Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Mephiskafeles, Continental- Hometown Throwdown 16 - Night #1

Night one came and went fast like a lightening bolt.  The anticipation leading up to the 16th Annual Hometown Throwdown was a heavy one with the Street Dogs in town the weekend prior, the fun for the Boston punk rock community was not quite over.  To start the night off, Rick Barton's (EX-Dropkick Murphys) Continental was the first on stage.  This band plays no frills, straight up rock and roll which make themselves extremely accessible to the music scene of all sorts.  Continental played plenty of familiar songs off of their current full length, "All A Man Can Do" including "Curious Spell", the working class anthem, "Dogfight", and "Downtown Lounge".  The band also covered Dropkick Murphy's, "The Torch" where Rick as always says this song is about "…the person we never want to become".   Respectably enough, Barton paid homage to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and recognized the legendary Boston On The Road tour they started in the mid-ninties which featured the Dropkick Murphys.  After all, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones are the reason why band's like the Murphys carry the torch and help the band behind them.

Up next were Mephiskafeles from New York City.  I can't say I was familiar with the band but I was told recently that "…They were the Bosstones before the Bosstones!" which proved to be evident as their sound clearly helped to shape the Mighty Mighty Bosstones sound.  It's always entertaining to see bands who have been around for years play with the level of intensity, and energy as they do.  It is clear that they are in it for the right reasons and not the business aspect when they come out, play their hardest and then walk through the crowd to mingle with their fans when they are finished.  The potential influence that this band paved way for the Bosstones was obvious.  They seemed to play the same or similar recipe of the combination of punk rock, hardcore, and good old fashioned ska. The foundation was certainly made for bands to follow.

Last but not least, Boston's almighty, Mighty Mighty Bosstones were up next to the bring the heat.  Around nine o'clock, the lights dimmed and the intro music came on.  Soon enough, the boys in plaid (or tuxedos rather), ran out on stage and kicked into "This Time Of Year" amidst the Christmas lights laid upon the back drop, and along the mezzanine level of the House Of Blues.  The first jingle went straight to the second yet with a curve ball which was "I Know More" (First time performed since 2001).  The set featured a few songs that they haven't performed dating back to 1991.  Songs such as "Shit Out Of Luck", "Katie" and the night's closer, "Ain't Talking 'Bout Love" by Van Halen were the height of the performance for many of the die hards.  As entertaining it was to listen to these songs, I personally felt the band did not give as much energy as they should have, especially on the opening.  On the other hand, they still had a great performance.
Roughly mid-set, the 'Tones covered the Clash's, "Rudy Can't Fail" which is always a crowd pleaser, and not to mention, "They Came To Boston", "Wrong Thing, Right Then", and many more.  The main set ended with, "A Little Bit Ugly" while the encore included, "The Bricklayer's Story", "737/Shoe Glue" and closed with Van Halen's, "Ain't Talkin' About Love".  Overall, the band played a great show yet their energy would have improved their overall presence in the room.  For those who have made it tradition to go all three nights, the anticipation awaited for what the Mighty Mighty Bosstones may deliver for nights two and three!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Review of Dot Rats- Featuring members of Nowhere USA

Hey readers,

I hope everybody had an awesome holiday no matter what you celebrate!  2013 has been an amazing year for the Boston music scene and I hope 2014 is that much better as well.  For those who have been around Boston hardcore and punk long enough, Nowhere USA should not be a mystery to you.  These Boston greats reunited and came back for a few shows and there is a new project now called Dot Rats.  This past week, they released an brand new five song demo on band camp which was also handed out at the Street Dogs show.  A few months back I asked bassist Anthony Snowdale what the musical difference between Nowhere USA and Dot Rats was suppose to be, he insisted that "Nowhere USA is the angel on my shoulder and Dot Rats is the devil on my shoulder."  With that, I knew that the boys would be sticking to their guns none the less.  If you like Blood For Blood, old school Agnostic Front, Slapshot, and the whole nine yards, keep on reading!

Track number one titled "Run This Town" hits you square in the face like you just picked a fight with the wrong person  Starting with a heavy intro and frontman, Mark Doherty yelling "Dorchester!" you can tell this is what this song is about, hell, this is what this band is about!  They are Dot Rats!  The band is clearly not afraid to stick to their guns as they blister through the first track yet they are still dong something different than Nowhere USA.   Dot Rats have a harder edge! Track two, "Triple Decka" clocks in at a quick fifty six seconds which gives off an old school Agnostic Front vibe.  I look forward to what kind of response the audience gives the band compared to Nowhere USA.  Dot Rats are the type of band that could on this track, start a circle pit and on another track, make you feel like you are at a Death Before Dishonor show.  The diverse range and speed sets this band apart from the rest!

