Baby, Beer, and a Blunt Before Breakfast: My Interview with Born Without Bones

By: Harrison Giza

I’ll get right to the point. Born Without Bones fucking rule. The first time I heard Baby, their latest batch of pop punk pleasure, I felt like a ten-year-old listening to Dookie for the first time. I was all by myself, alone in my room, pretending to play along with each power chord that slipped into my eardrums.
The group consists of four guys – Scott Ayotte (guitar and vocals), Jonathan Brucato (guitar), Jim Creighton (bass), Burton Wright (drums). Each one of them has taste, talent, and a deep admiration for Rage Against the Machine, which is as adorable as it is humbling. Sure, they play pop punk, but unlike the hordes of punk pretentious who claim to know “what really punk is,” Born Without Bones embrace each nook and cranny of their past and possibly-embarrassing favorite bands (Matchbox 20 and John Mayer included). They are a group that is unafraid of doing what they want. That’s why they’ll only grow bigger.
Each track they make fails to disappoint. “Cheap Fun,” the fourth track off Baby, is so goddamn good that I just have to say how good it is. Wright’s drumming is pre-acid Bonham, violent and drooling for more chances to pound that snare into the ground. The guitar and bass are A-lister status, hooking you in like the forty-ounce friends Ayotte screams about.
I got to talk to the band just a few weeks ago. After the interview, I could feel the amount of appreciation they have for their fans, knew the care they put into their music, and a sense that even they know how good they are. Do yourself a favor and listen to what they have to say.

HG: So many pop-punk bands sound like they’re TRYING to emulate their heroes. Baby is a breath of fresh air in that regard. How did the album go from idea to a reality?
Scott: With Say Hello, I was really trying to emulate pop punk bands. Once we got to Baby, as a songwriter, I was going back to the bands that initially got me excited about music; not the stuff that all of my friends liked at the time. I wrote a lot of songs at my dad’s house, really late at night, over the course of two years. It just came out of that.
Jonathan: We just did what felt right to us at the time. Baby was one of the most exhausting thing we’ve ever done, together and individually. Everything was an uphill struggle and I think it really comes out in the sound.
Jim: We don’t really feel like a pop punk band. It didn’t feel that way to me when I started out in this band. The three of us went into a rehearsal space in Charlestown, MA, practiced a ton and just worked it out.
 HG: Who are your biggest influences? Who made you want to play music?
Jim: A local blues band called Four On The Floor was the first time I can remember wanting to play bass, As Cities Burn. Queen was the first rock video that I’ve ever seen.
Burton: Todd Mackey, when he played drums in Life In Your Way. He did a lot of double bass stuff and wasn’t anything special, but he played with a lot of energy and he looked really cool. Same thing with Travis Barker growing up – lots of energy, really exciting to watch. Bad Brains, old hardcore and soundtracks to skate videos. Also rap.
Scott: The Beatles, for sure. Aerosmith between ’73-’77. Andrew Nordstrom, for sure. I’ve seen that kid play in tons of bands. All of them were different and his guitar playing always discouraged my guitar playing. All I really wanted then was for him to like one of my bands.
Jonathan: Jason Myles Goss, a folk artist from Hopedale, MA and the older brother of my friend Brian. I remember seeing him perform in middle school and immediately going home to play guitar. My dad giving me my first Led Zeppelin record really blew my skull apart.
All: Rage Against The Machine.

HG: Describe your perfect breakfast.

Jim: Neiman Ranch double-smoked bacon with over-easy eggs. Home fries cooked in the bacon fat, on an english muffin, and a blunt.
Burton: Medium Iced Dunkin, hazelnut regular with a cinnamon raisin bagel, toasted with plain cream cheese on it.
Scott: Two eggs over-easy, corned beef hash, well done home fries, wheat toast, too much ketchup and a little bit of hot sauce.
Jonathan: Linda Brucato’s homemade chocolate chip pancakes, tall glass of chocolate milk, two scrambled eggs with cheese, everything bagel with butter, crispy bacon.
HG: How did a band from Milford, Mass end up recording in Baltimore, Maryland?
Scott: J. Robbins. You know, I thought about all of the engineers that we could have recorded with close to home. After having a call with J, I knew that we spoke the same language on how we liked music to sound. Plus, he’s recorded a bunch of my favorite albums.
Jim: Out of our list of ideas, J. Robbins was the one that Scott was obsessing over and convinced us all to go in that direction.
Jonathan: It took a lot of convincing and a lot of trust, but J was retrospectively the obvious choice.

HG: When you look back at how you guys started, what is the biggest difference between your music then and now?

Scott: I feel like I have a toolbox now. I know what to do and what not to do, but at the same time I feel like I’m breaking old rules and making new ones. Currently, I’m fixated on writing better lyrics and writing from a more universal point of view.
HG: Tell me about touring. What is the best and worst thing about it?
Burton: Worst thing is having to pee all the time. Best thing is doing what I like doing with cool people.
Scott: Best thing is food and playing music every night, for sure. Worst thing is that it’s more exhausting than any job I’ve ever had. I wake up every morning feeling beat up.
Jim: Best thing – doing what I love. Worst thing – loading out.
Jonathan: Worst thing – the way my feet feel and smell. Best thing – getting to perform every night for an extended period of time.

 HG: What is next for you as band? Where do you want to be a year from now?

All: Keeping up with writing, keep playing, keep showing up. Put out a new record on a label.
HG: Could you briefly describe your music-making process?
Scott: Usually it starts with a small idea or something coming together on the spot. Sometimes I bring a full idea to practice and have an idea of what it’s going to sound like but after collaboration, it winds up being better.
HG: What’s the origin of that name?
All: Take it for what it’s worth. We’re all shameless John Mayer fans.


HG: What’s your favorite beer?

Jim: Half of a Dead Guy Ale.
Burton: Tears.
Scott: Dogfish Head Miles Davis Bitches Brew.
Jonathan: Currently, Wormtown Be Hoppy. Everything Jack’s Abbey is doing right now.

HG: If you could say one thing to your fans, what would it be?

Scott: Thanks for being patient. I know we don’t put out as much music as a lot of other bands do, but we swear that we’re working hard. 
Jim: Thanks for keeping me cool in the summer time, when my house is really warm and we don’t have any AC.
Burton: We have fans?
Jonathan: You make my dreams come true,  ooh ooh. oh-oh. 

HG: Finally, if you could play with one other group, who would you play with and why?

Jim: Kanye West.

Jonathan: Foo Fighters.
Burton: Three 6 Mafia.
Scott: ’96-2002 Matchbox Twenty. Right now, Jimmy Eat World. With JEW, I could play a show with them and it would be cool, but then after, I could watch them play 23 and lose my shit.
For more on the band: @bornwobonesband

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