Residence. Mt Druitt, NSW, Australia. 1992
uring rehearsal, the drummer noticed something odd near the corner of the studio
and said, "What's that?" and was suddenly hit with a stream of water
to the face - from a hose poking through our garage wall!
Musicians living in neighborhoods made for non-Musicians, we're all familiar with
the phrase: "Turn down that damn noise!" It's de rigeur for any
self-respecting Neighbor to bellow this phrase at least once monthly if living
next door to Musicians. But these are two tales of Neighbors who went above and
beyond simple stentorian entreaties.
- these were Neighbors Gone Wild.
first episode took place in our insulated studio garage, at our Band Residence
in Mt. Druitt, a family neighborhood bordering on lower class (read as 'white
trash'). It was only 7:00 pm. Nonetheless, somewhere out there a camel's back
was being broken and the usually lusterless, lounge-potatoed neighbors were actually
driven to smashing a hole in the garage wall during the band noise and sticking
a hose through - with the intent to deluge us!
Can't live next door to 'em; can't kill 'em.
did they hope to achieve? - the complete cessation of loud music by hosing
us down? We called the cops. Someone was going to pay for busting this
hole in our wall. We didn't even know that Neighbor's name, in the house two doors
down from us, whose harridan wife put on her best fishwife shrieking as the cops
arrested him - for destruction of property and - oh! Irony! - for DISTURBING THE
Residence. Hollywood, CA, USA. 1992 11:00 pm: The
drummer made a thumping noise as he leapt onto his bed in a not-too-shabby half-swan.
Twenty seconds later, a violent banging on our apartment door. It was the Neighbor
from downstairs, Daniel (6'1", 280lbs, forties, long, jet-black, brillo-pad
hair, owned a vicious doberman and a mangy alsatian and - the scariest part -
he was a christian; not the type that was born only once - that's not good enough
for these wackos - they've got to be born 'again'), in a vein-busting scream,
"Cut out the bullshit - or something's going to be done about it!"
three of us decided right there to kick his jesus-lovin' head in, and we planned
for the drummer to rush him through the front door and the bassist and myself
charging him from the side door. As soon as we opened the doors in unison and
piled out, we came face to face with the second amendment: Daniel, with mangy
alsatian on leash, in cowboy hat, black tank top, army pants, heavy black boots
- and to finesse this ensemble, a full bullet-belt around his waist, holstering
a Make-My-Day .44 magnum!
He obviously subscribed to the credo: "Neighbors!
Can't live next door to 'em; CAN kill 'em".
had just moved from Australia to The States and secured this apartment dump on
Whitley Avenue, directly north of that slum, Hollywood Boulevard: shouts and screams
from every other apartment; shots fired out in the street; slamming doors, breaking
glass; the doughy Filipino security guard chasing someone across the backyard;
urine streams from the balconies above ours; sirens wailing; hip-hop, metal and
mexican music - after that first half hour, things got even worse.
neighbors were ALL kookoo, so we slotted in seamlessly: there was Shane the Actor,
waiting tables and lifting girly-weights with a weight-belt on, there was the
stripper who was dating Ron Jeremy, there were street-walkers and cross-dressers
and Wanna-bes and Use-ta-bes - playing loud music was the least of our worries;
this burnt-out, bum-infested, urine-smelling suburb brought a literal meaning
to the phrase Staying Alive.
lived directly below us - and now he was flaunting his right to bear arms directly
in front of us. The question now was: Did We Feel Lucky? No - we poker-faced and
let him rant, although the bassist saw fit to call him "paranoid" to
his face. (Now is it really such an insult to call an already-paranoid person
paranoid? Ultimately, the bassist was just identifying Daniel's present condition
- offering a gratis medical diagnosis, as it were.)
didn't brandish the gun or even un-holster it - but he was sending an unambiguous
message: It was like a penis placed on a table at a dinner party for the Queen
- you couldn't NOT notice it.
eventually ranted his way back downstairs without a dramatic shootout and we immediately
called the police. Mention the word "gun" and even in the toilet districts
of Hollywood, the cops drop their donuts and respond. The black-and-whites cruised
in silently and darkly, cordoning off the street like an episode of CSI: Miami.
From outside, we watched the spectacle unfold, as they pulled those classic
movie maneuvers of hiding behind parked cars for cover and sneaking up on the
building like Tango & Cash.
brought Daniel out handcuffed, weeping, screaming at him close range, one cop
holding the magnum between thumb and forefinger like a smelly sock.
manager thanked us, the security guard thanked us, other tenants thanked us -
apparently, unbeknownst to us, the other Neighbors were regularly terrorized
by Daniel's "patrolling" of the building with his dogs, so were eternally
grateful to us for putting him in his place. Well, a man's got to know his
hauled him away to a holding cell that night. So much for the Right To Bear Arms
now for the ever-popular Ominous Final Shot: A week later, Daniel abandoned the
building. The only evidence of his passing were the windows of his evacuated apartment,
facing the garden - wall-papered full of pictures of his devil-doberman - facing