It’s par the course in Rhode Island for a musician to be involved in multiple bands.
Drummers often play with the most different groups – some in five or more – but the same can go for guitarists, bassists, keyboardists and horn players.
When it comes to being the frontman for more than one band, however, it’s a totally different animal. Warren native and current Warwick resident Sean Murphy has taken on the challenge, playing guitar and singing for Providence-based bands No Plateau and Nobody’s Boyscout.
Recently, Murphy and I had a talk about his busy schedule, growing up with music, being a Boston Celtics fan and working on new albums.
ROB DUGUAY: What’s your earliest memory of playing music as a kid? Do you come from a musical family?
SEAN MURPHY: I don’t necessarily come from a family of musicians, but my earliest memories of music all come from my parents. When my parents got their first real house, we didn’t have a TV, but we had a turntable. We would listen to the Talking Heads and Van Morrison and dance all night. I always remember riding in my dad’s car and listening to WHJY and WBRU and learning music history and every word to every song. I then decided I wanted to play piano after hearing my grandmother play.
I learned piano for five or six years and then started playing guitar. I remember listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Carlos Santana with my dad and just being blown away and begging for a guitar for Christmas. My first real guitar memories all come from jamming with my friend Mike Celone, learning every Nirvana song and jamming them out in his basement.
RD: It’s great how you dove into a bunch of different kinds of rock. You perform on a steady basis in Providence with No Plateau and Nobody’s Boyscout. How do you manage the time between the two bands?
SM: It’s definitely a busy schedule, but everyone kind of works together to make the music happen. It’s a big time commitment between weekly practices, shows, and also trying to write as much as possible in my own time. The biggest thing we all strive for is good communication and practicing on our own so we can rehearse, rather than learn, when we get together. It’s hard to imagine doing it now, but when Nobody’s Boyscout started, we would play at Madcap Monday and Creation Tuesday every week when The Spot was around. Then we would practice at midnight every Thursday because it was the only time everyone’s schedule would work.
Along with that, I would usually have No Plateau practice on Wednesdays and either attending or playing a show on Friday and Saturday. It was a pretty crazy, musical time. Now, most of us work 9-to-5s and are in bed by 10.
RD: Getting old and settling down can be a drag, but it also has its benefits – like getting a full night’s sleep on a weeknight, for example.
SM: Absolutely. (laughs)
RD: With No Plateau leaning toward punk rock and Nobody's Boyscout leaning towards a jam sound, do you find artistic freedom with both bands in different ways?
SM: I often think that the best thing that ever happened to No Plateau was deciding to start Nobody’s Boyscout, from a musical consistency standpoint. I feel like both bands have really begun to find their own musical identities.
No Plateau has even gone so far to change how we write music completely. We write completely organically as a band, with songs coming from ideas that arise from playing together rather than songs being brought to the table by a single member.
We’re finally recording our first full-length album with Jon Sanders at Robot Records in Attleboro, Massachusetts. It’s a big step in a new direction for us, and I can’t wait for people to hear what we’ve been working on.
The first Nobody’s Boyscout album was one of my most proud accomplishments as a musician because it was a really big group of people working together to accomplish an idea. When I started playing the songs with Matt Brown, we didn’t know if it would be a band or just something for fun. In the end, it ended up being a five-piece band that featured our good friends How’s About Charlie heavily on backing vocals, and George Dussault of Galilee Productions in Cumberland guiding the way.
The newer songs really capture what the band has become – guitar-focused songs with a strong melodic sensibility. We’re finally figuring out what kind of band we want to be now that we’re less of an idea and more of a band.
RD: Along with being a musician, you're also a big sports fan, especially the Boston Celtics. The NBA playoffs are coming up – how do you think Kyrie Irving and the crew are going to do?
SM: I’m really excited for the playoffs to start. The team has seemed really checked out at points during the end of the regular season, just waiting for the playoffs to start. I think if we’re playing our best basketball, we can beat anyone out there. It’s just a matter of doing it. Let’s bring home Banner 18!
RD: What are your musical plans for the summer?
SM: Both bands have plans to record and release records this year, which is very exciting. Nobody’s Boyscout and No Plateau are always booking shows and looking for more opportunities. Both bands also have a few more things in the works that haven’t been announced yet.
To learn more about Nobody’s Boyscout, follow the band on Facebook (@NobodysBS) or check out its music on Spotify. To learn more about No Plateau, follow its Facebook page (@noplateauband) or visit its Bandcamp page, noplateau.bandcamp.com.