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A kick-ass rock and roll show 

Interview with Boston punks Far From Finished

The Boston punk scene has given us many great bands over the years, and Far From Finished is another testament to Beantown’s mighty musical legacy. This weekend the band is opening for The Queers and The Ataris at the Bug Jar, bringing to the stage nearly 10 years of road-tested songs and experience. City recently spoke with Steve Neary, one of the founding members and vocalist for the group. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.

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CITY: How did Far From Finished get its start?

Steve Neary: The band actually formed in New York. We graduated high school, we decided to move to Boston. Once we got up to Boston we found some guys to play with and just started playing. Basically we had a common interest in bands like Stiff Little Fingers, old R&B, Tom Waits, punk rock, and singer-songwriter stuff that we liked. We just decided to form a band and go for it, kind of felt like we had nothing to lose. And now here we are almost 10 years later. We’re still the opening band; it’s all right, though.

How did you come up with the name?

Just kind of throwing around a couple ideas, and it seemed like it would be fitting for what we were kind of going to be about. I’m not 100 percent sure what we're about, but I think it’s definitely about dealing with what you’ve got and not giving up on yourself and what you want out of life, because it’s all there for the taking if you want it. Far From Finished kind of seemed like, I don’t know, a fitting title. It’s not really about the band, it’s about a perspective on life. Don’t give up, even though you might feel like you want to give up at points.

How do you feel the band has changed since you first started?

Well first off, when we started we didn’t really know anything about music. We knew what music we liked, basically. We started as a street-punk band, with a lot of street punk, “oi!” followers, stuff like that. Playing spots, hanging out, drinking 40s, stuff like that. Now we’ve committed to it, and musically we’ve definitely evolved as well. “East Side of Nowhere” was more like a street rock and roll record, “Living in the Fallout” was definitely a little bit more keen on the songwriting, paid a little bit more attention to the production, and really called in our skills at songwriting at that point.

The next record, “Forgettable,” we took that even further, kind of in a new direction completely. Way more pianos, and Hammond organ, strings — it was something we wanted to do, we did it, we stand behind it. It wasn’t well received and we didn’t kind of expect it to be. We made a record we wanted to make, people didn’t like it, that’s OK. We’re still opening up for the bands, you know what I mean? Nothing changes.

What made you want to do something so different for that album?

I think we were kind of getting sick of that old word, “street punk,” getting thrown around, seeing a lot of holes in people’s characters. So we were like, we know what it’s like to be punk rock, and if people want to call themselves street punk, I don’t know if they are actually living on the street or homeless like we are, but we know what it’s like. So we don’t need to make a street-punk record — we can do it because we have been living like that for so many years. We can do whatever we want, and hopefully people like it. And people I think really did like that record, we still have people come up to us at shows and say, “Dude, I know people don’t like that record, but we think it’s awesome.” And it's nice to hear people — the real fans of the band — they kind of get what we’ve come from and the struggle we’ve come through.

And you have another new album you’re working on...

We recruited a new drummer and a new guitar player, and we have demoed about 10 songs right now. So it looks like we’re going to try to start recording if we can between tours. I’d like to release it in the fall.

To talk about this record a bit, the songs we’re writing with the guys we have right now, it’s just fun. It’s a little bit more upbeat, just trying to hone in and listen to everyone’s ideas and not letting one person dictate what’s going on. This record is going to be a reflection of the band in its truest form.

If you could describe FFF to someone who had never heard the band before, what would you say?

I say we really focus on putting on a good show. When we get up there, it’s a little release from life. I feel like I can be who I want to be for a half hour at a time. It’s a kick-ass rock and roll show. Musically it’s definitely a punk band that’s not afraid to step outside the label of punk, because it’s a long lost, silly label if you really think about it. I still think I’m a punk rocker, probably until I die I’ll think like that.

I think the most important thing when it comes to music right now and being in a band, it’s not how many records you sell, because it doesn’t really matter. More importantly is what your live show is like. So that’s really our focus: to put on a great show and make people leave remembering who we are and what we have to say.

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