Life is precious, especially for those in rock and roll bands. One moment you’re on stage in front of a sea of adoring fans, and the next you’re Razzle riding shotgun in Vince Neil’s car on the way to get brews. Like both Winger and Tesla told us back in the day, it’s easy come, easy go. So that makes it all the more awesome that Boston’s hard-charging, booze-fueled, no-bullshit band of seedy rock and roll misfits Cocked N’ Loaded made it to the 10-year mark, leaving a sweaty trail of chewed-out underwear and empty tall boys in their destructive wake.
Boston’s own decade of debauchery goes down Saturday at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, our very own Monsters of Rock bill led by Cocked N’ Loaded that also features a farewell show by Motherboar (who will be forever known for giving us the immortal Croctosquatch); the bar-room-brawl sounds of Mellow Bravo; a reunited Wild Zero (bringing Clay N. Ferno back to the stage!); the left-field electronic pop sounds of Bearstronaut (because every night needs a dance party intermission); and I am become Death, a hellacious new aggro band featuring dudes from Mean Creek, the Vershok, and of course, Cocked N’ Loaded frontman Kyle Neeson.
We caught up with Neeson recently and threw five random-but-heavy-handed questions at him, like pairing up the anniversary party bands with Bruins players, what to buy a band hitting the decade-mark, and what advice Neeson has for young bucks getting into the cruel game of rock and roll. Fire up some Cocked N’ Loaded tracks off their Bandcamp, then dive headlong on into the mind of Boston’s most badass 10-year-old.
Vanyaland: If each band on Saturday’s Middle East show bill were Boston Bruins players, past or present, who would they be?
Neeson: Motherboar would be Tyler Seguin, because they have a whole lotta potential, they’re going away too soon, and they’re a bunch of pussy hounds.
Mellow Bravo would be Adam Oates. They’re a complete package, and they will knock you the fuck out. They’re also pretty good looking, kinda like Oates. Have you seen Seager’s shoes?
Bearstronaut would be Sergei Gonchar, the only reason being that I loved that dude on our team. He ruled. Strong D linesman, in this case that D stands for DANCE, MUTHERFUCKER, DANCE.
Wild Zero is Miroslav Satan. Coming outta nowhere, helping rock your world. And all those dudes worship Satan anyway, so it just fits.
I am become Death would be Brad “Rad” Marchand. Most likely to cause a fight, smaller than the other bands, likes to party. Or Krug, cuz that guy is cool too. And new. With a wicked slapper.
Cocked N’ Loaded would be Mark Recchi, cuz that dude came here, brought the attitude, got shit done, helped us win that god damn Lord Stanley’s cup, and everybody loved him. He was the life of all the Bruins parties too, did I hear that back then? Probably not cuz I just made it up. Anyway. I purposefully did not invoke the name of Bobby Orr. I feel like that would be blasphemous. And really, in the end, aren’t we all Brad Marchand?
If you had to spend a Saturday night with each of the bands playing tomorrow night (outside the Mid East show), what would you do?
A Saturday night with Motherboar goes like this: we all show up somewhere, there’s Metallica and gangsta rap blaring simultaneously, and there’s magically a pig roasting on a spit. Then Kenny shows up with the KENNYFLASK and everything gets hazy and smells like Otto’s jacket. There’s a lot of yelling, some laughing, a few wizard staffs and a minor injury. No one really knows what happened the next day.
With Mellow Bravo, we would all go to some awesome local show, hang out, and hug a lot. Doherty would buy some shots and Keith and Jess would too, and we would all be up on stage, singing for/taking over the stage and whatever band had the unfortunate luck of having is all show up would eventually give in and succumb to the rock. Then Kenny world show up with the KENNYFLASK and it would all be a blur the next day.
Wild Zero would take us to the movies. We would see either a classic sci-fi flick or some Japanese horror movie at Coolidge. Somebody (me) will sneak in like a million nips and we will eventually start heckling the other movie goers. The night starts wind down, amicably, and then BOOM the KENNYFLASK, but no Kenny? Where is he? Anyway. Then we start rumbling and singing Battle Royale and most end up dead. Oh well.
With Bearstronaut we all get in a van and go to Montreal. Rue St Catherine. Know what I mean? STRIP CLUBS. Lets get dirty. Poutine fight! Du Mauriers. Looneys and tooneys. Then, once everyone is having fun and feeling loose, we shoot a music video together, for a cover of Primal Scream’s “Rocks,” and it ends up being the most popular YouTube video ever. (Neither Kenny nor the KENNYFLASK are allowed into Canada, as that would be considered an Act of War)
Saturday night with I am become Death would be dark and painful. There would be a lot of BLLs (Bud Light Limes), and a lot of spitting. We’d probably go to a show, everyone would start sweating really hard, and no one would be able to hear anyone else… KENNYFLASK.
A Saturday night with Cocked N’ Loaded is easily surmised, as long as you’ve seen Apocalypse Now. Picture the scene where Suzie Q is playing at the refueling depot. Now get that feeling you get where it all starts to fall apart. Now multiply it by Kenny, and nobody remembers shit.
What do you buy a rock band celebrating its 10th anniversary?
Socks. Aspirin. Some cheeseburgers. All the St Germain cocktails they want. And pay for breakfast in the morning. Splurge for the lobster benedict. Thank you!
What advice would you give a new rock band starting out today?
Get out there, play lots of shows, meet people, be nice. When you’re writing, when you’re playing, when you’re chatting up the girls — be cool. And what that means is to have fun doing what you’re doing. If you take what you’re doing too seriously, if you can’t laugh at your fuck ups, if you don’t have a sense of humor about yourself, you’re doing it wrong.
Rock n’ roll is many things to many people, but if it’s not fun, start over. Go back to the drawing board. If its work for you, then go get into classical music, or check your butt for a pole that may have lodged itself up there.
What’s the proudest moment of Cocked N’ Loaded over the past 10 years?
The proudest moment… I could drop a lot of names of bands we’ve played with, you know, like opening for the Dropkicks at a sold-out House of Blues, you know, whatever, because we had so much to do with that. But I would say the thing we’re the most proud of is lasting this long, maintaining the relationships with the friends we’ve had in the band and the other bands we’ve played with, and staying relevant enough to still get offered shows and great gigs like the one on Saturday night. Rock n Roll.