Music Incider Magazine
Photo Credit: Ben Schneider.
MI: Are you ready, Neil? What’s your birth date?
MI: 11-17-80. Tell me the story about how you guys got together.
NA: Uhm, how we got together. Uhm. Weird. I don’t know. I started playing music when I was 17-and-a-half, 18, I don’t know. And, uh, started writing songs. And, basically, everybody else in the band were the only players in Blountstown, where I lived, so we started jamming.
MI: Yeah. And that’s how it all began.
NA: Yeah. Hanging out, bedroom, doing stuff after school when we didn’t have baseball practice or football practice, we’d jam in the summer.
MI: So, this is your 3rd album out.
NA: Uhm, 2nd album nationally. Uh, 3rd album, no 4th album.
MI: 4th album. And, what’s the name of the new CD?
NA: The new CD is The Beauty of Letting Go.
MI: And, describe your music to me.
NA: Some people have said it’s the heaviest love songs they’ve heard. Well, not the heaviest, you know, just like – uhm, I don’t consider us heavy.
MI: No, it’s not. I’ve heard the CD.
NA: Heavy as in terms of emotion. I don’t know. Some have said it’s like a heavy U2, heavy Tom Petty.
MI: (Interrupts) What about a heavy Soundgarden?
NA: Maybe, maybe.
MI: Maybe. You can go with that one.
NA: Uhm, yeah, I mean I don’t know. I think it’s get your songs out and write music.
MI: How did you guys come up with the name Socialburn?
NA Socialburn was a kind of fits the town we grew up in. The name just came up by accident flipping through a magazine. I saw “social” on one page, and “burn” on another page. I focused on both words on accident. I was like socialburn and it made sense in my head at the time. It kinda rings, right?
MI: It does.
NA: You know, for me it meant being the outcast of the town. Yeah, just doing something different from everybody else.
NA: So, you know, with the sunburn you have to get out of the sun a little while.
MI: So, on your new CD, what’s your favorite track off of it?
NA: On the new CD, it is probably the leaving song. I love the song about that. Out to Sea is probably one of my favorites because it has all the qualities of like our songwriting style in it – just, you know, the softness, the heaviness of it, the lyrics are running around however I call that. I don’t know what to call it – symbolism, being out to sea, you know the sea is where a lot of dead things are. You know, like wherever you go I’ll always be there for you until I’m called out to sea and die.
MI: Do you plan any new videos for this CD?
NA: We have stock footage of stuff we’ve done, but we don’t have any videos planned because it costs money.
MI: Tell me something you think everyone should know about each one of the band members. Good or bad.
NA We’re all very likable guys. We’re all very modest. We’re all just country boys. We all grew up the same. Let’s see, Dusty used to be a farmer, definitely. Me and Chris, I don’t know. I don’t know what I would say about me that would be good about me. Chris is very artistic, you know.
MI: Who did the album cover? The album cover is fantastic.
NA Right, the album cover – that was basically my idea. The kid with the balloon. It was just translated. We had our manager-at-the-time’s son is the boy on the cover. We shot it in one afternoon and Steve , our website designer, is the one who put it all together.
MI: It’s a fantastic cover. Who has influenced your vocal style?
NA: Oh, that’s a good one. I would say, whenever I first started singing, and I knew I couldn’t sing, you know. I was trying to figure out how to sing.
NA: I would ride around listen to and try to sing along to Brad Nowell, Gary Allan, and Tim McGraw. So, basically, I
MI: I’m putting them on the site this month.
NA Yeah, and Tim McGraw. So, basically that’s how I’d ride around and sing with them because I liked their falsetto stuff they did. You know. The way Brad Nowell did stuff, I found out whatever I could falsetto, I could also scream. I’d scream, but also sing really well. Kinda developed my own thing after that.
MI: How does Nirvana come into it with you guys?
NA Uhm, how does it come into it?
NA: I would just say it was a movement of music for everybody that has –
MI: Oh, majorly.
NA: Yeah, but it was never a focus on my end – our end – to sound anything like it.
MI: No, you don’t.
NA: But, I’d say Nirvana comes into it just as much as Credence Clearwater Revival does.
MI: So, it’s more emotional side?
NA: It’s just music. Not being afraid to put everything it out there, you know?
MI Tell me about the most memorable show you’ve ever played live since you guys have been together.
NA: Most memorable show ever played live?
NA: I can’t remember.
MI I can’t remember. I heard that in the background.