What I have always enjoyed about Mark Doherty's and Anthony Snowdale's music is that they are clearly a package deal and they suit each other behind microphone so well.  I can think of a few other musicians from the Boston music scene that are the same way: they feed off of each other, bring that energy that other bands do not, and its all because they have known each other so well.  Between the two, the ideas for bands, songs, and ideas are relentless and unstoppable.  Track number three, "Just Won't Die" makes me feel like I am listening to an early Blood For Blood track from "Spit My Last Breath" or "Revenge On Society" which is never a bad thing!  The guitar and bass reminds of Blood For Blood's classic, "Chaos" with the slow but intense musicianship displayed.  The last and final number for these Boston hooligan's is titled "We Hate Us" and is a perfect no fucks given proverbial middle finger to the rest of the world and human race.  This band is all about telling it how it is and you believe it, they are not afraid to do so.  Check out the future endeavors of Dot Rats and do yourself a favor, stay out of their way.   You will thank me for it later.

Band Information:
Dat Rats Official Facebook Page
Dot Rats Official Website
Dot Rats Bandcamp Page

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wreck The Halls 2013 with the Street Dogs, the Unseen, Stars & Stripes and Fenian Sons

Closing each year would never be as entertaining, joyous, full of laughter, camaraderie and brotherhood if it were not for the annual Wreck The Halls shows with the Street Dogs.  Last year, as the band announced a hiatus, much anxiety filled up not only me yet many other fans and friends of the band.  That anxiety or doubt better put left very shortly as Lenny Lashley (Darkbuster/Lenny & The Piss Poor Boys) was recruited as rhythm  guitar player and another addition over the summer, the recruitment of Matt Pruitt (Have Nots) on lead guitar was installed. It made for the perfect lateral transfer as Mike McColgan once put it for me! This was also the beginning of a new era with the Street Dogs which surfaced around two EP releases on Pirates Press Records and the "Breaking The Break" tour in Europe.  My excitement built up even more when Street Dogs announced the ninth annual Wreck The Halls show at the House Of Blues with the Fenian Sons, the Unseen and Stars & Stripes. 

The night started off with an Irish twist with the Boston Irish Folk group, the Fenian Sons.  I have seen these guys play three years ago at T.T. The Bears in Cambridge with the Street Dogs and they have certainly tightened up since then. Their blend of Irish Folk music with an energetic take on it was the perfect way to start the night.  With many influences stemming from the Pogues, the Dubliners, and more, these Boston hooligans very much created their own blend without going too far astray with their sound.  The band is just a group of guys who clearly enjoy playing their brand of Irish music with no frills, or egos.  After having the opportunity to talk with them after the show, and introducing myself, these are the type of guys you would want to sit at a bar with and have a pint of Guinness and talk shop with.  Keep an eye out for their future endeavors, shows and potential releases around Boston. 

The opener I looked forward to seeing the most on Saturday night was Stars & Stripes.  This band consists of all the members of Slapshot but play straight up American Oi! instead of American hardcore yet usually with the occasional Slapshot cover thrown in (I will get to that later).  These Boston music veteran's kicked into the standard opener, "Shaved For Battle".  The sing along chorus had the pit  going as the crowd chanted along to, "Our heads are shaved for battle, and that's what we're gonna do. Our docs are made for kicking, and we'll kick the shit out of you!" which incited fists in the air of many of the skinheads moving on the floor.  Other songs that made it into the set were "American Oi!", "Doc Marten Army", "The Power & The Glory", and Slapshot's legendary, "Back On The Map".  Seeing these guys perform again was a blast as I have not seen them since the Bruisers reunion in August 2012.  Not much has changed in the line up except with Ryan Packer (formally Jason Bennett & the Resistance/Street Dogs) on bass which has proved to be an excellent addition.  Overall, Stars & Stripes played a solid set full of energy, angst and giving the crowd just what they asked for, some good old American Oi! with a doc marten boot to the face!

As the night crept on the lights dimmed on the foggy stage and Boston's very own street punk giants, the Unseen walked out.  Kicking off their set with "Live In Fear", the band displayed sheer intensity and energy throughout their set.  The band did a very good job varying their set list from old and new to keep the veteran fans and younger fans hungry for more.  Highlights included "Social Damage", "Tale Of Mass Deception", "Explode", and "So Sick Of You".  With the handful of times I have seen the Unseen play, this was probably the longest set I have seen them play.  Mark Unseen dedicated an old gem, "Police Brutality" to anybody who attended the now defunct Rat in Kenmore Square "back in the day" and certainly threw in some older tracks to keep the old guard happy.  The energetic front man kept the crowd on their toes by participating in some barricade action and moving from side to side.  Without a doubt, the Unseen brought a sheer amount of energy to the show which helped amp the crowd up for Street Dogs.

