Neighbors Complain East Village Rockers The Virgins Are At It Day and Night

By Serena Solomon and Trevor Kapp  on October 17, 2012 12:49pm

EAST VILLAGE — Downtown rockers The Virgins aren't getting lucky with their neighbors. 

Screeching guitars and pounding drums emanating daily from a Second Avenue apartment where some of the indie-rock quartet live and rehearse is driving some in the area mad.  

''My customers come and say, 'How can you take it all day?'" said Vick Singh, 53, who works at Sam's Deli & Grocery near East Seventh Street.

"When you beat the drum, it pounds."

The band, which is playing the annual CMJ music fest Wednesday night with a show in Brooklyn, has appeared on late-night talk shows ranging from David Letterman to Conan O'Brien, and has opened for such legendary acts as Patti Smith, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. 

While their music has earned praise from fans and critics alike, their neighbors are apparently fed up with the noise.

A resident who lives across the street from the apartment complained to police that the group's three-hour daily afternoon jam sessions need silencing.

"I think they are so full of themselves they keep their window open," said the resident, who declined to provide her name, at a meeting of the Ninth Precinct Community Council Tuesday night.

Though she admitted that the band's sound is polished, the 25-year resident of the block said the regular racket has been going for three weeks straight.

"A guy across from them has a little girl. She can't sleep because he plays that one guitar," she complained to cops. "They are terrific, but we don't want to hear them."

Attempts to contact the band members at their apartment Wednesday were unsuccessful, though their manager Ben Goldstein said the space provides a more comfortable and relaxing venue to rock out than a rented studio.

"It's convenient for the band. It’s the clubhouse for all of them to come by and play music," he explained.

Regarding the complaints, Goldstein said he's aware of the noise and noted the band tries to practice at "reasonable hours" to keep the peace.

"We try to keep it so everyone around us doesn’t have any issues," he said, adding that the bandmates try to lessen the sound by keeping the volume low and diminish drum noise.

"We really try to be considerate and muffle the sound."  

Workers on the block described the rockers as "nice kids" who often come downstairs to shop for things like snacks and cigarettes.

Heyman Lingam, 50, another employee of Sam's Deli & Grocery, described the bandmates as “very friendly and very chatty," despite the clerk regularly hearing their thumping tunes vibrate through the walls.

“They played today,” he said on Tuesday night. "I love when they play. They are really cool." 

Others echoed the thought that listening to the band rehearse is music to their ears.

Kirk Villalobos, 33, who works at the popular French fry eatery Pommes Frites, said he can also hear the band playing from the restaurant and that patrons often step out of the spot to start dancing on the sidewalk.

"I like their music," Villalobos said, adding that he's heard the band rehearsing in the space for months. "Especially the guitarist when he plays a good solo."

The band, which includes members Max Kamins on bass, Xan Aird on guitar and John Eatherly on drums, are planning to release their second album next year.

Andrew Mitchell, 34, who said he lives next door to The Virgins' practice space, has heard the band playing on numerous occasions, but always during "reasonable hours" of the day.

"A lot of people would say, if you don't want a band rehearsal near you," he said, "don't live in the East Village."

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