I really wanted to explore the local music scene from a younger person’s point of view so why not start with the teens in Rhode Island, where I live, more specifically on Aquidneck Island. AI is made up of 3 towns, Portsmouth, Middletown and Newport. So I want to introduce you to a very talented young man, at 14 years old, he started a hardcore punk band called Bullet Proof Backpack & his own record label, Youth Distribute.. this is Alex Simmons….
Q: Why do you think you relate so much to hardcore punk music? What is it about the music that you find so relatable?
A: I don’t know what draws me to punk, probably the community of people alike or the sense of no direction and chaos that it holds. The aggression and passion that is put into the music is another thing that I really like about punk.
Q: The Aquidneck Island local punk scene has some pretty good well known bands such as We Own Land & Never Coming Home but not so much hardcore punk like Bulletproof Backpack, the band you founded this year…..Who are the members of your band, what instruments do you play & who are some of the bands that you enjoy and find inspiration from?
A: We’re actually in the middle of transitioning members at the moment but it is me on vocals and guitar, Aidan, my sister on bass then our two friends Marie and Rob. Marie is on guitar and Rob is on drums. The music we play definitely takes a lot of inspiration from Black Flag, Poison Idea, SOA, Rampage, Boston Strangler, Infest and bands of that more harsh and fast style.
Q: I was a pretty big listener of punk music growing up in the 80’s and often would go back to listening to Repo Man Soundtrack and the band 7 Seconds and The Sex Pistols…if you had a chance to perform with any band of your choice, who would it be?
A: There’s a good range of bands BPB could fit in with, I think the dream show would be Minor Threat, Necros, Negative Approach and Black Flag, then on the other hand, Infest, Boston Strangler, Rival Mob and Siege.
Q: Talk about your 2 EP’s; Total Lockdown released in May ‘20 & the just recently released Never Obey.. I think TL is obvious what that refers to but talk about your writing process….are you constantly finding inspiration in everyday situations or using personal experiences for motivation for your lyrics?
A: The writing process is all over the place, I’d write some riffs, put them together, add drums and vocals then record. There’s not much to it haha. For lyrics, I just write down whatever comes to me at the time, most of the time, it is an emotion or experience I had or am going through.
Q: What kind of things besides music are you into?
A: I do a lot of art, play video games and watch tv, regular things I guess..
Q: Did Youth Distribute come soon after Bullet Proof Backpack? What type of projects is the label working on?
A: Youth Distribute did in fact come after BPB, I’m working on a compilation of a bunch of newer and younger bands and I needed somewhere to put it out, so I started Youth Distribute, but I also release music of my friends and my own,
Q: I always thought Aquidneck Island could use a good punk music festival…I think when COVID is under control, Youth Distribute might be able to sponsor something of a local event…Are those type of events something the label is looking to see more of on Aquidneck Island and particularly in Rhode Island?
A: I would love to see more shows on Aquidneck Island, bigger fests like Sound and Fury I’m really not into. I, personally, love small basement shows, that’s where more of the shows I go to are. But a bigger fest on Aquidneck Island, depending on location and bands, I’d be interested in, most likely I wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that.
Q: Where do you see hardcore punk music going in the next 5 years?
A: I could see punk in the same spot it is now, punk won’t die out as long as there are people who are interested, but I definitely plan to be doing the same things in five years. I’ll only be 19 at that point & I don’t think my love for punk can change in that little of time.
Q: Where can your fans find your merch & music to stream?
Thanks Alex for speaking with me & I can’t wait to catch a basement show!!
I wanted to give a shout-out to all the bands that I interviewed last year, I appreciate them taking time out to speak with me. I hope to bring you even more interviews & music reviews in 2021..
Until then, I am Your Music Stylist — Linda Dias.