NA: We’ve done a lot of good ones. I don’t know. I like the festival shows because you get to hang out with different artists, you know. One of the festival shows in Charlotte, we got to share a dressing room with Dokken.
MI: Oh, good old Donny.
NA We had a blast.
MI: Did ya?
NA Yeah, that was pretty memorable. Most shows are good at the time. I don’t care if it’s 5 people or 20,000. Once the line at the stage is drawn, if we’re not into it personally, you know it’s not going to be a good show anyway.
NA: Uhm, but we try to do everything we can every show. The festival shows I like because we can meet people.
MI: What would you warn any band – your age – just getting into the business side of it?
NA: Uhm, make sure you have people around you that you trust. And, it’s hard to trust anybody. Good luck. But, I don’t know, just keep writing whatever keeps you going through the day. Know in your heart. Just do it natural. Be a musician.
MI: So, how did you guys end up with Amanda Cagan?
NA: Uhm, through new management. She was working with Sevendust, and she decided to help us out, which was awesome because we didn’t have anyone at the time.
MI: She’s a fantastic PR. You’re gonna lover her. Have you met her yet?
NA: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We have met her before.
MI: She’s a great lady. Ok, what are your thoughts on legalizing marijuana?
NA Do what? I don’t really smoke, but other people in the band might. My thoughts are, I don’t care. I don’t think it’s any worse than drinking so. If it was available I wouldn’t do it because it affects my lungs differently than other people’s. I’d be down for the week. And, I’m a cigarette smoker. I’ll take a brownie.
MI: You will take a brownie. I’ll send you some through Amanda. (Laughing). Ok, how did the death of Dimebag Darrell affect you guys?
NA: At shows, we’ve always been amazed at how easy something like that could happen. And, we’ve always wondered why there aren’t more security measures. Even some of the bands we play with have tight security. Still, something could go wrong. There are still crazy fucks out there and there’s not much you can do about it. But, thank God, Dimebag Darrell was around to spread his music the way he did. I think in his way, he went out jamming on stage.
MI He went out playing. Tell me what concerts in the world you fantasize about playing.
NA: I would love to go to Europe or wherever they have those big festivals in Europe. Those would be fun. Or, like in Japan, because I couldn’t communicate with them, but to watch how music transcends the language barrier would be real cool.
MI: What’s your opinion on George W. Bush?
NA On, George Bush? My opinion is that I support our president whoever it is.
MI: You do?
NA I think that’s my duty as an American. And, next time around, we try to do something better.
MI: What do you think about them trying to impeach him?
NA: Uhm, I don’t think they’ll be able to do it. It’s just like when they tried to impeach President Clinton, whatever. It’s just something for a bunch of people to do. Here we are, you know. As Americans, we have to accept our hands are tied in a lot of parts, I think. You know, we are free and everybody talks about that. But, we’re still like elementary students, with principals. We can say something, but probably nothing’s going to happen.
MI: Exactly. Exactly. What’s your opinion on the war, though?
NA: The war? We’re over there. I think there’s plenty of things we could be doing, but we’re not doing that would be beneficial to the region way over there. If we’re trying to help a country get on their feet. Have a health system and stuff like that. I’m not in it 24/7, over there, I don’t know what’s going on.
MI: Thank God you’re not.
NA: Yeah, I know, but I got plenty of friends over there and from what they say, it’s not as bad as it seems. Not as bad as the media plays it up to be, but you know.
MI: It makes you wonder, though.
NA: But, we’re not there, you know.
MI Well, you don’t know. You don’t know. Tell me a joke, baby.
NA: A joke?
MI Yeah, come on. You’re young, you got a good joke there.
NA: Oh, yeah, whenever it’s not spur of the moment. I got to find the best joke in the world now. I don’t know. Why do women have breasts?
NA: So you can have something to look at when you’re talking to ’em.
MI: (Laughing) Ok, who do you think is the greatest vocalist of all times was?
NA Of all times? See, that’s tough, because I’m a great fan of vocalists. Like Willie Nelson’s great to me. But, Rod Stewart’s awesome. Uhm, I don’t know. That’s a tough one.
MI: Ok, you’re driving in your car, right? Or, you’re riding in the bus right now? What’s in your CD player?
NA Jerry Jeff Walker. Uhm, Robert Earl Keen – You’re talking about singers, Americana, country stuff.
MI: Who influenced your guitar playing?
NA: I would say, whoever played guitar easily. B, D and C – that’s about all I do. (laughing).
