Band proves the punk heart alive and well

Punk’s not dead, despite what punk rockers’ T-shirts advertise.

However, it is on life support, kept alive by bands who understand what punk’s about. One of these bands is Northern Kentucky’s own Now Entering Rehab (NER).

NER, complete with drummer Nathan Bartlett, an undeclared sophomore, helps to keep the scene breathing.

The majority of the crowds at NER shows are close friends and acquaintances. The rest of the crowd consists of other bands. He couldn’t help but say it might have been different in another time or place.

“It’s not how it would have been if we played 10 years ago and lived on the West Coast,” Bartlett said.

NER is Bartlett’s third band, but his first on the drums, which he wanted to play the most. He played guitar in the first band.

He couldn’t afford a drum kit and his brother didn’t let him play them, but he did anyway behind his brother’s back.

Bartlett never excelled at guitar.

“I couldn’t figure out the chords,” Bartlett said. He added that it’s probably because he didn’t practice enough.

The Bartlett brothers’ band fell apart when the drummer punched the guitarist and broke his wrist.

It was NOFX’s “Punk in Drublic” that turned Barttlet onto punk.

NER played its first show at the now defunct Poison Room on March 28, 2007. They played last because the other band said their drummer was having a baby.

At first the band members were confused but later they realized it was actually the drummer’s girlfriend who was having the child.

Even though the band started off rough, it finally found a way to work together.

“It took us a while, then we figured it out,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett said it’s hard to get noticed due to the competition and NER’s musical style.

“The style we play isn’t really around anymore, and it never really made it that big in the first place,” Bartlett said.

NER plans to record an album in one take for a June release.

“Hopefully it captures some of the energy,” Bartlett said. “The raw, punk-rock fury.”

Bartlett doesn’t write the songs, but does suggest some buildups or breakdowns.

Although he doesn’t know how far the band will go, he is content with where it is right now.

“I don’t know where it’ll be tomorrow,” Bartlett said. “That’s what cool about it.”

Nevertheless, he said he wants to accomplish something that people can admire.

“I want to go down as being remembered, not necessarily for anything just music,” Bartlett said. “Not just music, art in general.”

NER is opening for The Casualties. The show starts April 26 at the Mad Hatter in Covington, with $12 tickets in advance or $14 at the door.

“Come to the show,” Bartlett said. “If you don’t like The Casualties, come anyway.”