Lounge Ax will be closing in mid-January 2000. We lost our lease. We will post the gruesome details here soon.

In the meantime, Read an article by Greg Kot in Metromix.

We will continue our search for a new location, but given that we've been looking for almost three years now, you should not hold your breath.

We are still looking around for the perfect new location. If you've found it before we have, let us know via our fabulously stable

Read this story in the Dec 30, 1999 issue of BillBoard online.

We will try to update this page as the situation develops.

A Cloud Over Clubland A Bill Wyman column on the trouble from the 4/12/96 edition of the Chicago Reader. (features a cute picture of the owners)

Help Save The Lounge Ax From The Chopping Block features AUDIO SAMPLES! from The Lounge Ax Defense & Relocation Compact Disc.

A concise, student newspaper version of the story and a brief review of the record at the Santa Clara University's "Bronco Buzz" by Andrea Drugay.

Read about similar situation in San Francisco by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ken Garcia.

The Background (of the old noise complaint problem circa 1994)

by Patrick Monaghan

[Patrick was kind enough to send us a copy of this post to some dang newsgroup or mailing list - so let's go easy on the, uh, hurried grammar and spelling.
Thanks, the webgeek]

First, LAx's problems with the City that Works are on hiatus right now. In short, here's the story:

  • New yuppie neighbor (NYN) buys condo behind LAx.
  • NYN begins complaining about noise in Jan '95. Rear door openings during soundcheck and showtime aside, he complained even when this wasn't happening.
  • LAx spends several thousand dollars building a second insulated wall in the back of club, and insulating the ceiling.
  • LAx hears nothing from NYN for 3 months, assuming that the sound proofing has worked.
  • LAx gets letter from City to meet with Liquor Commissioner (LC) about un-named problem.
  • LAx owners show up for meeting, that turns out to be about noise complaints. NYN is there.
  • During meeting about noise problems, LC pulls their file. Seems that their Music and Dance license, which they've had since they opened, is now not sufficient to keep them open. Seems they need a Public Place of Amusement license (PPA), which was created approx. 2 years after the club opened, and at which time, the City told LAx that it didn't apply to them, only much bigger clubs, so don't worry about it.
  • LC then calls Zoning Dept, hangs up phone, and says, "Well, the noise problems are over. LAx can no longer have live music because you don't have the proper license, and not only that, but you can't get it, because you're zoned B, as is all of Lincoln Ave. in this area, and you need a Zone C to get the permit. So you're closed, and there are no more noise problems. End of story."
  • LAx owners and NYN freak out. NYN claims he doens't want LAx closed, just some quiet.
  • LAx stays open in spite of LC's threats and hires (very expensive) atty who handles Liquor issues in the City to fight it.
  • LC starts sending the cops around with orders to ticket them if they don't have the right license (PPA), which they don't.
  • Cops are cool and don't issue tickets right away. They also don't know wtf a PPA is.
  • Finally cops start issuing tickets every night they have live bands. This goes on for 2 weeks. They rack up an impressive number of tickets.
  • One LAx owner, Julia, and yours truly, go to court and watch traffic and narcotics second appearances for an hour or so. LAx tix are consolidated and postponed. A thrilling day of American Justice at work.
  • Lots of haggling has happens in the meantime.
  • NYN begins complaining again after a vacation. One night he complains when LAx doesn't even have a band. Another night, he complains 45 minutes after the final set is complete. The set was acoustic.
  • Cops started coming in again after a few months. A few more tickets are issue.
  • Finally the prosecutors told the cops and the LC to stop hassling LAx because the PPA is in committee, has been for a while, and will be for a long while, and nobody knows what the new ordinance will say. Currently, you're supposed to have attached parking, and it applies to all clubs with a capacity over 120.
  • Touch and Go decides to do a benefit compilation to help defray the large legal expenses, and possible moving expenses if LAx can find a larger, friendlier place to move to in the near future.
  • Spin decides to do a little story about the compilation and LAx. They call the club 10 times "getting their facts straight".
  • LAx gives story to Greg Kott of Tribune, so a local reporter can have the scoop. He sat on it for months cuz LAx didn't want to rub the LC's face in it. Greg writes story, and gets somebody with the City to admit that if they enforced the PPA as it now stands, they'd have to close down 700+ clubs in the City.
  • Spin article runs 3 or 4 paragraph with absolutely no facts straight. Says LAx "gave birth" to such bands as Smashing Pumpkins and Urge Overkill. Both bands played at club once. Also says LAx on verge of bankruptcy. Untrue. While LAx doesn't really make a ton of money, thus leaving them perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy, they are really no closer now than they are normally, with the exception of atty's fees that cd will help to defer. David Yow says NYN "can blow me until the cows come home." David is made Ambassador-at-Large, in perpetuity, for LAx.
That's a rough outline with a lot of little details left out of it. The most amazing thing is how cool the cops were during all of this. Shocking to everybody involved. There were times when they just refused to write tickets on some nights, even though the were instructed to at roll call. When they were told that they didn't have to come by anymore to write tickets, a few of them did anyway just to say how happy they were about it. One night, a new cop came in, was explained the situation, and said, "If you've got your licenses in order, you should tell your neighbor to go and screw himself. This is Lincoln Ave. for chrissakes!"

Also, getting an all ages license in this city is damned near impossible for a place that doesn't serve food. In fact, getting a new liquor license of any sort is damned near impossible, which is one of the hurdles LAx will have to jump over before they can move to a friendlier neighborhood.

patrick monaghan
carrot top records, inc.
chi il us

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