Just after 8PM, the house lights dimmed and "Fall Back Down" by Rancid came on over the P.A. as their intro and crowd warmer.  Soon after, the room went dark and the crowd could hear the sound of bag pipes coming from the rear.  The Bunker Hill Pipe Band walked on to stage left as the intro for Street Dogs which was lead by House of Blues worker and good friend, Neil McGarry .  As goose bumps and the blood pressure started to raise, the bag pipes started to fade and after a brief pause, Mike McColgan, Johnny Rioux, Matt Pruitt, Lenny Lashley and Pete Sosa stormed onto the stage and kicked right into "Savin Hill".  Though the venue's capacity is over two thousand (and did not reach that), the Street Dogs made it feel like it was the Paradise or Brighton Music Hall with the amount of crowd participation front man, Mike McColgan worked in throughout the night. Crowd pleasers such as "Punk Rock & Roll", "Rustbelt Nation" and "Yesterday" followed in form.  The twenty seven song set consisted of "Not Without A Purpose, Not Without A Fight", "Common People" and fist raiser, "Up The Union".  Highlights included "Generals Boombox" with their edition of Joe Strummer's "Coma Girl" in the mix.  During mid set, Tobe Bean joined the family on stage for the  duration of the night including, "Tobes Got A Drinking Problem", "Katie Bar The Door" and many more.  The Street Dogs pulled off the three guitar Bad Religion type trio quite well. 
Set list for the Wreck The Halls 2013 tour. Photo Taken by Toni Wakester

Another pleasant surprise during the set included a friend of many, Kelley Costello and her collaboration on "Elizabeth", Lenny Lashley pulling out three Darkbuster tunes, "Try To Make It Right", "Stand & Deliver" and "Skinhead" which was roused the crowd right up.  As always, Mike McColgan respectfully dedicated "Final Transmission" to those who serve our country which puts much in perspective for all of us particularly during the holidays and this time of year.  I also thoroughly enjoyed hearing one of my personal favorites, "You Alone" which certainly unites the crowd.  The encore consisted of Lenny and the Gang Of Ones personal "Anti X-mas Song" and then the inclusion of Rick Barton during "Get Up", and "Never Alone" from the 1997 Dropkick Murphys era.  Scruffy from the Dropkick Murphys joined the band on tin whistle during "Far Away Coast", as well. The last two closers of the night consisted of "Fighter" with the Clash's "Guns of Brixton" in the middle and lastly, the stage invasion inciting, "Boston Breakout".  By that time, the stage quickly filled up with Street Dogs most dedicated friends, family, and fans and those who just wanted to climb up for the experience.  The stage invasion easily proves the band's dedication to their loyal followers and reinforces the idea of "our stage is your stage" so the crowd is on an even level with the band!  All in all, the Street Dogs performed an amazing set full of surprises, unification of their city and followers, and the perfect way to ring in the holidays!  Needless to say, I cannot wait til next year! 

Stage Invasion! (Photo by Jason Stone at DyingScene.Com) 

Street Dogs Offical Website
Street Dogs Facebook
Slapshot/Stars & Stripes Facebook
Fenian Sons Facebook


The Street Dogs have a side project called FM359 who are having a album release listening party on Wednesday, January 15th at McGreevys (911 Boylston St. Boston MA.) at 7PM.  It is 21 and Over only and admission is FREE.  Get there early and show some support. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Our Next Event is January 18th! Save The Date!

Hey everybody,

Our next event is on January 18th.  Please spread the word and lets make this a party!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

An interview with Danny Oi! from the almighty, Toughskins (Los Angeles)

Since 1993, the Toughskins from Los Angeles have been putting out hard as nails, no bullshit Oi! music.  Here we are now, about twenty years later, and after some significant line up changes, the boys are still at it.  Since the birth of the Toughskins, Danny Oi! has been their fearless leader of the pack and has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.  The band just recently released a brand new E.P titled, "Keep The Faith" (Rebel Sound Records U.S. and Randale Records E.U.) which followed their previous release, "Anger Management".    So for all of you new to the Oi! scene, I give you the voice of experience and the toughest of the tough, Danny Oi!

Run Don't Walk:  Lets start with the history of the Toughskins?  How long have you guys been around?  
Danny Oi!: Originally we formed in 1993.It was me Hate Mongrol on drums and Ax Stryker on Vocals and then we found Dave Visive to play guitar.

Run Don't Walk: What made you want to start playing Oi! at a young age?  What was it about the Skinhead culture that made you get into that scene?
Danny Oi!: I don't know that I thought about being in an Oi! band. I started writing punk rock lyrics at the tender age of 12. I joined my first band at 16 and wco-wrote the music and wrote the majority of lyrics for that band. We called ourselves "Those Opposed". We were punkx and skins that were angry drunk and hated nazi's. There were a few Nationally known organizations started real close to where I grew up. I didn't know shit about the skinhead culture. There was no internet, no skinhead bible there was just a few older guys that passed it on little by little. I like the sound of bands like the business 4 skins angelic upstarts sham 69 cockney rejects cock sparrer the ruts stiff little fingers. I wanted to do my own version of that an American version. I first shaved my head because I hated my hair. Leter I kept it shaved because I hated nazi's. I remained a skinhead for 27 years because I've grown to like some aspects of the culture. And I still hate hair.

Run Don't Walk: I have asked a few musicians from the scene this because I think their experience, and loyalty is important to recognize:  How do you think the internet and social media has played a part in Oi! and skinhead culture?  There has obviously been different ups and downs with the way it has evolved with music but what do you think the major difference in the scene has been with the up rise of social media? .  
Danny Oi!: Its played the same roll in this scene as it has in any other scene. It's made networking much easier and I can find out about bands like Prins Karl and Lion's Law immediately. But it's also a platform for ignorance and immaturity. I've participated in the latter and less respectable side myself. But other than that I don't give it much thought or weight. I'm a grown man with a family a job and other interest so it means very little to me. I use what I need and disregard the rest.