NA: Nah, I don’t have. I just started. As soon as I learned a few chords, I just started strumming around. I never did play cover tunes. So, it’s not like I played other people’s songs. Really, I don’t have any heroes.
MI: Ok, what’s your favorite movie of all time?
NA: Lost Boys or The Buddy Holly Story.
MI: Ok, I’ve got a good question for ya. You’re all single, aren’t ya?
MI: What do you look for in a woman? And, just not body-wise, big boy there.
NA: No, no, no. I definitely look for somebody who’s not impressed. That’s what I look for. Somebody I know I don’t have to be any – the guy on stage, something I don’t have to live up to. Not someone I have to prove myself to. I like somebody I have to impress every day. There’s something interesting and new that they don’t know about me. Uhm, or same thing – every day that’s happening with me. Keep it interesting. Everyday, learning something new about them. Whether they be funny or not, we’ll find out. You know, whether they’re nice or sluts. It’s something you find out every day. Women, they’re an interesting species, so you never know what you’re getting.
MI Right. If you were stuck on a desert island, and could bring 2 people, 2 books, 2 CDS, and your favorite liquor, what would they be?
NA: Liquor would be Ron Rico, Ron Carlos, Ron Juevo – anything low-ball rum. Let’s see. Two books? I don’t know, I don’t read. So, give me Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, because I’ve heard that’s a good book. And then Hunter S. Thompson, where he’s got all the short stories. I can’t remember the name of it. I like Hunter S. Thompson a lot. People, I can only bring 2? People would have to be – well, one would have to be a woman. Well, 2 would have to be women who are cute. I don’t know.
MI: If you were God for a week, what would you change?
NA: I don’t know. I’m pretty content with what’s going on. I would leave everything the same because I’m pretty content with my life. What would you change? Now, I’m going to have bad dreams tonight? What would I change. You know what, I would want no one to be violent towards anybody, and for nobody to go hungry. That’s the same things we strive for anyway.
MI: Do you believe in psychics?
NA: Mhmm. I do.
MI: Have you ever had a reading?
NA: No, because I don’t want to know.
MI: Oh, ok, then I won’t give you a reading. Ha, ha, ha.
NA: Oh, you can give me a reading?
MI: Yes, I can give you a reading. I won’t do it now, because you’re on the road. When you want it, I’ll set it up with Amanda, baby. Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
NA: Yes, I have.
MI: What happened?
NA: Uhm, I was in my room – me and Chris, the guitar player, this is before the band really got into anything where we were gigging or doing stuff. We met this chic we lived close to, so we’d go to
NA: Brought the mirror back home. Put the mirror in my room. Go to sleep and I’d say at 3 o’clock, there was just a scratching at the wall. I was thinking maybe a fan was blowing a piece of paper around. But, then it was a real scratching. Eery. Well, I’m gonna get up, turn on the light, and see what’s going on in here. Well, maybe a cat got in here. Something. I have a couple animals, and I make sure they’re never in my room because I watched that one movie once where the cat sucked out the soul. I forget the name of that movie. But, uhm, so, it goes on for at least 20 minutes and it’s still going on. I look at the clock, and I get under the covers because I don’t really want to see anything. It’s like, “what the hell?” I go to get up, because I’m just like “fuck it.” If it does it again, I’m gonna get up. It does it again. If it does it AGAIN, I’m gonna get up. It did it again, so I was rising up to get up, and putting my feet on the floor, and I saw a light, and I was pinned to the bed.
MI: Holy shit. Do you believe in reincarnation?
NA: Uhm, I kinda do because I don’t believe in what everyone else does, that we all go to the same place.
MI: Ok, because you believe in reincarnation, who do you think you were in a past life?
NA: In a past life?
MI Yeah. And, who would you have liked to have been in history?
NA: I don’t know. Who would I have liked to have been in history? I don’t know. Probably the same type of dude I am now. I might have been an animal, you never know.
MI: That’s true.
NA: I could see myself being a dog. I’m a big dog lover. So, I wouldn’t have minded being an Indian out West exploring.
MI: If you could have lunch with 3 people – living or dead – why?
NA: Definitely Willie Nelson. He’s alive. Probably, let’s see. Johnny Cash, but. And then, from way back, let’s go with Van Gogh. That would be an interesting dude, I think.
MI: Name 5 groups from the 1980s or later that you feel have been important to the evolution of music.
NA: From the 1980s and up?
MI: Yeah. Let’s say, if you want to go back to the 60s, we can go back to the 60s too.
NA: Right. I would definitely say Tom Petty.
