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


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