"Keep The Faith" by the Toughskins is out now on Rebel Sound Records (United States) and Randale Records (Europe).

Run Don't Walk:  What have been some bands that you have played with that were the most exciting?  Who would you like to play with? 
Danny Oi!: Opening for Rancid and Transplants was the obvious highlight of the year and it was a pure adrenalin rush. I think more about the places I get to play. Reno Sacramento the Bay Area San Jose San Diego Tucson. Its the places I get to go and people I know and get to see and their bands that I get to share the stage with, that's what I really enjoy. Bricktop is always fun to share the stage with. I would like to play all over the U.S and eventually Europe Japan South America, you name it I'll go just about anywhere.

Run Don't Walk: What has been the most fulfilling piece of playing in a band for you?  What else would you like to do?
Danny Oi!: Writing recording and playing live. Meeting people that enjoy what we do. I'm doing everything I want to do right now. I'm writing a book. Planning more trips abroad with my family. More music projects. I'm grateful for all that I have especially my wife and kids. Family and true friends.

Run Don't Walk: What advice would you give to somebody starting a band?  What kept you guys going thus far?
Danny Oi!: Think about what you want to do why you want to do it and then go for it with full force and vigor. Love has kept me going. As difficult as it may seem sometimes I can't imagine a life without making music. I'll never stop.
Run Don't Walk: Which bands do you think are the cream of the crop right now in Punk, Oi!, or Hardcore scene?  
Danny Oi!: Even with the internet I live under a rock. I like music that is outside the box. I get bored easy so I like to mix it up. Soul Rock and Reggae. Occasionally some classical and jazz. Hip hop. I just love music period.

Run Don't Walk: Any final words?  
Danny Oi!: Thank you for the Q&A! A huge thanks to my wife Sasha for her love and support and my sons. To "Toughkins 2013" I've changed line ups 3 times since 2010 and this line up is by far the most drama free and talented group of musicians I've had the honor to call Toughskins! We're looking forward to 2014 with great anticipation!

The Toughskins Facebook Page
Offical Toughskins Merchandise

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Part 2 Interview with Mark Lind focusing on his new project, the Warning Shots!

Mark Lind has started a brand new project recently with his sidekick Jason Messina, their buddy Dilo and Nick and Rich from the Morgan Knockers.  The five piece released digitally (as I covered already) a five song EP and has plans to record a few more songs next month!  This interview focuses less on Mark's other projects but what he is focusing on now, the Warning Shots!  

Run Don't Walk: How would you say the Warning Shots differ from the other projects you have you been a part of?  What do the other members bring to the table to make this band unique?
Mark Lind: It’s 100% collaborative. We started The Warning Shots knowing that three of the guys in the band have all been the “front man” for their own bands and that’s how we approach it. I might be the hands-free guy with just a microphone but Rich, Nick and I are all singing pretty much at all times and doing our own parts. We also practice a lot so we play the songs over and over and they just change and develop as we go through them each week without much discussion involved. Changes just happen and we measure whether or not they should stay based on the number of shit eating grins around the room as they happen. These developments are new for me. I’m not sure if the other guys have experienced this before or not. If they have then I’m jealous of them.
RDW: The band recently released in digital format a brand new four song E.P.  In terms of song writing, did you guys go about it differently than you would in the Ducky Boys and Nick and Rich in the Morgan Knockers?  From listening to Nick's songs in the Morgan Knockers, he definitely has his own unique way of writing.
ML: Someone comes in with an idea and we all sort of add to it until it turns out the way that we agree it right. Each of us sort of comes from a different place musically so each person adds a unique voice to the song. Whoever comes in with the idea is sort of in the captain’s chair to a degree but it’s not like we’re resistant to each other’s ideas.

I don’t know what process Morgan Knockers used to write but I am pretty much in awe of everything that Nick comes up with and everything that Rich plays or sings. Ducky Boys’ writing process has been so weird in the past few years that it would take me too long to explain it. It works for what we do but it is very different than this.

RDW: What is some of the subject matter about in some of the newer songs? 
ML: The standard stuff. Things that everyone can understand. Love, loss and pain were here before any of us and they will be here long after we’re all gone.

RDW: Do you have future endeavors for recording more songs for the band?  How will those compare to the first four that you have released?
ML: We’re heading back to the studio in February for four more songs. These next four will be better than the first four and hopefully that trend will continue into the future. People seem more inclined to check out small samples of songs these days and we’ll continue to offer than for the foreseeable future. I’d like to do a full length someday but we’ll have to see what the future offers.

