Houston Music

Dirty Honey's Brett Koshkin Talks About His Noise Ordinance Ticket

DJ Brett Koshkin spins old soul and R&B '45s the first Saturday of every month at Boondocks. We're not talking loud, bass-heavy, glowstick-friendly LOL drunk gurl stuff. His monthly "Dirty Honey" sets at Boons, featuring beautiful vinyl slabs by artists like ZZ Hill, Rufus Wood, and Clifton White, are the things of crate-digging magic. DH began when the bar opened way back in 2007, and has held strong ever since.

This past Saturday night, Koshkin and an employee of the bar were given citations due to complaints about the noise from Boons' neighbors. This same thing occurred just a few weekends ago to DJs Sober and Dayta, on January 28 at the bar. Our Marco Torres was on the scene for that debacle, which ended with the boys playing N.W.A's "Fuck Tha Police" in joking protest. Let it be said the cops were doing their jobs, as confusing and angering as the law they are enforcing is.

The new noise ordinance has been a hot topic among local musicians and club owners since October, when it was first uncovered that the city was to start issuing heady fines for excessive noise. Last week Hair Balls reported on the Greater Houston Entertainment Coalition PAC that says it wants to work with the city to improve recent changes to the ordinance, changes which many have said hamper clubs and bars from doing business. Dire consequences for Houston music could be in the offing.

I caught up with Koshkin over email to get his side of Saturday's ordeal. Koshkin is a former Houston Press employee, and in fact I replaced him here at the paper in late 2008 upon his exit.

Rocks Off: OK, describe the evening leading up to the ticketing. Good crowd? Dancing?

Brett Koshkin: Dirty Honey tends to be a late night crowd and the place didn't start to fill up until 11:30 or so when the booze kicks in. I had already started off Saturday night with a tad bit of trepidation. I knew that Dayta had received a ticket at Boondocks the previous week but decided I wasn't going to let Mayor Annise Parker's shit ordinance keep people from having a good time.

RO: Do you think that this a city thing against Boondocks, or is there someone who lives near there that doesn't like to party?

BK: The cops just showed up and said there was a complaint from a neighbor. There wasn't a warning and they won't tell you who made the complaint so that you could address the problem. They've gone after so many venues now, it's not just one bar. They just want to change the neighborhood.

RO: What do you think the end game is for the city? What do they want to do ultimately?

It's an attack on all of Houston, the way we live and where we choose to do it. Annise Parker is the one that doesn't like to party. She wants to make the rest of Montrose look like the gated community she lives in down Westheimer. Passing out $1,000 noise ordinance tickets to Montrose residents like candy is pretty crass. It doesn't address any possible problems, it just punishes it.

This along with the proposed off-street parking ordinance has the ability to decimate the very things that we have all come to love about these neighborhood. This just cripples artists and small business owners that have put blood, sweat, and tears into our community. If Mayor Parker and the rest of city council want to live in the suburbs, they really should just go live there and quit trying to turn our neighborhood into Katy. I've eaten at the Rainforest Cafe, it's really not that good.

RO: What is your next step regarding the ticket?

BK: The owner of Boondocks has offered to help take care of this for Ryan, the bar manager who also received a ticket, and myself. I do believe it's time to lawyer up and fight.

RO: I am assuming that they had no way to monitor the exact decibel-reading of the sound with them, correct?

BK: Nope. The only things the cops showed up with in their hands was a pen and a ticket for me to sign. They just said there was a complaint and that I'm getting a ticket that's likely due to too much bass traveling outside. I thought that was pretty funny since I play old sixties tinny-sounding soul 45s. Too bad I wasn't playing a bunch of Miami bass music to really make it worth the fine.

They didn't even come inside to see how loud it was, which I thought was pretty surreal. Just someone said it was loud and we're not going to check, just dole out $1,000 fines. They were really nice about it though, they could of been real pricks but chose not to be.

They even thanked me for not playing N.W.A. "Fuck Tha Police," which was quickly followed with a "Oh, and by the way, if we have to come back tonight, you're going to jail."

At least he didn't get a shotgun cocked at him. Yikes.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty