A band from Attleboro, U-S-A, the NEUTRINOS have been cutting their orthodontically-perfected teeth in the glamorous Providence rock-n-roll scene since the summer of 2011. Initially an exclusively live experience, the NEUTRINOS finally got around to releasing their debut opus, Surf Cult this winter and are poised to dominate the ever-growing market that is physical media. Comprised of the titular Johnny Neutrino on bass, the mononymous Preston on guitar, and brothers Andy Anxiety and Slick Nick on drums and guitar, respectively, the NEUTRINOS are ready to be the fiercest fools at the ball.
Preston – Guitar/Shades
Slick Nick – Guitar/Tertiary Vocals
Johnny Neutrino – Bass/Clean Screamz
Andy Anxiety – Drums/Van
INTERVIEW WITH NEUTRINOS
(Interview conducted and written by Connor Sullivan)
Q: A piece in Attleboro’s The Sun Chronicle mentioned how Preston and John met over Pokémon. Can you recount this saga?
John: A beautiful love story.
Preston: It was over a keychain of the Pokémon Wigglytuff. The keychain was swiped from my bag. And this was before the premiere of Dora the Explorer, so I couldn’t preemptively say, “Swiper, no swiping!”
Q: Hilarious. If each of you were forced to pick a Pokémon you most identified with, who would it be and why?
Preston: I’ve gotten a lot of comparisons to Tangela. And I can get down with that. I think it’s because I’m a mess.
Nick: Togepi. Because I’m a big baby that puts a shell on the outside, even when it’s obvious that I’m soft, mushy, and whiny on the inside.
John: I like Haunter and Sandslash a lot. I identify with them a lot.
Nick: Andrew has to be Voltorb. He builds up a lot of frustration and just explodes. But he’s good to have around, too. He’s useful and powers the band, just like how Voltorbs powered the Power Plant in the games.
Preston: Or he might also be Electabuzz. Either way, he’s definitely an Electric-type, even if he’s the only band member that doesn’t use any electric instruments.
Q: So if John and Preston linked up via Pokémon, how did the rest of the band meet?
Nick: I met Andrew when I was born, since he’s my older brother.
John: Andrew and I met at New England Tech. He was in one of my classes, and I was telling Preston, “Yeah, there’s this kid in my class that wears all these cool band shirts, but I can’t tell if he’s a dick or not.” We ended up talking about dead bassists one day — I brought up Dee Dee Ramone and he mentioned that Sex Pistols guy. After that, we started talking and throwing around the idea of launching a band. Preston and I were playing a lot of Red Dead Redemption at the time too, and decided we wanted to make surfy cowboy music.
Nick: I met Preston years back, even though I only got involved with Neutrinos recently. But I don’t remember how exactly we met. Probably through Andrew.
Preston: Long ago, Nick filled in on bass for us. And four years later, we added him as a second guitarist. For a while, John and I would both play guitar and would just have a revolving bassist.
John: But I ended up just sticking with bass.
Preston: I used to be a bassist, primarily. All throughout high school and for a good chunk of time after high school, I played bass in every genre imaginable. I was the bassist in a post-punky band, the bassist in a black metal band, the bassist in a hip-hop band, and even the bassist in an alt-country band. I was the token bass player for a while, and then eventually you just wish you had more strings. So we started Neutrinos, and I just figured it would be fun to switch instruments.
Andrew: That’s the thing about this band — we’re all playing instruments that weren’t what we originally started out playing in other bands. John used to play guitar, I used to be a vocalist… it was a nice little shake-up.
Preston: Over the course of the first year and a half, our primary bands just eventually dropped and Neutrinos became our focus. Our first show actually emerged from a set my original band was supposed to play. Instead of not playing it at all, I played with Neutrinos. We were at the point where we were just experimenting with how our sound would play out live. We also had a different drummer for our first show. It’s like the first Wu-Tang Clan album, where Cappadona probably would’ve been considered a real member of the Wu-Tang Clan, but he was in jail when 36 Chambers was recorded, so they replaced him with Method Man. So [Cappadona] later spent 25-odd years pretending to be a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. Just like how Andrew has spent forever pretending to be a member of Neutrinos.
Q: If you guys were members of the Wu-Tang Clan, who would you be?
Nick: GZA, because he’s the only one I can think of.
Andrew and John, simultaneously: Method Man!
John: Fine. I guess I just won’t even be a part of the Wu-Tang Clan. I’m gonna be Ice Cube. Solo Ice Cube.
Preston: It’s tough, because I enjoy the character of Ol’ Dirty Bastard. But I’m not him. There’s only one. I’m the one that records all of our stuff, I’m the one that says how it’ll be. So I’ve gotta be RZA by default — the guy who plotted world domination for the group through their solo albums. And it fucking working. We’re still talking about Liquid Swords and all those solo records.
