Foo Fest 2013: Neutral Nation

| An interview with Tom Buckland of Neutral Nation |
How has Neutral Nation managed to never play AS220 in all these years? (i think this is true?) Are you excited to play Foo Fest?  

We actually played at AS220 twice, years ago, when it was on Richmond Street. Very fun shows. At least one, possibly both, acoustic. There’s video footage out and about, but my copy is in storage, because Jen and I still haven’t moved in anywhere to unpack. We’re all stoked to play Foo Fest. Dave’s 5-year-old gets to see her dad play live. I’ve been a fan of AS220 since it started on Weybosset Street, above PPAC. It’s awesome watching it grow and still maintain its vision and mission. Now it’s just mind blowing where it has gotten to. Great to see the energy of the place.

Any stories from the time (times) NN opened for GG?

Well I wasn’t in the band yet. GG was one of the first shows the guys ever did. Once in Massachusetts,  the other at the Living Room in Providence. The first one, Dexter actually supplied the PA for the show. It was the one they used for practice at the Lepper factory in Attleboro. NN played their set then GG came on and got through 2 or 3 songs and promptly shoved the microphone up his ass. Couple songs later, the police shut it down. GG went to return the mic to Dexter. Dexter declined.

What was in the water in Attleboro, of all places, that turned you all onto punk? And when did that happen?

Well, it was the suburbs, and that’s where hardcore really took hold. All the original members all went to Attleboro High School. I grew up in Miami, FL and Stumpy is from Connecticut. Dexter, Steve, Dave and I were into punk for years before the band. I’m old enough to have kind of started early, maybe ’78, but 1979 was the year I totally jumped in. The guys from up here were able to see incredible shows between Providence and Boston. I was out of school by then and working shows, doing lights and roadie work. They really got turned on to the live scene working with a band called Big World. John Cote was into jazz, and Stumpy loved the rock, and the reggae, and especially Rush due to Neil Pert.

What was the connection that led to NN become a “Providence band”, as opposed to a “Boston band”, since you were from MA?

The connection was the Living Room, run by Randy Hein and his brother Brian. They were booking local bands and punk rock. It became our home. We worked, and played, and went to shows there all the time. We grew to a good drawing band that Randy saw helped the out of town bands, so we started getting put on bigger and bigger bills. So, Providence was our musical hometown. Amazing shows came through here.

Can we look forward to more NN shows in the future?

Absolutely! We love playing, so we randomly book things here and there. We’re playing the Met on August 30th and being filmed for a PBS broadcast called Meet Me at the Met. Kind of an Austin City Limits thing hosted by Rudy Cheeks.