NA: With the 80s there were a lot of electronic bands that really had no impact on stuff that’s going on today.
MI: It could also be the 90s.
NA: Nirvana, Guns ‘N Roses.
MI: Ok, growing up, who did you consider to be your heroes?
NA: Growing up, The Boss – Bruce Springsteen – was one of my heroes, definitely. And, my dad, and that was about it.
MI: If you had the chance to go on tour with Tom Petty or Bruce Springsteen, who would you pick?
NA: Tom Petty.
MI (Laughing.) Ok. Why?
NA: Just ’cause, I admire everything about him. I hate him because he’s ruined it for me because he’s always written all the songs I wish I had written. To hear his songs every night would just blow me away.
MI: What do you think was the best thing to ever happen to rock and roll?
NA: Best thing to ever happen to rock and roll was – I guess, the electric guitar.
MI: Ok. When you’re not on the road, what else do you do beside play music?
NA: Uhm, that’s hard to say. Definitely just relax, hang out. I go fishing a little bit. Definitely do a lot of hanging out at the river.
MI: You’re really pissed at somebody, who in the world would you like to dump a bucket of flesh-eating ants on?
MI: Like what part?
NA: I don’t know. MTV. Screw it. I’m gonna go ahead and say it.
MI: Ok, now you’re a baby. You’re like 3 years younger than my son.
NA: How good was music before MTV showed up? Come on.
MI: The original MTV?
MI: Old MTV is much better than new MTV.
NA: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Definitely. But, I’m saying that’s what started the spawn of what MTV has become. So.
MI Right, right. What do you consider your greatest achievement of all time?
NA: Setting a goal and reaching it. Once I was playing football, I passed up scholarships to go play football, and everybody was like, what are you doing this for? You’re from a small town, just started writing songs, can’t really sing well yet, just really putting things together at the beginning stages. I’m like, we’re gonna do this. So, whatever. And, I think the greatest achievement was getting a record deal. Being able to get out here and do it, whether I’m making a good living or not, I’m making a living doing what I believe in. That’s my great achievement.
MI: How do your parents feel about your career?
NA: They’re fine with it.
MI: Is your mom like the head of the street team?
NA: She’s not the head of the street team, but she would be if I let her.HoHh
MI: You should make her it. Moms do good jobs, take my word for it.
NA: She stays in touch with a lot of people who do that. But, she’s uh, definitely supports it. And, Tom Petty, and I was named after Neil Young.
MI: If you had $1 million to donate to any charity, what would it be?
NA: I don’t know. That’s a tough one too. They all need funds.
NA: If I had $1 million, I don’t think I would donate it. That’s the problem. I don’t know. Charities. There are so many charities to tell what’s really non-profit – what’s going to something good and what’s not. I don’t know enough about charities.
MI: Tell me about the worst job you’ve ever had?
NA: My jobs were pretty good because I worked for my dad since I was 9. I worked in construction, I was on a construction crew when I was 18. I actually enjoyed it.
MI: You want to come fix my porch?
NA: I could.
MI: I bet you could.
NA: I always enjoyed stuff like that, where you see completion at the end of the day. Whether you’re digging a ditch or not, the ditch is dug by the end of the day? I look back at the end of the day, and I say, “I did that?” Shit, man, then I’m happy.
MI: What would you recommend for sink holes?
NA: For who?
MI: (Laughing.) For sink holes?
MI I’ve got one in my yard popping up.
NA: I would definitely move.
MI: You would move?
NA: Don’t tell anyone, and sell the property. I don’t know.
MI: If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?
NA: Batman, because he had all those cool gadgets and then he was a normal dude.
MI: Do you have a message for your fans?
NA: The message is in the songs. I don’t, go back to your roots and do whatever you dream.
MI What is your favorite quote of all time? It could be from anything, Neil.
NA: I can’t remember how it goes, it’s from James Dean. Shit.
MI: It could be from a movie; from anything.
NA: Well, you know what, there’s another by Hunter S. Thompson. God dammit.
MI Ok, then tell me a joke.
NA: Live every day like it’s your last.
MI: What is the website.
MI: Oh, here’s the last one, when are you guys coming to Atlanta?
NA: Uh, we already went. And uh.
MI: When are you coming back?
NA: April 2nd. I think we’ll be out for another 2 months, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be coming back through there.
MI: Good. I hope so. I really hope so. I want to shoot you guys real bad.
MI: I’m a photographer. A really great photographer.So, now, let me tell you what we’re gonna do, ok.