marked it off... 503 feet to my front door. I want him arrested!"

    Puh-lease...
     
  16. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    My band just had a (slightly more professional) recoding session in my living room last night until 11:30pm. We got really loud. My living room is also at the front corner of my house, there are only simple glass panes between us and the neighborhood. I was scared of the possibility of someone calling the cops, but luckily no cops. We've done this many times but never past 11:00. Tonight we are doing it again, except we will have a 5th player (trumpet).
     
  17. txbasschik

    txbasschik

    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    <<<"Yes, police? Somebody down the street is mowing their lawn and I can hear it. Can you go ask them to stop?"

    "Hello, police? I can hear the announcer at the high school football game, and it's quite annoying. Yes, it's several blocks away. Can you go ask them to turn the PA down?"

    "Yes, police? The neighbor kid is installing a stereo and I can hear it. I marked it off... 503 feet to my front door. I want him arrested!"
    >>>

    AMEN!!! Why is my music a bother, but the guy across the street using a *chain saw* at 11 p.m. is ok?

    Cherie
     
  18. whitedk57

    whitedk57

    May 5, 2005
    Franklin, NC
    Is there a way for the band as a whole to turn down the volume. Maybe start with the drummer - build a shield around the drum kit. A cardboard box might work. Make him get some of those rings that kinda muffle the sound. Then, everybody else can bring down their amps.

    Not everything has to be nosebleed volume (IMHO).
     
  19. txbasschik

    txbasschik

    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    <<<Not everything has to be nosebleed volume (IMHO).>>>

    Thing is, people complain about music, period, "nosebleed" volume or not. We have some religious fundamentalists up the street who just *loathe* us. They won't let their kids play with mine. Why? Because we play rock music. They are the only ones who complain. Not because it is loud, but because they can hear us, and they believe we are Of The Devil. We are not especially loud...just ask the folks next door. We are not Satanic. No...these people make it an issue because of their religion.

    And some people just do not want to hear any music but the stuff they like. They complain because they don't want to hear it, period.

    My view? Tough. I have to hear *their* music when they put on the stereo. I have to hear *their* lawn equipment at Dawn's Crack when I've had a gig the night before. I am awakened by their dog, who barks at all hours. I am awakened by their very-loud pickup. I don't complain, so I don't really care what they have to say.

    Cherie
     
  20. whitedk57

    whitedk57

    May 5, 2005
    Franklin, NC
    I hate to hear about religious people doing that. I run the sound at my church, and I dig all kinds of music. When I got saved (or "got religion" as some would say) I trashed a bunch of music. Some I am glad that I trashed just because I no longer agreed with the message of the lyrics or liked what the band stood for. Some of the music I am sad to have let go. In my haste I let go of music that was not spiritually harmful to me.

    I grew up hearing my Mom and Dad preach about the sin of Rock music. They believed some quack years ago who said the off-beat music was satanic. Now, I don't want to bash my Mom's view, but I tend to disagree with her. She can't even stand some of the Christian artists that I like to play.

    If I was in your neighborhood, I probably would meander over to your crib whilst you were playing that evil music, and... probably enjoy the heck out it.

    Rock On!