Ever had the cops called on you for drumming?

Only once when I was still very young.

I had a kit set up in my parent's apartment and the neighbors downstairs decided to call the cops on us instead of just asking me to stop. Either way, the police came by and having never seen or heard a real drum kit before, asked me to play a beat for them and proceeded to tell me to "never play the drums again at this time (4pm)."

We had a conversation with the neighbors who made the complaint and found out that they were incredibly lovely people who had actually just brought a newborn into the world, hence the annoyance. We came to an agreement on some sort of drumming curfew and they were very nice about my playing as well, but I chose to not play the drums during that time just out of respect and possibly out of fear that the police might pay me a visit again!
 

RockNGrohl

Senior Member
Here is story about my seaside town. A local guy bought a bar that had just closed up shop. He wanted to be a brewer and brews in the bar. The new bar he opened up is real nice place. The building was one of the old main street pharmacies. It has gold leaf window signs, wooden wainscoting, tin tiles on ceiling and beautiful woodwork. A very "Cheers" friendly vibe in look and in feel. Me and my friends and our bands play there often. We al attend the local open mic night and trivia nights. About a year or so before it opened a woman opened up a rather snooty high end clothing boutique next door. She owns the whole building her store is in and lives upstairs in an apartment two buildings over. Dan, the new bar owner, owns his building and lives upstairs over his bar.

As soon as he opened and had live music there was sound complaints. At the open mic night I like to attend there she used to peek her head through the window every Tuesday night right on cue, see if there was music being played and routinely call the cops. One night while the emcee was playing an acoustic ballad, a cop walked in, did a double take, and said "Um, er..you'll have to keep it down.. " This is as quiet as we could get it and he kept explaining that she could hear it in her opposite corner apartment a whole building over and had complained. Really?!? Then it got worse. This woman filed complaints about the cigarette butts on the sidewalk, noise outside the bar, people "urinating" in front of the bar on the sidewalk, and everything else she could get mad about. He used to take his leftover water from brewing out a back door and dump it down a grungy gutter drain. A friend of the woman said her little "poofy" dog walked through it, so he now has to pay big bucks to have it hauled away to facility. Now I frequent the bar as a musician who plays there. The bar is as nice as i've described. The house brewed beer is amazing. The place is clean, not seedy or excessively noisy. He put a cigarette can outside and people use it. People made sure to be quiet leaving the front of the bar, even though all up and down main street everyone else is a noisy as could be exiting other restaurants and bars. Even the wine bars. No one has ever urinated in the street. We stand out here to get fresh iar during breaks. But he faced city council and had his entertainment license removed. He almost lost his liquor license too, but it was saved since the other violations could not be proved. And all the Maine newspapers wrote about his "violations" giving him bad press. Long story short he got his ent. license back as long as his staff decimal checks the noise. Guys in their tall redneck-y pickup trucks sometimes roar down main street and set it off.. lol.. they also have a summer street fair and close the street off for the Blues festival. Bands play in all the bars and restaurants and play all up and down right on the street. So they decided the woman might have been harassing him unfairly. Some folks in town know the woman who owns the shop. They think she wanted the old bar to close up (the owners decided to retire) and never re-open as another bar and did all she could to close the new one. My town had a reputation as rough fishing village. Main street was all boarded up and there were very seedy bars throughout town. It was dangerous and drugs were bought and sold. In the nineties things started to change. By now its gentrified and is all art galleries, wine bars, and gelato parlors that cater to summer tourists. The next towns over have already become tourist towns and have strict noise ordinances so they have no live music at all except light jazz during the day at some of the nicer resturants seaside.. The bar we like is a nice one but it feels like the snooty new business owners still want it out. We love playing it but for a awhile we had to be quieter. It sucked. Now we can a bit louder, but still. He is the only bar in town that has to do this. There are other older bars at the end of the street that have been there forever and have bands that play so loud you can hear the music all the way down the street. She never complains about them. And even the new wine bars have noisy customers! But they must her friends. Oh, well. The crazy lady now summers elsewhere part of the year. The bar pays real nice though so we'll all keep rocking there. Besides I never really see many customers in her shop even though she has nice stuff in there. Maybe she won't be there for longer. I don't know.
 
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alparrott

Platinum Member
Just once. I was practicing to land a gig, then practicing to learn two albums of material plus miscellaneous covers prior to my first gig with this band. Despite my normal MO of going around to all the neighbors and explaining my deal, handing out my phone number, etc., my neighbor's live-in girlfriend called the cops. When I explained that I had given her boyfriend my number and asked any neighbor to call me if they had any issues, they went next door and it was quickly resolved.

I have since moved to a new neighborhood where no neighbor has ever complained, and I'm good friends with most of the HOA board of directors. But I never play before 11AM or after 5PM, and I communicate with all of my neighbors regularly.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I have a couple of times. And they were fairly recently, too. Somehow I made it nearly forty years without a complaint, and then suddenly in one year I became a nuisance.

It's embarrassing. Neighbors came over afterward asking if I'd been arrested or if someone broke into my house. No one could believe it was over my drumming, which I had been doing for the whole eighteen years I lived there. Most people knew me and said they enjoyed it, and I was always conscientious about the times I played. Neighbor kids used to come over and play my kit and make music in our living room.

The cops were pretty cool about it, although they were a little frustrated because I couldn't hear them knocking. It took awhile before they got my attention. The last time, I told the deputy that I had checked the noise ordinances and I wasn't breaking any. Further, I mentioned that from outside the house my drums were quieter than a lawnmower. He agreed, but said if someone complained again he would still be compelled to give me a ticket for disturbing the peace, and then I could talk it out with the judge. He said I may well win, but you never know.

