Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An interview with the Barroom Heroes!

The Barroom Heroes have been kicking around for awhile now and have been doing some seriously big things.  From getting their first show shut down in their hometown of Weymouth, MA. at the infamous "Bastards" bar, to being taken under the wing of local notable acts (the Dropkick Murphys & the Street Dogs) for an opening slot on some shows, these boys have been making the rounds.  Whats great is that is only the beginning, the Barroom Heroes have plans to continue going strong and have no intention of stopping.  Read on for a little history of the band, their experience with the Dropkick Murphys, future endeavors and so much more!  

Barroom Heroes Questions To get started, how about you guys start with a history of the band? How did the band start? How did you get your name? And tell us that ever so infamous story about getting shut down at “Bastards” (correct name?) in Weymouth?
                  Jake: My older brother Matt had played this ensemble program with his friend, Dylan Lynch, and I use to idolize the kid for everything he did. He was the one who inspired me to play guitar. So I started up lessons with Bill Egan who ran the ensemble program that my brother and Dylan played in. After a few lessons of guitar I remember becoming so frustrated with the thing and not getting it. But one morning I remember waking up before school and I started playing and trying for the life of me to play dirty water and for some reason, it just clicked that morning and I never put the guitar down since then. But I would go into the lesson with Bill, always asking him “We ready for the band yet?” and week after week I kept asking and asking em until I think he finally had enough of me and let me start one up with my brother. Kinda weird to think we were 8 and 9 years old at the time and I started playing when I was 7.
                  We all started playing together at the top of South Shore Music every Friday. For some reason we couldn’t think of a name to call ourselves. But on all of the rides we would listen to the Dropkick Murphy’s live on St. Patrick’s Day album and I remember one of my favorite songs,  Barroom Hero coming on one time and I knew that was the name to call ourselves. Later we found out that was the name that started it all.

                  After 6 weeks playing and learning songs, Bill at set up a show for all the bands in the program at this place called Basta’s. It wasn’t the best place in the world but when you pack your friends in family in, you can turn any room into the place to be. Me and my brother made up these flyers with our name and date of the show and started handing them out to everyone we could in school. Somehow this licensing officer for the town got a hold of it and thought it was “unacceptable.” Now this would have been our second show at Basta’s with Bill and his program but the licensing officer came into the place a couple hours before the show and told the owner that you’re shutting down show. We were all pretty upset but we still showed up calling and telling people that the show had been shut down.  The next day my mother had gone to the papers telling the story, how we were kids looking for a place to play for our friends and family when some guy decided to take a good thing and turn it into something bad. A lot of people were behind us at every step and we couldn’t thank them enough even to this day, we got a lot of support but we also received a lot of fire. Ken Casey from the Dropkick Murphy’s saw one of these papers and somehow got a hold of my mother’s number and gave her a call. We were all in shock because this was one of the guys that we grew up listening to day in and day out, the band that influenced how we did everything. Since that call in 2009 the Dropkick’s as well as so many other bands and people we have met on the way have helped us tremendously and we couldn’t be any more grateful for what everyone has done.

Nick: When we started the band I was eight and my oldest brother mat was playing in a band with his friends. Since I was eight I thought they were the coolest kids playing in that band and so that following Christmas my father got me a bass and that's how it started,the name we got for the band was barroom heroes we wanted that name because not only was it my favorite song but it was there first song they wrote(or at least that for all I know), the story of Bastas was that we played in in ensemble program where we would play at Bastas like once every few months, and so before the shows we would hand out flyers and we prayed that at least a few kids would show up, but instead of that a cop decided it wasn't appropriate that kids were playing a bar but in our defense it was a Wednesday evening and so the show was shut down and instead of is just wining and bitching we decided to go to the papers and when we did the co-owner of mcgreevys (I wish I remembered his name) showed ken the other co-owner and it really started from there.

Davey: Well I joined the band a little over 2 years ago, so I missed the beginning. However I had just started getting into the music scene and the word about BRH became big local news. I came to find out that Jake and Nick's mom went to school with my dad, and our grandparents are also very close friends. One thing leads to another, the original drummer abandons ship, and Carrie asked my dad if I wanted to be a fill-in since it was getting close to st. Patties day and that is obviously the prime season for the band. I had only been playing drums for a year or 2... so as soon as I got the offer, I practiced constantly and studied the songs in one ear during school.. basically trying my absolute hardest to be half way decent. We practiced like 4 times over 2 weeks and then got straight into gigs.

What was your experience the very first time with the Dropkick Murphy’s? How did they take you under their wing and approach you guys? What has been the best experience so far with them? Aside from DKM, who are some bands that you guys have played with that have influenced you three as musicians or have helped you improve over the last three years? Local bands to bigger name bands? 

