Weld Square pays homage to New Bedford

Photo - Weld Square
Weld Square (Photo by A. Barboza)

By Leah Astore

For over ten years, Joe Froias, Kevin Patrick Nunes, and Derek Brasseur have rocked New Bedford, Mass. Growing up in the city, they experienced every aspect of their hometown from the historic storefronts to the more notorious dark corners. Every aspect seems to seep into their music. Even their name was inspired by the city.

While learning The Ramones song “53rd and 3rd,” about the historically notorious part of New York known for prostitution, they realized New Bedford had its own 53rd and 3rd: Weld Square.

Today, what was once a historic part of New Bedford with cobblestone streets and thriving storefronts is mostly paved over by Route 18. Yet what makes this slice of New Bedford infamous is the debauchery and sin that thrives in the shabby taverns and alleyways. This inspired the band to call themselves by the same name. In their music is the grit of Weld Square.

While Weld Square is a local band, their sound encompasses everything from heavy stuff to candlelight dinners, Froias said, perhaps half joking about the candlelight dinners. Like their 2012 EP Femme de Maison, their first full length album Capricious Youth should have something for everyone.

“The music is inspired by the Ramones, The Beatles, and terrible traffic,” Froias said.

Right now the band is tightening up loose screws on Capricious Youth, which will likely be released by early fall. They recorded the album locally at Elm Street Studios in New Bedford, the same studio they recorded Femme de Maison. They already have enough songs written for two more albums and they’re constantly rehearsing and writing new music. After the release of Capricious Youth, they plan to start recording another album.

“It’s a spark of an idea in our head that we lay down on record,” Froias said. “It’s really interesting to see it form and bring it to life.”

Music has always been an artistic outlet for Froias, Nunes, and Brasseur and a great way to get out road rage, Froias added in jest.

Their passion for music started at an early age and their influences stemmed from an appreciation for heavy rock bands like Metallica and punk rockers like The Ramones.

In fact, singer and guitar player Joe Froias’ introduction to music started with Metallica. When he was five years old his sister brought him along to a Metallica concert and later to Iron Maiden and then The Ramones when he was 14. Punk rock music really shook it all up for him, he said. Soon after he started singing in bands and six years ago he taught himself guitar.

Drummer Derek Brasseur’s love for music also began when he was young. When he was eight years old, he got his first drum kit and before that he was playing on tables. The first CDs that really stuck out to him were Jimi Hendrix, Metallica’s And Justice For All, and early Pantera. In the fifth grade, he met Kevin Patrick Nunes who lived on the same street and shared similar tastes in music. It wasn’t until a high school music theory class that Nunes met Froias.

After the coincidental meeting, the three started playing together. Nunes started playing the bass at 14, driven by his bandmate’s passion.

“My sole drive to get into music was these guys,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of the band.”

They’ve played music together for over ten years now and no Yoko Onos or melodramatic guitar players have torn them apart.

“The three of us stuck through with everything,” Nunes said.

The hardest obstacle they face is the local market, which leans more favorably towards cover bands.

“It’s tough ‘cause we want to rock — we want to play our own music,” Froias said.

When they were teenagers in the 90s, the band began by learning and playing covers of Ramones songs. While they still have some covers in their sets, their passion is to play their original music.

“We’re an original rock band and we want to tear everyone’s face off,” Nunes said.

The only thing they’re missing now is human interaction and they’re looking for a greater audience. With no thanks to technology, the band members hope Weld Square can make a better connection with their listeners and inspire a new generation with dirty Rock n’ Roll.

“Unplug from the digital world for a little while and come out and rock out with us and have a good time,” Froias said.

Those who aren’t afraid to unplug can experience Weld Square this summer without having to sit in traffic at All About Records in Taunton, Mass., at the end of June and the Whaling City Festival in July.

(This story was taken from the summer 2013 issue of Limelight Magazine.)

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