RDW: In terms of the local scene, who are some bands that are out right now that you enjoy but may not be getting the recognition they deserve?  Who would you like to play with eventually while in this band? 
ML: The Warning Shots would like to play with everyone and anyone. We’re not trying to do something that is such a niche sound that its audience is limited. So far we’ve played shows with punk bands, hardcore bands, indie rock bands and pop bands. It’s gone over better than expected at all shows. Even the biggest hardcore tough guy likes a catchy chorus.
Regarding the local scene, there are just too many great bands to name. They’re all getting varying degrees of attention but you can never really predict which ones will gain more traction than others. The only two bands I’ve ever accurately predicted big things from were Dropkick Murphys and Anti-Flag. Those two bands were just too good out of the gate to ignore. Time tells with all the others. I do think Boston has the best bands of pretty much every genre of music so I guess, to some degree, all of the bands deserve more attention since this city isn’t the musical Mecca is should be.
RDW: I have asked this question to a couple different people who have a strong hold in the scene (Matt Kelly of Dropkick Murphys and Matt Henson of Noi!se) and I want to know your input.  With the rise of social media, and the effect it has had on music, how do you think it has affected the punk scene in particular?  There are obviously many positive sides but also negative sides that give our culture different connotations.  What has been your experience with it and your opinion the effect it has on our culture such as punk rock, hardcore, etc.?
ML: Social media is very interesting to me. I love to use my music page to conduct my own personal sociological experiments. Of course the internet has changed the whole world and music is just a small part of that. I think some bands are missing out on the experience of getting out there and hanging up posters and fliers and really spreading their names with hard work. All of us are just relying on the easy route now which is internet promotion. But the crowds are smaller than they used to be too. People can check out a band online and then skip the show if they choose. We used to have to go see the band to hear what they sound like. I’m too damn old, busy and lazy to get out and flier and hang up posters but if I was in my teens or early 20’s again then I’d be working both the internet and the street. That’s the way you really pack heads into the shows. The Warning Shots are trying to go for sheer quality to get people interested. Whether we’re succeeding in that is up to the opinion of the listener though. We can only do our best and hope for the best. We’re happy with what we’re doing.

RDW: What would you like to see change in the scene today?  What would you like to see come back again in terms of keeping people in their place, on an even keel, and things like that?
ML: I’d like to see more community return to the scene. When I was a kid my favorite bands were the ones we played with. I listened to their records at home and I genuinely liked the bands. I knew every word to their songs. It wasn’t some sort of lip service to benefit myself. The bands propped each other up and cheered each other on. Maybe I’ve become more cynical but I just don’t sense that these days. So it’s not about keeping people in their place; it’s about boosting people to the next level. Let’s get some more of that going….. but we need to mean it. If you don’t mean it then don’t say it.
RDW: Any final words?  How about upcoming shows you would like to plug?

ML: Well we have a video on Blank TV’s station on YouTube. We have a new EP out that is available at Shirts and CD’s can be ordered there too. It’s coming soon to Interpunk and digital distros. We’re playing December 20 at PA’s Lounge in Somerville with Hudson Falcons and Spectre Hawk. And then we’re playing again on January 4 at the Middle East with Burning Streets, Cradle to the Grave and OC45. We’ll have shirts and CD’s at these shows.

The Warning Shots Facebook

The Warning Shots Official Page

Saturday, December 7, 2013

An interview with Joe Barron from the Drunk Nuns

Over the last couple of years, there has been a very catchy band, with a pretty damn catchy name and they call themselves, the Drunk Nuns.  These boys hail from Boston, Massachusetts and give their own brand of punk rock and roll.  With their style and influences ranging from Green Day, the Ramones, and many more, the Drunk Nuns just don't stop!  Run Don't Walk presents you, Joe Barron, vocalist of the Drunk Nuns!

Run Don't Walk: For starters, why don’t you give a brief history of the band?  The members who make the Drunk Nuns, how you all met, etc.
Joe Barron: The beginnings of the Drunk Nuns started as project between Andrew and I back in December 2010. He's been my best friend since high school and we've always shared an affinity for rock n' roll. I was unemployed and living with my parents, spending a lot of time crashing at Andrew's place. We'd drink scotch, he'd play guitar, and I'd attempt to sing as we recorded lo-fi acoustic covers of stuff by the Ramones, the Clash, Mescaleros. Eventually, I started writing lyrics to what would become some of the first Drunk Nuns songs, "The Boys," Tell Me," "A Parting Shot," and Andrew thought of some tasty riffs. We made some crude demos and started jamming with Andy Mac over the summer at his parents place in West Roxbury. Andy Mac played drums with Andrew in their college cover band, The Sticky Bandits. We jammed together over beers every week for months and started coming up with some really cool original material. After our first gig offer, Andy recruited Frank to play bass with us. Frank and Andy had been playing to together in bands since they were kids, so it seemed like a natural fit. Our first practice with Frank, he spilled beer everywhere and we knew he was our guy. Since then we've played 30 shows around the area with some really awesome bands, put out a full-length album, and have really started to make a name for ourselves.

RDW: What has been some of the more memorable experiences singing for the Drunk Nuns?  What shows stick out in your mind?  What bands have you played with that made the shows fun and drew the crowd in?

J.B.: To be honest with you, I still can't believe I can do what I do. If you told me a few years back I would be the front man of a rowdy punk rock ensemble, I would say you're full of shit. My father is an well-seasoned country musician who has played with some big legends, but I never had any proper training singing or experience performing until the band started. The learning curve has been really hard on me because they other guys are so damn talented, but at the same time has really driven me to work hard and perfect my craft. What I lack in talent, I try to make up for in live energy and building a personal repore with the crowd. Our shows are just a giant party we want everyone to be part of.

