“A neighbor asked us to stop practicing because the bass was hurting her daughter’s face,” says Manic Diffusion guitarist Eliot Bourk. “We practice at our bassist’s house in Barrio Cardiff, right near the I-5 freeway off Santa Fe Drive, and we’ve never had any noise complaints before. Between the drone of the freeway, the omnipresent oompa of ranchera music from passing cars, and the 13 chihuahuas barking in the backyard next door, no one seems to mind or notice a rock-and-roll band.”
Bourk says that they were surprised when a woman knocked on the door during practice to announce that the music could be heard across the street. “This got us worried. Here we are in a residential neighborhood, saving rent by playing in the house instead of a lockout studio, enjoying all the accompanying amenities — bathroom, kitchen, full-size fridge...did I mention no rent? So, we’re thinking our little honeymoon is over. If people can really hear us, and they’re starting to complain, soon we’ll have the cops here, we’ll have to shut down and find a studio to rent or risk getting cited and possibly getting our gear impounded.”
However, the neighbor’s problem wasn’t about volume. “Her daughter just had reconstructive surgery to wire her face back together after it was injured in an accident. The bass frequencies from our band practice were literally rocking her face, vibrating the bones against each other and causing her intense pain with every beat. She tried taking some extra painkillers, but the music was still really hurting her face. So the mom asked if we could just call it an early night this time.
“Given the nature of the circumstances,” says Bourk, “we were happy to oblige.”