Old North End – a Rock and Oddities Interview with Liam Sweeny
Written by Staff on September 19, 2023
RRX: You are Old North End. I’m guessing that it has to do with some area, maybe in Burlington. But I can imagine all I want. Better to get it from you. What does Old North End refer to? And was it an obvious choice for a name, or was it something that everybody mulled over?
OZ: Yes, The Old North End is a neighborhood in Burlington Vermont. Jon (drums), Jason (guitar) and I Chris, (Aka Oz) on vocals all grew up there, and Jason still lives there today. Our bassist (Eric) is not from there but needs to be mentioned as well for being 25% of who we are and what we stand for as a group. We are very passionate about the neighborhood, so the name was a no-brainer and represents us perfectly!!!
RRX: Old North End is from Burlington, northeastern Vermont. What’s the Vermont music scene like? People has a thought that Vermont is all mountainfolk and hippies, is there any truth to that, or reflection of that in the music? And when you have to travel, what direction are you more likely to go? Mass, or New York?
OZ: Believe or not Burlington has a long running and very active Punk/Metal/Hardcore scene, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of it since the late 80s and the rest of the guys came along after, but we had a venue in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s that was one of the longest running all ages punk rock /hardcore music venues called 242. This was the stomping ground for bands for almost 30 years, so it helped to keep an active scene and gave bands a platform to launch from, and when we head out on the road we love to play: NYC, Albany, Long Island, and Plattsburg. We love to play out so we’re always looking to play out of town and in front of new people.
RRX: I think a farm field in Vermont would be a cool place to do a video shoot, but that brings to mind that video shoots seem to be everywhere. Why can’t shows be anywhere? If O.N.E. could play anywhere, not just a venue, but anywhere, where would you set up shop?
OZ: We would love to shoot a video at the New England Hardcore Metal Festival, or any big festival like This is Hardcore, Fya in Fla, Black and Blue Bowl, and me personally, I would love to play Redrocks in Colorado and shoot the video there as well.
RRX: You describe yourself as putting out a positive message. Hardcore is a tough music, and not to say that it’s got a negative message, but sometimes it’s just ‘f**k the world’. What is that message O.N.E.’s putting out, and how does it differ from the messages you usually see in hardcore?
OZ: I’ve been a fan of hardcore for many years and like anything there’s always going to be a negative element, and some who tries to taint the scene with negativity, but we have all lived rough lives, growing up poor, surrounded by addiction, abuse, hate, and disrespect for others and there are things we all have worked really hard at to overcome and we want better for ourselves, our families, and communities. I like to let people know that it’s okay to make mistakes if we learn from them, and that we need to stand up for each other and not be a piece of shit. We want better lives for everyone, for the country, and the world. We also want everyone to feel safe at an Old North End show. No matter your gender, your color, your sexual preference, your belief system or how you look, talk, or walk, if you’re a decent human we want you there.
RRX: Hardcore has been around for a good long while. Coming up with the first hardcore band can start fights among the diehards. But hardcore has a trail through history. Can you tell me about a band that’s old-school and a newer band that you think is in the same tradition?
OZ: Of course, if you take a band like Madball who has been around forever and always stayed true to the LES old school hardcore lifestyle/way of life they are one of the first bands that comes to mind. I feel like today Silence Equals Death is like that. They are staying true to the old school blueprint of traditional Hardcore with songs about: the streets, government, politics, religion – staying true to oneself, but just a fresh edge to it. We love both those bands.
RRX: I’m seeing on Bandcamp your latest (on there) “As O.N.E.” was released in late 2021. Is that the most recent one? If not, what is the most recent? And can you tell us what your most recent release is like? And of course, looking toward the future, do you have anything in the works?
OZ: So, we currently have 3 releases: As One being the latest, and we are currently working on our first full length album. We are very excited about this, and this record is definitely on my bucket list, and we’re shooting for next year during winter to have that pressed.