Musicians have always evoked their neighbours’ envy. Their thumping sounds and screeching vocals at odd hours have shaken many out of their slumbers. And the worst hit are next-door residents. The latest to jump the bandwagon is pop queen Madonna. The 50-plus singer recently ‘heard’ from her New York neighbour, Karen George. The lady didn’t drop by to invite Madge over for supper, but has filed a lawsuit against her in the Manhattan Supreme Court. The charges: heavy “noise”. While the superstar has her neighbour “disturbed by a lot of amplified music and vibrations pouring through walls, ceilings and radiators”, city-based musicians have faced the wrath of locals too. Recounting a “horrendous incident”, Nikhil Rufus
Raj of rock band The Superfuzz, says, “It used to happen a lot to us when we started out as a band. Once, while we were rehearsing at a friend’s bungalow, the neighbours called the cops and lodged an FIR against us. Before we knew, three cops marched down to our place and started confiscating our equipment. The owner of the place had to bail us out.” Raj has company in Ankit Kumar, vocalist of Under Siege, another Delhi-based rock outfit. “We once shooed away a kid who entered the basement we were jamming in. Within minutes, a battalion of guys armed with metallic rods dropped in to beat us black and blue,” he recalls with a laugh.
But all thanks to jamming rooms available on rent now, musicians are finally heaving a sigh of relief. Brin Desai of the group East India Company, who doesn’t ‘face the music’ as often, thinks rented studios work best for artists. He’s also of the opinion that “the urban class has zero tolerance”. “It’s the middle class that respects your work,” he says.