– Hey there, hope all is well. Which member of the band am I speaking to?
All’s as well as can be expected, thanks! Or at least I haven’t read the news in a few days, so I don’t know just how bad things really are. Hope all’s well with you. I’m Dan, I do vocals and now I play bass as well.
– Can you introduce No Sir, I Won’t to the readers? The circumstances under which the band formed, the musical influences, fellow band members etc.
NO SIR, I WON’T started when I moved back to Boston in about 2009 (I’d been living in California and playing in a band called SURRENDER), and I got together with some friends who had a mutual interest in making political punk music. It was a rocky start, people had a lot of shit going on in their lives, but eventually we shuffled the line-up a little and started playing in earnest. At that point I was singing, Jeff (BRAIN KILLER, WITCHES WITH DICKS etc.) was playing guitar, Dominick (SUBCLINIX, SAVAGEHEADS etc.) was playing bass, and another Dan (LIBYANS, FOREIGN OBJECTS etc.) was on drums. That’s the line-up that recorded the demo, the first 7” and the first 12”. Eventually Dominick moved to drums, I took over on bass and our friend Kelley (FUNERAL CONE etc.) joined to do vocals as well. We’ve all been influenced by all kinds of things, and while the most obvious influences on the band are CRASS, CONFLICT, CHUMBAWAMBA, bands like that, everyone has brought their own interests in as well. For instance I was involved with the noise/experimental scene for a long time, I love prog rock, metal… I grew up as a total metalhead in the 80s before I discovered punk and realized that there was a whole alternative lifestyle available to me. I imagine it’s different in Pakistan, but in America the metal scene (especially in the 80s) was mostly a-political, mostly kind of braindead, mostly about partying, basically another version of mainstream society, with all the same misogyny and shitty attitudes. Punk opened up a way to make music and be involved in a community based around political ideals and personal ideals that were really different from what I saw around me every day.
– The Anarcho-Punk tradition dates back to the late 70’s and has been through several ups and downs. How do acts like yourself stay relevant in the current political and musical climate?
I’m not sure we do! But for me, anarcho-punk has never been a particular sound, it’s not as narrow and constrained as, say, D-beat is. It’s always been much freer and more creative, much more wide-ranging, mostly connected by a general political outlook. If you go back to the early days of anarcho-punk in the UK, you hear bands like D&V, HIT PARADE, RUBELLA BALLET doing all kinds of strange things, looking different, sounding different. It’s not only based off of CRASS. So likewise, when we started this band we took the political ideals and the goals and brought our own thing to it. We grew up playing in street punk bands, hardcore bands, pop-punk bands, grew up in a different time and place and so the result was naturally something different, something born out of the the here and now. The important thing was that we grew up with the same ethos as the old anarcho-punk bands in mind. Even if you weren’t an active revolutionary or something, it was hard to be involved in punk around here in the early 90s and NOT encounter anarchism, not be influenced by that day to day political outlook. In the end I think that by not trying to sound just like CRASS or CONFLICT, and by allowing the band to take its own course it naturally adapted to the current climate. That is to say, the current climate of the DIY scene. Neither our politics nor our music are at all relevant to what’s going on in mainstream society, as far as I can tell! I wish they were…
– Do you believe Boston is a fertile breeding ground for politically and socially conscious punk acts?
I think it has been and it could be, but I don’t see a lot of that going on here right now. Boston has a really transient population because there are so many schools, and it can be hard to form a solid, lasting community like the kind that I think political activity often stems from. Also the trend in punk (at least in the US) right now seems to be towards a more nihilistic kind of attitude, and a more superficial engagement with (or outright rejection of) the political aspect of the music and the lifestyle. That’s a generalization of course, there are people in Boston and elsewhere who are doing great work and making great political statements, but particularly in Boston right now that seems to be the exception and not the rule.
– Apart from music, what literary, non-musical influences do the band members hold?
I can only speak for myself, but I’ve always been heavily into science fiction. Philip K. Dick is big for me, Ursula LeGuin… I think those authors have influenced my outlook at least as much as the bands I mentioned before. Science fiction has always been a forum for radical views, a way for people in repressive conditions (Yevgeny Zamyatin in Soviet Russia, for instance) to voice their ideas with just enough of a remove from reality that they could get away with it. I’m not a conspiracy theory person, at least relatively speaking, but SF has definitely contributed more or less to a certain paranoia I have about the state and about what’s really going on in the world. Lyrically and rhythmically I also take influence from poets like Blake and Tennyson. I like their romantic, dramatic style, but I also like the more down to earth diction of people like William S. Burroughs. When I’m writing lyrics I try to balance those two things, the more poetical and the more vulgar, I guess you could say.
– Any upcoming plans? Splits, EP’s, full length?
Unfortunately we’re lying low right now, Dominick is out on the West Coast for a while. Planning to do a tour at the beginning of the Summer and hopefully make a new recording then.
– Thanks for your time. Cheers from Pakistan.
Thank you! It’s a rare treat to hear from someone in Pakistan, I hope people in the States can learn more about the music scene there through your work. Cheers! Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
No Sir I Won’t on Bandcamp