My favorite shows have definitely been the last two we've played. My birthday show at Club Bohemia and the show you booked at the Midway. Everything about them made it a giant kick ass party. When you can play shows with your friends and musicians you've looked up to as a kid and impress them with your live show, you know you're doing something right. Better yet, when people cheer you for spitting beer on them and then pelt you with beer cans of admiration, you know you're doing something right. Haha.
Playing with A Minor Revolution from New Hampshire is always a blast. Those guys are some of our best buds and are always down to play and have a good time. They actually have a brand new EP coming out in March called Consexual Sense that I was lucky enough to sing gang vocals on and help out with some artwork.  They're gearing up to make some big moves soon. Definitely look into them if you haven't already.

RDW: What bands influenced you to start a band?  What bands influenced the Drunk Nuns together?  Which bands helped define your sound?

J.B.: Going out to local punk rock shows with Andrew as a kid seeing bands like Dirty Water, Kicked in the Head, Darkbuster, Kings of Nuthin', the Explosion, and Lost City Angels made me realize that this was something I always wanted to try. Bands like the the Ramones, the Clash, Green Day, the Stones, Guns N' Roses, even Blink 182 have brought us together. We all have a wide variety of influences that we try to bring into the group, while keeping our sound as original and honest as possible.  I'd like to think that "our sound" is constantly evolving due to all the great new music we've been exposed to either locally or sharing albums with one another.

RDW: The Nuns have one full length album out called “The Winchester LP”.  Where is that named derived from?  Why did it become the band’s title of their first record?

J.B.:The Winchester LP was based after our bands original name, Winchester. That name came from the first sessions Andrew and I had at his old place on Winchester Street. We knew that band name was only temporary when we first started, but we still wanted to pay tribute to our beginnings. It became the title of the record because we always liked the way it sounded and it made sense for that group of songs and where they originated.
RDW: What subjects did you contain in song writing on that record?  It definitely seems to be written from the eyes of a young man almost with songs such as “Juvenile” and so forth?

J.B.: All the songs on that record are about real life and real experiences. People and places that have affected us along the way. Because I write the majority of the lyrics, a lot of the content ends up being derived from my life, but Andrew comes up with some brilliant lines every now and then as well. Juvenile is about Andrew and I growing up together. For example, the line "With guns to our heads and our hands held high. You only live once and then one day you die" is about us being robbed at gunpoint in high school and being thankful for opportunities in this lifetime.  Some of the subject matter is really serious, but just like real life you need to be able to find humor within all the bullshit. "POF," our usual set closer is about Andrew getting a blowjob from a girl he met online. Who doesn't like blowjobs? :P

RDW: Where did you specifically grow up?  Was there a punk rock scene to immerse yourself in while there?  Are you or the rest of the band originally from Massachusetts?

J.B.: Andrew and I grew up in Brookline. We went to a lot of local shows at venues like Axis and Avalon. Andy Mac and Frank grew up in West Roxbury.

RDW: What do you think makes the Boston punk scene different from other cities?  Obviously Boston is a small city which means an even smaller punk rock scene.  What does that mean to you?

J.B.: Obviously, a lot of great bands have come out of Boston. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones to this day are still my favorite band to go see. Since they came back in 2007, I've been going to every night of the Throwdown every year (yes, I know I'm crazy!). But in regards to being a small city and having a small punk rock scene, everyone kind of knows who each other is.
RDW: What would you like to see in the punk scene in Boston change?

J.B.:I think there is a need for a greater sense of community and support for local music. There definitely are groups of people and bands out there who follow this type of credence, but often times I have seen even the tiniest bit of local fame go to people's heads. Be honest and appreciative. If bands are just trying to beat each other, then nobody is ever going to make it out of Boston. Take the time to get to know new people and support their creative endeavors. Go out to shows. Buy the band's merch. Give touring bands places to stay and food to eat. Wouldn't you want the same in return?

RDW:  What are future goals and endeavors for the Drunk Nuns in the year 2014?  Any big plans for touring, releases, etc.?

J.B.: We're gearing up to release a short EP for free soon. Our drummer, Andy Mac has been working his ass off recording and mixing it himself. It's a collection of rare songs we don't play live much and a cover song by one of our favorite local bands. Hopefully we'll put together a proper release show in the next few months. We've also been writing new material for the last year and have about 15-20 original songs we're finalizing for our second full-length, tentatively called, "Better Than Nothing." This stuff is on a totally different level than the last one and the songs are really unique. Once that album is out, we'd like to do an East Coast Tour in support of it and start to expand our brand of music.

RDW: What bands that are out there right now do you like who are playing locally and beyond?  Who would you like to see big things from?

