Getting rocked with Cocked N' Loaded

Plus, Mellow Bravo crashes the New Year’s Eve party
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  December 14, 2011

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BOOZE BIN “Real rock and roll is about camaraderie, and it’s about drinking, and it’s about fucking party time,” says Cocked N’ Loaded drummer Rob Davol. 

Two years ago, Cocked N' Loaded opened for the rabble-rousing Upper Crust at the now-defunct Harpers Ferry in Allston. It was the first time I had seen them, and, blown away by an energetic live set, I approached singer Kyle Neeson after his performance. He was startled at first, jumpy even. But once we began talking about a mutual love for Bon Scott–era AC/DC, he and the band invited me back to their space at Brighton's Sound Museum, ostensibly for some more music.

The rehearsal room looked like the Appetite for Destruction–era Guns N' Roses rehearsal/storage unit: cans of beer everywhere, half-full bottles of liquor, and posters of the Ramones, Hendrix, and Elvis covering the walls. A jam session never materialized, but a party did, resulting in damaged equipment and guitarist Matt Sullivan injuring his back falling off the shoulders of drummer Rob Davol, who then broke Neeson's toe with a microphone stand base.

Not much has changed since then, and the debauchery continues at the Middle East on New Year's Eve, when Cocked N' Loaded hope to have their new three-song EP, Friction, ready for public consumption among the inevitable shots of whiskey and pounding of cheap booze.

"We behave the same way in rehearsals as we do at live shows; second we get there we're crackin' beers, taking shots of Jim Beam — that's how we do it," Davol tells me over drinks at Sidebar in downtown Boston. "Real rock and roll is about camaraderie, and it's about drinking, and it's about fucking party time."

That approach aligns perfectly with the music. Past songs like "Getting' Drunk at the Drinkin' Party," "Turn It Up," and "Sex Fight" don't pretend to be anything that they aren't. This is music so grimy you want to take a bath in bleach to feel clean by mid-song — which is not surprising, since many of the band's cues come from early AC/DC.

On a tattoo across his knuckles, Ozzy-style, Neeson sports "Riff Raff," a song from 1978's Powerage, while Davol has the iconic lightning bolt on each arm, one of them declaring "Bon Lives."

"That's just pure, raw rock-and-roll music," Neeson says. "From that attitude that Bon Scott had, and those songs — " Davol cuts in: " . . . songs about booze and chicks and fighting." Neeson finishes the thought with an exclamation: "His attitude was like, 'Fuck you!' Metal and punk rock came from that snotty attitude."

Davol and Neeson have been playing together since they were in high school in the mid-'90s and still get excitable and loud over multiple topics that change at a rapid-fire pace over our hour-long interview. It's peppered by incidents like Davol, while gesturing wildly talking about the Boston music scene, sending a bottle of ketchup flying to the barroom floor. "Shit, I was afraid that was my beer," says a relieved Davol. "If that was mayonnaise, I would've kicked that shit across the room."

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