Quick Chat w/ Boston's Own Rebuilder
Proud to present to you today an interview with Boston's burgeoning punk-rock sensations Rebuilder. These guys have been making a name of themselves over the last few years with their highly styilized blend of hooks and ryhthms that have brought in fans and admirers from all over. Recently, I got the chance to chat with frontman Sal Ellington to talk about the band's beginnings, their new album "Rock N Roll In America", and his thoughts on the local Boston music scene currently. Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your names and your roles in the band?
Sal Ellington (guitar and lead vocals), Craig Stanton (lead guitar and vocals), Daniel Carswell (Bass), Rick Smith (Electric Piano and Organ), and Brandon Phillips (drums) and sometimes Pat Hanlen (Keys)
Take us behind the formation of Rebuilder and how all you guys met?
The long story is a bit uninteresting. The short version is all of us either played in or with each others bands in the past. I (Sal) had some songs I wanted to work on with some of my friends and we just evolved from there.
How would you describe your sound to those who aren't familiar with you guys?
I like to called us Gnarly-Punk because we are a mix of rock & roll and punk without the seriousness. We like to have a good time.
What is the earliest memory you can recall of listening to music at a young age and being obsessed with a particular artist?
My dad is a big classic rock guy. He showed me Aerosmith when I was a kid and brought me to see them at Great Woods on the Get A Grip Tour. I grew up playing drums and learned by playing along to Aerosmith records. It’s great to learn how to play in the pocket and keep time.
What are your thoughts on the Boston music scene right now and where it's headed?
I think we get a bad rap when we are compared to other cities like NY and Philly. We have a great scene with amazing bands but very few make it out of Boston. I think a lot of that has to do with bands that do make it bigger not returning the favor and taking out little bands on the road. It’s really great when bands use their popularity to help others. I saw that happen with No Trigger when Wilhelm Scream took them out. Dropkick Murphy’s have done that for a number of bands too. It’s just a bit unfortunately that others haven’t followed in those steps. I think more people are taking notice to our scene though.
Take us behind the recording process of your new album "Rock N Roll America" and what the whole experience was like?
I’ve recorded with various people and in different studios over the years. This was the first time that I felt completely happy with a record that I was a part of. Jay Maas from the first day made me feel like the record was being done in the right hands. He has a great level of knowledge and uses that to help with a timeline. He can do this while still allowing your record to sound amazing at the end of the day. You learn a lot from him everyday and not just about recording.
How has your sound evolved from when you first started up to where you are now?
I won’t take you all the way back before Rebuilder. When we started Rebuilder, I had 5 or 6 songs acoustic that I wanted to turn into rock songs. I decided to play guitar in the band too after never being confident to do so. The first EP is really us learning to play together with my songs. What we are now is a band that is writing together, influencing each other, and playing together. I think you can hear that on the new stuff.
For fun, what do you guys like to do in your spare time when not making music?
I think all of us barely have time to do anything else as a hobby. I work at the Wilbur theater, work with other bands, and run my own computer business. Craig works at Apple and does a good amount of ice fishing when the session is right. Rick Smith lives in Brooklyn now. He teaches drums and keyboards. Brandon works as a bartender and owns a sodastream. Daniel books shows at Charlie’s and drinks.
What's coming up on tap for you guys, any more shows to support the new record?
We have our record release show at O’Briens April 3rd. We then have a string of shows in April and May that will take us up to Montreal for Pouzza Fest and down the Skate and Surf in Jersey.
Lastly, what is your favorite part about being part of this band?
I enjoy that I get to be involved with a group of friends who I care a lot about. I’m glad I get to see them often.
Thanks once again to Sal for being so generous with his time in doing this interview. Rebuilder have been a band that I've had my eye on for quite some time, and they are a group of guys who continually get better year after year, and are ones that I totally respect for everything that they bring to the table for the Boston music scene. For more on Rebuilder, you can 'Like' them on Facebook right here.