It turns out one neighbor had a new renter, and he convinced her to call the cops. When I asked her why she didn't just talk to me, she started bawling and said she was sorry. We'd known each other for years. I shoveled the snow off her driveway literally DAYS before she called the second time, and she didn't say a word to me about the noise bothering her. People are weird.

Eventually I sold the house anyway as part of a divorce settlement, and now I live in an apartment so practicing the kit at home is out of the question.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Yep, when I lived in the city my band would come around to practice on Thursday nights in my tiny little apartment. I was playing my electric kit through an amp, but the guitarist kept turning up, so inevitably the rest of us would. One night after practice we went out for a steak, when I came back my neighbour told me the cops knocked on the door... good thing we weren't there.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
Only the style police, but that has more to do with the loudness of my trousers, not my drumming.

My drumming, by contrast is restrained, subdued and understated. (If you have neither groove nor chops, you find the positive attributes you can!)
 

Ekim

Silver Member
Yeah, at least once when I lived with my parents. People are jerks.

Sometimes I am surprised when I play my guitar late that no one ever calls the cops. But I suspect my neighbors are illegal aliens and are too scared to call.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Yup, sure have.

I was practicing at a friend's house who was in a mobile home with very thin walls. Cop showed up...even ran everyone's tags while he was there.

Fun times.
 

Acidline303

Senior Member
When I was maybe 14, my parents (who were only in their late 30s) decided the apex of their American dream was to build the family a house located in a small affluent town whose only business was a golf resort. Needless to say we had plenty of super crotchety elderly neighbors to anger by simply existing as hoodlum kids riding their bikes around drinking 32oz fountain Cokes.

One guy in particular, in his late 70s or maybe 80s, lived 3 houses down came pounding on the garage door while I was practicing one day at maybe 2PM. He parked all crooked and aggressively in our driveway and was hunched over in his Titleist gear and taking deep breaths with a red face when the door rose up and he goes

"EVERYTIME I come back to MY HOUSE and get OUT OF MY CAR I can HEAR YOU BANGING those THINGS like some FU&*ING INDIAN!!!"

He points his finger at me and finishes "Shut it DOWN or I'll call THE COPS!"

Maybe one of my best or worst moments, depending on your slant.

I go " HEY I didnt know I was being so loud, you can hear the drums when you get out of your car?"

He says "YES!"

"Why don't you go inside your house then?"

He lost it

Both town cop cruisers were there in maybe 3 minutes flat, parking in a manner that I think SWAT teams might be instructed to do that blocked off the road to anyone trying to pass by. These guys loved harassing me as it was. Stuff like pulling me over like a real traffic stop (on my BICYCLE) every time they passed me on the roads to lecture me on how the 6 foot markers on the roads were for Golf Cart riding patrons ONLY.

They listened to the old man scream and yell for a couple minutes and wrote my parents a $50 ticket without even giving a warning. I remember my dad wasn't even that upset with me about the ticket, he was just glad I nearly gave the guy a stroke. I guess a bunch of people on the block had their own problems with this guy calling the cops on them for things like grass being an inch too high, or palm tree branches covering the address markers on the houses.

I actually had to move my drums to my guitarists house for about a year until that old bastard guy died, then I brought the entire band back with me.
 
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TheElectricCompany

Senior Member
I've lived in four different houses and never had the cops called on me for playing the drums, but my band in high school did have the cops called on us a handful of times. The cops would show up and tell us there had been a noise complaint but that we didn't need to stop. A lot of times they'd listen to a song or two. There were even a couple times we'd set up in the driveway and play, and the times the cops showed up to those "performances" they'd still just tell us to keep it up and then be on their way.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Kind of, but not in my home!

I was driving from a family event with my mother and grandmother in the car, and I got pulled over for drifting in and out of my lane. The police officer thought I was drunk, but my mom and grandma confirmed the real cause of the problem: I was drumming along to the radio on my steering wheel.

He still made me pass a sobriety test, but everything turned out okay.
 

hippy chip

Silver Member
Never---I have lived in my house longer than all but one of my neighbors, and as new people have moved in I have been very upfront about the fact that I play music. My house is concrete block/slab, and my recording studio has acoustic foam on the windows, and the door to the house, heavy padded carpet on the floor, and bass traps in the corners. You can barely hear the drums at the fence! My wife can be in the next room watching TV without being disturbed (too much) My outdoor studio is a big tin roof pole barn on the side of my house with painter's drop-cloths for walls, and a concrete floor. We regularly play until midnight, and occasionally as late as 2 AM. I have never had a complaint, and when my neighbors do come knocking they bring beer (and food if I have the smoker fired up)
 

Fabs

Junior Member
Just once, but not at home, it was at a friend's house. Cop just gave us a warning. We were trying to cover Oye como va, Santana.
 

TheElectricCompany

Senior Member
Never---I have lived in my house longer than all but one of my neighbors, and as new people have moved in I have been very upfront about the fact that I play music. My house is concrete block/slab, and my recording studio has acoustic foam on the windows, and the door to the house, heavy padded carpet on the floor, and bass traps in the corners. You can barely hear the drums at the fence! My wife can be in the next room watching TV without being disturbed (too much) My outdoor studio is a big tin roof pole barn on the side of my house with painter's drop-cloths for walls, and a concrete floor. We regularly play until midnight, and occasionally as late as 2 AM. I have never had a complaint, and when my neighbors do come knocking they bring beer (and food if I have the smoker fired up)
Holy cow. How close are your neighbors?
 

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
I am a reporter as well as drummer, and one day we got a letter at the paper that a guy was playing electronic drums in his house and the cops ended up sending a chopper! Which hovered over his house until he stopped. This is Fairfax County, Virginia, which is practically a police state. The guy was mad about the chopper and said it was excessive, which it clearly was.
 
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