Jake:The first time we met the Dropkick’s was at the Tweeter Center when they invited us to the show they were playing with Aerosmith. We showed up and they gave us VIP/Back stage passes the whole deal.  As soon as we got there we welcomed with open arms by Ken, he talked to his showed us the tour bus and introduced us to the rest of the band. It was all real quick cuz they had to be on stage in a little bit.  Every second when you’re with those guys is a memorable one but the best experience I’ve had was when they took us on tour. We did 8 shows over 13 days going as far as Indiana to South Carolina. The whole thing was unbelievable playing to these huge crowds but it was also crazy because we actually got the chance to hang out with the guys that we idolize. I remember sitting down backstage in Danbury CT eating lunch by myself when someone comes up from behind me and asks if the seat beside me was taken. I turned around and it was Matt Kelly. So he sat down, and we talked for about an hour. You realize that these guys are completely down to earth guys that look at themselves as regular guys who came into something big. The best experience was when Scruffy and James came backstage before the encore they were about to play. Kevin Roe(filling in for Jeff Delarosa) started playing Baba O’Riley as they were back cuz they didn’t need to be out there til later in the song. As the song started to come in James turned to Scruffy and asked” You wanna dance this one out?” I didn’t think much of it when he said it. Now if you’ve never seen these guys before they are these two big guys covered in tattoos that are true punk rockers. As the first hit of the cymbals come crashing down  these two tough guys break into the funniest dance moves that I’ve ever seen in my life and I started dying laughing, funniest thing I’ve ever seen I my life.  We have played with so many bands over the last couple years. A lot of local bands and a couple of bigger names but everyone has influenced me in one way or another. Whether it was watching and noticing a couple of chords that work together, song ideas to different kinds of amps and sounds I wanna recreate. Local bands that have influenced me in a great way and that everyone should check out is Jason Bennett and the Resistance, Old Edison, The Gobshites, Pub crawlers, Pity Whores, The FU’s, The Scrapes just way too many to list. I love the Street Dogs, Rancid, Mike Ness, Chuck Reagan, The Clash but my biggest influence is Joe Strummer.

Nick: The first time we played with them was at the Tsongus arena and it was amazing, they were all awesome we talked to all of them and when we played that night it was the best thing that ever happened to me
Well shit there are tons of bands that we played with that has helped us a ton and I would name as many as I could but we'd be here forever, but I can say that every band from Maine to Connecticut that we played with are amazing and a can't forget the swinging utters from California 

Photo by A.M. Saddler 2013

Barroom Heroes opening for Dropkick Murphys
Davey: My first gig was at presidents rock club in Quincy, the next day.. we played a block party behind the Tsongas arena in Lowell where the dropkicks were playing that night. What a way to pop that performance cherry! So a year passes by and suddenly we were asked to do a small long weekend tour opening for the dropkicks. This was such an awesome experience that words can barely describe. We played Philly, DC, and NYC within 3 or 4 days. Sold a lot of merch and gained alot of fans and its because each of us went on each stage with no fear and just did what we do best. Although the adrenaline rush was alot to handle and made us play Live and prime Ramones speed.. it was so much fun. I think our performances during that tour are what scored us the 2 week/8 show tour we did with the dropkicks last August which was the fun and experience of the first tour times 10. My favorite show other than the tours, was opening up for Big D and the Kids Table and Short Handed Goal at Fête in RI last December. All those dudes were nothing but nice. And the performances were inspiring to say the least.

The band recently played to a packed house at Middle East Upstairs to a band called Skinny Lister (who also played with DKM in March). How did that show go? Do you think it helped gain a consistent following for your band?  

Jake: The Show was the best local show I’ve ever played. Everyone showed up early to support us which was awesome. Skinny Lister absolutely killed it. We saw them at the HOB with the Dropkicks but to see them in a smaller more intimate venue where they right there in front of you was amazing.

Nick: Oh ya that was a great show, all the bands on the bill killed it, and really any show we play it helps us gain momentum .

Davey: The sold out show with Skinny Lister was nothing but fun all night. It was a totally new crowd for us so that show really helped keep our name in the air. Also, incredibly nice band mates.. there was no real feeling of competition, it was just great music with new friends. Personally, I've always been a perfectionist. I like the thought that you can always get better at your instrument or even learn other ones. The band never settles for less when it comes to writing, if it ever feels like we are, one of us will speak up. But we always keep our heads up and try to motivate each other with good vibes. 

As musicians, how do you push yourselves to get better? Do you consistently strive to meet goals and have a “never settle for less” attitude? What is the biggest piece of advice you have received from some of the veterans in the scene?

Jake: I push myself by learning all different kinds of music. You never know what you can pick up and apply through different styles of music, you can’t be close minded, I know I was guilty of it but once you open up, you become a better musician.

Nick: I push myself all the time, in life and in the band I always try to make my music as unique as possible which essentially means I make it hard on purpose. I never settle for less if I make a song that everyone likes I want to make another song that makes THAT song sound like shit! But the biggest piece of advice that the veterans of the scene gave us is just be yourself, no bullshit just care about the scene and do everything for anyone that you can do, just be a good person and never ever forget your roots.
We always are hoping to play with new bands as much as possible but nothing to big except the warped tour but other than that we're gonna start recording as soon as possible. Thank you nick! Stay golden!!

Davey: We are in the middle of our next album, which should be full length, but you know.. Punk length. We are also VERY pumped to be on Warped Tour this year. Its time someone refreshes people on how great warped tour used to be.. and I'm confident we can give everyone a taste by melting their faces. Its weird though, playing gigs I've not even dreamed of, I try not to let it get to my head, but c'mon.. this fucking rocks!!


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