Q: Does this pop-cultural consciousness of things like Pokémon, Star Wars, and The Oh-Sees [the latter two are featured on John and Preston’s shirt at the time of the interview] manifest itself in your music at all?
Preston: Yes and no. It’s certainly not to the level of a really referential thing. I don’t think there’s really any sort of product endorsement or movie references in our lyrics. But I guess it’s our attitude. Like we don’t have a song about the Ninja Turtles, but we give the same vibe. We don’t have songs about Scott Pilgrim or X-Men, but our band kind of sounds like Sex Bob-Omb and we sort of look like mutants.
Q: What themes does your music evoke?
Preston: Just silly stuff. Lots of silly love songs and silly rock ‘n’ roll songs.
John: As long as the energy’s there, it can be about any topic.
Nick: Super easy-going, fun, pop.
Preston: It’s the same approach as The Beach Boys, in that we just write about what we know.
Q: Is the songwriting process as messy as you [Preston] make yourself out to be?
Preston: I’ll come up with a song or John will come up with a song, and we’ll bring it to the rest of the band. And just move the pieces around until it makes sense. Or we’ll jam at band practice and then flesh that out into a song. It’s kind of a mix. And now that Nick’s in the mix, it’s similar. We’ll just take a riff and move from there.
Q: Can you describe the recording of your album Surf Cult at the “Masterson Manor”?
Preston: When we started recording that, it was just after my house had been flooded. Plus, it was in the process of being renovated. So there were no interior walls — just exterior ones. All the work was being done on the house from Monday to Friday. Friday night, when the last worker would leave, we’d load the computer and the drums and amps and record a bunch of stuff, load up Sunday night, and bounce around a bit. It was fun trying to achieve that wall of sound without any walls.
Q: What’s the scoop on future releases?
Preston: That’s top-secret. We will disseminate such information on a strictly need-to-know basis.
Q: Individually speaking, what are everyone’s three desert island discs?
Nick: The Con by Tegan and Sara, Searching for a Former Clarity by Against Me!, and then Oh! Calcutta! by The Lawrence Arms.
John: This is really tough. Maybe Revolver by the Beatles, Today! by the Beach Boys, and then I guess the Donnas first record.
Preston: I would go with Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys, that reissue of Little Deuce Coop and All Summer Long by the Beach Boys on one CD — even though I know that’s cheating –, and End of the Century by the Ramones.
Andrew: Oh golly! Watch Out! by Alexisonfire, Common Dreads by Enter Shikari, Black Sands by Bonobo.
Q: Do you think you’re very much indebted to the sound of the Beach Boys?
Preston: Yeah, for sure. But while we think we sound like the Beach Boys when we play, that’s probably not going to be someone else’s immediate reaction to our music. Some people will think we sound like the Ramones or something. We get weird comparisons, and it’s hard to imagine what people are thinking of. Everyone draws from a different angle.
Nick: You take inspiration from wherever it comes. You can draw parallels to all kinds of stuff; it doesn’t ever feel like ripping it off if we’re just emulating what we love.
Preston: Listening to certain songs, you can definitely tell what records we had on repeat. Or what riff we were drawing inspiration from. But like if I were to show it to a person in the band I was influenced by, they wouldn’t be like, “You stole our riff.” We all have different influences.
Nick: We have a lot of similar interests, but each of us also has very particular taste. And that translates to what we do.
Andrew: I get called out after a lot of shows for the hardcore influence in my drumming. Everything from Hatebreed to Black Flag.
Q: How do you view Attleboro?
Preston: It’s a weird town at a weird point. There’s a lot of work being done to improve downtown right now. Mayor Dumas is trying to build a legacy for himself by building lots of parks and stuff. But at the same time, the high school is falling apart and kids are getting picked up for drive-bys. There are gangs and people have even been set on fire in Attleboro. The contrast of it all is what keeps us going. Like there’s a beautiful riverside park being built in Attleboro, and then, just off the highway, a guy is burning on the side of the road.
Nick: As someone that doesn’t live there, Attleboro seems pretty nice. Massachusetts towns always have these really nice city centers. And the commuter rail is pretty sweet. The Portuguese feast blade meat is simply divine, additionally. John describes it as “Off the FREAKIN chain, BRUH!”
(Kevin from Math The Band goes around asking if anyone would like a stamp, briefly interrupting the interview)
Q: So anyway, are you close with any of other the bands on the Foo Fest bill?
Preston: Of course. I work with Ian from Hairspray Queen, and I’ve known him for a while. We’ve played with Midriffs and the various projects of Eric Baylies (of Minibeast) a lot.
Nick: I’m a little more removed from the scene. But it’s gonna be really cool to see all the bands that are playing.
Preston: It’s a good bucket list show, too. We’re sharing a bill with Lightning Bolt, and not many more recent bands can say that, I guess. Playing with Minibeast (with Pete Prescott from Mission of Burma) is a cool opportunity, too!