So we were able to get some time with Boston Hardcore staple, car and motorcycle enthusiast, Ryan Packer. Sit back, crack a beer and give it a read!!
1. For the record, state you name and occupation?
Ryan Packer, Barber, musician and promoter.
2. Let’s start off with music. You play in a few bands – can you tell us who you play with and what drew you into hardcore/punk music?
I’ve been playing Bass in Slapshot and our little side project Stars&Stripes since 2012. I also have a band with some good friends called American War Machine. I got into punk and hardcore like a lot of kids. I was looking for a place for the disenfranchised a place for the kids that didn’t fit the “mold” could go. The hardcore morals and codes of conduct are something that I really related to and it’s been apart of me ever since.
3. The Boston music scene has always been tight knit – What do think makes it so special?
Boston has a real interesting dichotomy. We have a lot of high paying jobs and some of the highest rent in the country with an underbelly of street kids, art nerds, hipster idealist and what not. Because there is such a sharp contrast of us and them the scene has always been strong. I didn’t know until I was touring a lot that scene kids were really separated. Growing up skinheads would hang out and metal shows and hardcore shows and punks would go see Blood for Blood. They were just shows we all enjoyed. Because of that we had a lot of really good bands that raised the bar. It came to the point that if you did well in Boston you would generally do well everywhere. If you didn’t cut your teeth here it was quite apparent.
4. Maybe an unfair question BUT…favorite band of all time and what band do you think is the most underrated, underrated might not be the right word but the band you thought never got their due success?
Ha that’s a tough one. Favorite of all time? Shit, Warzone maybe? Great players, great message. a lot for a young kid to grab on to and relate. As far as band that never got their due success was The Trouble. They did ok, but for me “nobody laughs anymore” is the best Boston hardcore record. Listening to that record is like being in Boston in the 90’s. It’s hardcore, it’s punk rock. Its a lot of things and it’s perfect. Maybe it’s better that’s there is only that but In my mind that band should have been huge.
5. Is there any tour or show you’ve played where you look back and say “holy shit that was insane!” ?
Heh I’ve been on a lot of tours that were crazy. You’ve got me feeling nostalgic about Boston so I’ll say Blood for Blood shows in the late 90’s early 2000’s were hands down the most violent and fun shows I’ve been too. Spend a few hours running around kicking the crap out of each other and the rest of the night arm and arm singing along. It was like a war and when you left everyone you went through it with had a tighter bond. Absolute solace in absolute chaos.
6. Folks may not know this, but you are a master barber. How long have you been cutting hair and what got you into it ?
Yea I went to barber school in 2005. I was a guitar tech and stage manager but wanted to get a real career down. I got the idea on tour in ‘99. This was before everyone had a phone let alone internet on it. A kid was telling us about a barbershop all the bands went to when they were in town and I thought “oh shit that could be cool to do back home.” It took a few years but I went to school and I’ve been balancing both careers ever since.
7. You were a car guy before you got into bikes, what drew you into cars and what’s your current driver? any cars you regret selling?
Yea I was always into hot rods and classic cars since a kid. I would go to any cruise nights and shows I could. By the time I was 25 I managed to save enough to buy a 52 Chevy. That was my first love. I put so much work into it. I’m currently driving a 64 Lincoln Continental. I’ve had it a few years. I had an itch for a mid 60’s cruiser and that has definitely scratched it. I miss all the cars I’ve sold but you can’t keep them all.
8. When did you start getting into bikes and what do you currently ride?
As I got a little older and financially secure I wanted to get on two wheels. For me it’s a natural progression from being a motorsports enthusiast and a hardcore kid. Both hot rod and chopper guys carry that DIY ethos that’s found in the hardcore community. That’s the difference between the weekend Harley rider and chopper guys. I have a bagger for long rides and comfort an 07 road glide but I tend to ride the shovel head chopper I built more.
9. There are so many cool shows popping up all over the country – in fact you and Truth put on a show – Full Speed Ahead – can you tell us about the show and the origin?
I started Full speed ahead in 2011 just to do something cool. My buddy Lance was throwing a rad show in western ma called Milltown that really raised the bar for shows so I used his model of adding bands and making the show geared toward our generation of hot rod guys. After two years my brother Truth came in with me and really made it the weekend that it was meant to be. We brought it to another level with a two day event. It starts on the deck of the USS Salem with bands booze and a fun venue. The main show is at the Brockton fairgrounds and they has the potential to grow with us. Every year we add to the show and this year is no different. I’m not at liberty to say just yet (with the pandemic going on) but announcements are coming.
10. Other than Full Speed Ahead, what’s your favorite bike/car show?
Truth and I go to a lot of shows with the Choppahead booth. My Favorite is Mama tried one Milwaukee. The town rules and they pull out all the stops to make sure everyone has a good time. My favorite local car show is Milltown. Lance just knows what he’s doing and it’s always jammed with the best cars and bands.
11. So how can people stay up to speed with what ya got going on or anything you want to shout out?
You can follow me on Instagram @believeinpacker https://www.instagram.com/believeinpacker/
the bands at @slapshotboston https://www.instagram.com/slapshotboston/
the show @fullspeedaheadshow https://www.instagram.com/fullspeedaheadshow/
Thanks, for taking the time, man!!! I really appreciate it !! Everyone should go follow Packer’s social media and once this quarantine madness is over go check out one of his bands live as well as the Full Speed Ahead Show!!!! Support your scene!!!!!