Getting to know Blue Collar Convicts:
Where are you from and when did you get started?
Keith: Where to even start? Blue Collar Convicts got started back in 2002 (I think) up in Pepperell, MA. I’m only going by copyright paperwork and it seems we started more presently than the dates the paper work reveal anyway. Most bands get rolling with a focus on something, but in this case BCC was supposed to be a side-project and nothing more. I was playing in a band with two biological brothers that hired me to play bass for them on a studio project. Somewhere during pre-production for our sophomore effort I decided I needed a break to record some of the material I’d been writing for a few years. Gratefully the brothers were willing to learn and rehearse the stuff I’d created. We rehearsed for two months and hit the studio. The sessions were brutal at first. Too much arguing and alcohol consumption left some songs far from completion. Overall the 5-song EP that came out of it received great critical acclaim nationwide but because of the bickering I finished the album with only myself and Dave Minehan (“The Neighborhoods) turning the knobs.
The brothers wanted to go back to the other gig and finish the follow up record but I bailed because I knew in my heart that the Blue Collar Convict journey was going be special. After a year off writing and playing solo acoustic gigs I decided to get it up and rolling again. I called my longtime comrade Jonny “Smash” Doty (“The Bloodsuckers”) to come aboard and start writing new material together. Coyotero and Delorenzo (drums & bass respectively) came on to help us get rehearsals going, however they left the band due to differences and the “$2 & Change” Album was finished up with only Smash and myself. BCC was effectively dead before we could even get the album a proper release party. After about 3 years of ripping through rhythm sections we came across Steve (Drums) and Dean (Bass) and the Blue Collar Convicts lineup has been the same ever since.
Who are you and who does what in the band?
Steve: Well for starters, I’m the drummer. I also handle our entire web presence and most of the bookings for the greater Boston area. Jonny Smash is our lead guitarist/vocs and does a lot of work on our flyers and merch. He’s been in a number of bands over the years and has ridiculous skills on the strings. Keith Jerszyk is our founder and lead song writer on rhythm guitar and lead vocals and covers booking for our northern MA/southern NH constituents. Dean Rider is our voice of dissent and bassist. He’s really good at getting Keith all sorts of riled up.
How would you best describe the sound?
Keith: We have many influences and desires when it comes to music. They range from our mutual love of all things punk rock to our basic foundations of classic rock, early 50’s/60’s rock & rockabilly to your staple blues and country.
Steve: We put forth a combination of all these genres that can be best described (we think) as “Garage Punk”. It’s nitty, it’s gritty, it’s catchy, the lyrics are hard working blue-collar relatable, and it hold true to both the punk and rock ‘n roll genres.
Dream rock moment (real or not)?
Jonny: I had a dream where I went to see KISS and they were old, not in makeup, and wearing their 80’s glam garb. They were at an arena but nobody was there. I just walked up to the stage and chatted them up and they invited me up on stage. We started running through their old 70’s stuff and the crowd started showing up and we really rocked the house. Everything was fine until Paul wanted to play “Lick It Up” (which I do, regrettably, know how to play) and then I woke up!
Does the time I took mescaline and watched Headbangers Ball and Gene Simmons stuck his head out of the TV and wagged his tongue in 3D count?
Steve: I am a die-hard Fat Wreck Chords fan. In that, my biggest (real) dream is to be in a band that either gets on the label or at least gets recognition from them. I think we have the sound and the ingenuity for it, but are just lacking in the notability nationwide. Now that things are moving, hopefully that will change.
Dean: To tour oversees (or anywhere for that matter) without coming home in the hole.
Still got day jobs?
Dean: While there is definitely great potential for BCC, we do have families and jobs to tend to. Keith works his ass off (10-12 hour days 5-6 days a week) has a wife and two sons that he needs to keep a lot of time for. Jonny works full-time and has a newborn son and a beautiful wife. Steve works behind a desk full-time and has to take on side-contracts to barely squeak by. I’m a truck driver with a newborn on the way (6 months or so down the line).
Steve: I think our only real regret is not getting the band together as the line-up stands sooner. BCC has ripped through rhythm sections like one may cheap whores. Bassist after bassist, drummer after drummer and only 8-9 years later did we finally settle on a lineup that is all of what Blue Collar Convicts is, wants to be and stands for. The only problem now is that many of us have full fledged families making large-based touring pretty much out of the question and an ever growing shitty economy makes it hard to pay the personal bills, let alone keeping the gas flowing for local gigs, the electricity pumping for our rehearsal studio and the extra funds to cover things such as merch or studio time for a new album.
Jonny: That I squandered most of my talent for drugs. That I sold my VoxAC10TS for rent (and drugs/smokes). That I should’ve gone to Berklee on guitar instead of taking the flute scholarship. That my date with Winona Ryder fell through..frickin’ Johnny Depp…true story…