J.B.: Loser's Circle, The Hideout, OTP, Psychic Dog, The Radicals, The Scars (and Dave Wells), Burning Streets, OC45, The Down and Outs, The Warning Shots, Zip-tie Handcuffs, Tensor, Jason Bennett. Andrew is playing bass on the side with our buddies Jeff Demas (of the Radium Girls) and Steve Knowles (of Bloghead Podcast) in a project called the Digs. I'm interested to see how that turns out because I kind of orchestrated them to get together in the first place. Our boys from PA, the Eschatones just put out a brand new EP that will put some serious hair on your balls. Also, The Scandals,  from New Jersey were just featured on Rolling Stone. They are some of the most humble, down to earth people we've ever been able to play with and they totally deserve the recognition.

Nationally, Andrew and I went to see NOFX with a bunch of the AMR and Down and Outs guys and had a riot. The Drunk Nuns love Masked Intruder and always check them out when they're in town. Personally, I'm really excited for the new Against Me! album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues. I saw Laura Jane Grace perform it acoustic and got a chance to see the new AM! lineup at Riot Fest in Denver when I went with my buddy Bill. I was really impressed. Hopefully there will be some big things in the future for the Drunk Nuns too!

RDW: Any final words?

J.B.: We have a huge show at Church of Boston on Saturday December 21 with OTP, Duck & Cover, and The Ramparts. I know there's a lot of really good shows going on that night too, so there will be some stiff competition. But- it's always a party at a Drunk Nuns show whether there's 10 people or 100 people. We're gonna go out, give it our all, and have a fun time. Hope to see ya in the pit!
Upcoming Show:
December 21st, 2013
The Church of Boston
69 Kilmarnock St.
8PM Doors
21 & Over

Thursday, December 5, 2013

An interview with Matt Henson from Noi!se

As the year 2013 is coming to a close, I will say that this year has been really good to the  Street Punk and Oi! scene.  One of those bands hailing from that scene and Washington state are Noi!se, who started in 2009 and have become one of the best Oi! bands out there today.  I recently had the unique opportunity to talk to Matt Henson who is their bassist and lead vocalist.  Matt tells us about the adventures in Noi!se, the challenge of being in a band, having a family, and serving his country in the United States Army and much more!   If you haven't heard these guys yet, I highly suggest you pick up everything they have released on GMM records and enjoy what they have put out!  You will not regret it. Readers, I give you Matt Henson everybody!

Run Don't Walk: How are you doing today? For starters, why don't you give us a brief history of the band?

Matt: The band was started in late 2009 with Myself on bass and vocals, Nate on guitar and vocals, Justin on leads and Miko on drums. Later, Kenny would replace Miko and Jesse would replace Justin. We have been pretty much constantly engaged in either playing, recording or deploying since we began.

RDW: Thus far, what has been yours and/or the bands biggest accomplishment? What would like to eventually accomplish later on down the line? 

Matt: Nick, I have gotten to do things with this band I never would have dreamed of doing 5 years ago and it certainly is never lost on us just how lucky we are each time something amazing happens to us. There are really too many to just name just one, but I think certainly being asked to play the Rancid/ Cock Sparrer anniversary show would be one of the most incredible things for the band. For me, the greatest thing I have accomplished musically is making people feel something similar to the way music makes me feel. Music has gotten me through some of the worst times of my life and to even imagine that we are capable of doing that for someone else is an amazing feeling…and really what keeps us going. Seeing a vet out in the crowd with a prosthetic leg at the front of the pit, singing along to our music in Pomona CA is without exception the greatest experience I have had playing music…and one of the best of my life.

RDW: You guys have released recently a brand new track called "Rank and File" which is an amazing new song. What is the story behind it? 

Matt: I wrote Rank and File as a response to media’s portrayal of the government shut down, but I think the premise can be applied to just about anything the media reports. It seems to me as though the more readily available new media becomes, the more it gets used as a vehicle to polarize the recipients and push political agendas. People turn on the news or log on to get informed and instead are subjected to possibly the most biased reporting that has ever existed. I watch friends argue political issues feverishly, eventually reverting to name calling and wonder if either of them actually have the facts necessary to make a decision as to what side they’re on. I feel like they may not. I may (and hope that I am) wrong, but it would be a shame if people are choosing sides and polarizing themselves based on biased information.

RDW: Speaking of new material, what can we expect with the new tunes you guys have recorded with the Street Dogs split and how about with the upcoming full length, "The Scars We Hide"? 

Matt: I think we’ve tightened up a little bit. We’re certainly taking more time in the studio and really examining what we have before we record it. We’re always trying to make the sound better, but I think the day we stop doing that might be the time to just stop playing altogether.

RDW: I recently interviewed Mike from the Street Dogs and he mentioned you guys approached them for doing a split which is awesome (can't wait to hear the finished product!) What was the band's reaction when it started to be in the works of getting done? 

Matt: Being able to do a split with a band like the Street Dogs is simply an honor. When I got the text from Johnny saying it was a go I was absolutely thrilled….and then almost instantly worried we wouldn’t be able to hold our own on the record. When I told the rest of the guys, hoping their reaction would make me more confident, their reaction was the exact same as mine. Hopefully we don’t blow it. Either way….what an honor.

RDW: When Noi!se put out the artwork for "The Scars We Hide", I was floored about the artistic talent that went into it and the title is pretty universal, as well. What made you choose the title as is? Are there more personal subject matters on this upcoming full length compared to "This Is Who We Are", "Pushing On", etc? 

Matt: Nate and a buddy did the cover art for the new record.“The Scars We Hide” contains the most personal lyrics Nate and I have ever written. The title is taken from a song called “How We Made it Through” which is a song I wrote in recognition of all the people that stuck with me through some of the darker periods of my life. We wanted a cover that reflected the despair that we sometimes feel, not to remind people of the bad times themselves….but to remind them of the people and reasons they have to keep going through those times. We all have painful things we’ve experienced that has shaped who we are. I think the title of the record is kind of a suggestion that it’s a universal truth. Not something to be ashamed of.

RDW: Which bands has Noi!se played with so far that you have enjoyed playing with the most? Who would you like to play with?

Matt: Too many to name them all, but Rancid, Cock Sparrer, Transplants, Agnostic Front, Sick of it All, Pressure Point, Chosen Ones, Bishops Green, Hollowpoints, Broadisders, Old Firm Casuals, Death March, Lower Class Brats, Bigfoot Accelerator, Evil Conduct, Templars…dude, there are too man to name.

RDW: What are some bands that in the back of your mind that may be the cream of the crop in the Oi!, Street Punk scene right now? Who do you think is great but may not be getting the attention they deserve? Pirates Press Records from the Bay Area has been putting out some amazing bands I have noticed. 

Matt: Bishops Green, Chosen Few, Victory, Hard Evidence…..there are quite a few out there. Pirates Press has been doing their thing for quite a while now. It’s a great label with great people running it. It was awesome to have them put out Pushing On for us. They will also be releasing the Street Dogs split!

RDW: As much as Noi!se's loyal followers know, there are a couple members (including yourself) who serve in the military. First of all, thank you for serving. How do you manage the band, the military, family life and everything else in between? As many commitments as those are, you guys seem to deal with what is handed to you extremely well! 

Matt: It is more than a little bit hard to juggle the family, the band and the Army but I try to make it work. The real trick is doing all three without sacrificing performance in any area.

RDW: What was your opportunity to play with Rancid like? It must have been an amazing experience to play with such an influential band? I recently saw that photo of Matt Freeman wearing the bracelet your friend's son made for them. I think that shows a lot of character in the band that Rancid was more than happy to accept them (and those bracelets looked pretty awesome too). Talk about stand up musicians who remain true to their craft and followers! 

Matt: Last July was our second time playing with our friends in Rancid and the first playing with the Transplants. It was amazing. Lars and Rob are guys I consider brothers and just getting to hang out for a bit is great, but getting to watch them on stage is incredible. Both of those bands are so tight. I’ve been listening to Rancid for almost 20 years and Transplants for 10, so the opportunity to share the stage with them both was beyond belief. Both bands are comprised of true, down to earth people that have done nothing but positive things with their success.

RDW: What were some of the bands that got you interested in punk rock, hardcore, Oi!, the skinhead scene, etc? What major bands influenced your band today?

 Matt: Blitz, Stiff Little Fingers, Cock Sparrer, Anti-Heros, Menace, The Clash, Minor Threat, Toy Dolls, Rancid, Agnostic Front, The Business, H2O, Bad Brains, Kill Your Idols, Patriot, Timebomb 77, Terminus City (again) too many to name really.

RDW: With the Skinhead scene and lifestyle, how do you think it has changed over the years? Particularly with the response of social media, the internet, etc it has given it several different opinions from folks (some favorable and not so favorable) and even well before that too! What do you think the major changes have been overtime? What would you like to see change or it to go back to? 

Matt: Man, what a great question. The internet has definitely been a blessing and a curse to our (and virtually every other) scene. It’s amazing in that you have unlimited access to new music and like-minded people. It’s great because people can contact their favorite bands and order their merch so much easier than we had to via snail mail. I love hearing from people that like our music! ….but…It sucks in that has taken away the personal accountability that people in the scene used to have. When I was a kid, if you said something about someone eventually you had to account for it…usually at a show and it usually ended badly for at least one of the parties involved. The internet has turned every weak, shallow, unemployed kid living in their parent’s basement a tough as nails authority on everything from music to politics. Unfortunately, the same social traits that landed them in that basement are the same ones we get to enjoy seeping through in their critiques on life and their liberal use of insults that if made face to face would land the in the hospital if not worse. I don’t want to say that I wish it was like it used to be, because those words often get dismissed as those of someone who has become jaded and tired of the scene. I will say that I wish that everyone who talked shit online had to meet the object of their online garbage at a show….outside.

RDW: With 2013 coming to a close, what do you look forward to in 2014 and beyond? 

Spending some time with my family; Europe. Another full length; The East Coast; Those new Star Wars movies……and a few surprises I won’t mention just yet.

RDW: Any final words? 

Nick, thanks so much for the interview and thank you so much for what you’re doing for the scene with this blog. It’s so easy to log on and talk shit about the people who are actively trying to contribute. Trying to do something positive to enhance the scene is a hell of a lot harder. Respect.

Band Info:
Noi!se Offical Facebook Page
Machete MFG- Noi!se Merch
Shop Shogun- Noi!se Merch