Tomorrow night, the men’s rugby team will host Epicuria, its 23rd annual toga party at Ladd House. For the second year in a row, the event will feature Suck My NESCAC, a pop-punk cover band made up of seniors Hunter Rusack, Phil Cuddeback, Robbie Deveny, and David Raskin. I spoke with the band earlier this week about their tunes, their history, and their hopes for the future—especially tomorrow night’s performance.
Evan Gershkovich: For those who may not know, who is Suck My NESCAC?
Hunter Rusack: Robbie, on lead vocals, is a Colorado native who cares more about making people laugh than his physical or mental well-being. While absolutely insane, and not so good with learning vocals, he will entertain the sh*t out of anyone and everyone.
David, playing bass guitar and singing backup, characterizes himself as a horrible speller who likes to procrastinate. Dave has maintained his weight solidly at around 75 pounds for the last three years of his life by sweating to the oldies with Richard Simmons. He’s a very talented musician but most people don’t notice this because when he is on stage all they can think about is how they should be buying him a cheeseburger and/or calling ASPCA [American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals].
Phil, on drums, is a wild man who emerged from the wilderness when he mistook the Bowdoin rugby team for a potential food source. Upon learning how to raise various farm animals and the basic principles of rhythm, he began pursuing a career as the first-ever solo Hanson tribute band. After failing at this, he joined Suck My NESCAC to keep himself entertained between beard grooming sessions.
I play lead guitar and am a self-taught, stressed-out, red-faced, guitar-wielding oddball. I spend most of my time ordering new board shorts online to make sure that people always know I’m from California. When I’m not bro-boarding around campus you can typically find me pretending to read an upside down book so that people think I actually have work.
EG: What is your story? How did you guys come together?
Robbie Deveny: Well, Hunter and I were Eskimo brothers throughout a good deal of freshmen year, but we never really spoke until we were placed side by side in the [rugby] scrum as locks, suddenly sharing blood and sweat in a more direct, innocent way. I did a capella and a handful of terrible musicals for Brunswick retirees while Hunter drove hoards of innocent concert victims away with the sincerest of acoustic screamo surf tunes.
We actually found Phil’s talent for drumming during a rugby match last fall. He had just scored a try against Colby and was making his usual gestures and grunts of happiness, when we noticed that the pounding of his bare, worn knuckles against the moist earth came in predictable, regular intervals. After we took the ball out of his mouth and wiped the slobber off his beard, we asked Phil if he wanted to be a drummer. He didn’t bite anyone, so we took that as a yes. Dave doesn’t play sports.
EG: Tell me about your respective influences.
HR: Phil is heavily influenced by drummers that play the standard 4/4 rock beat in the simplest rock songs imaginable. As a result, that is literally the only beat he can play. Robbie doesn’t really listen to music. He never understands anything the singers say and probably won’t know any of the words. Most often he’s listening to opera or Green Day. Dave mostly listens to music that bums people out—seriously, really boring crap—classical music, Radiohead, that kind of garbage. I don’t want to limit myself by saying my influences come from one band or even genre of music. I like everything about music, except for f**king Radiohead (don’t tell Dave I said that).
EG: Tell me about yourselves as a band—what are your goals on stage?
HR: We primarily view ourselves as a pop-punk cover band, at least that’s where we started, but at the same time we just want to play songs that people know and love. We also want people to hear some of the songs we are playing and be like “WTF! Are they really throwing ‘Wagon Wheel’ in between ‘Fat Lip’ and ‘Basket Case?’” Or, “how the hell are Taylor Swift and Blink 182 the same genre of music?” But that’s not the point, we just want to be as entertaining as possible, otherwise why would we have the most easily-distracted and crude person as our lead singer?
EG: Talk to me about Epicuria and why you are so excited to play the event.
HR: We get pumped to play Epicuria because it’s a rugby party and three of us are rugby players. What more do you want in life than to go to an epic rugby party, crush brews, and jam to a kick-ass pop-punk cover band? Last year, we had a much better showing than we imagined and it was pretty clear when people were screaming for an encore that we had succeeded with all our hard work.
The only problem was last year we had like, ten songs, and thus no encore, so we just started our set list over and everything worked out. This year we have more songs, and we expect more people and an even more kick-ass show than last year.
I had never seen such a sweaty and simultaneously stoked mass of people until last year’s party. Epicuria is not only the best social house party of the year, but it defines men’s rugby: we work extra hard to make sure that everyone has an awesome time, ourselves included. We’ve been planning this party now since like, last July and we want it to be better than ever.
EG: What will your set list look like on Saturday night?
David Raskin: We designed our set with our audience in mind. We know that no one at a social house party wants to hear anything they haven’t already heard to death. We’ve carefully (dare we say masterfully?) crafted a set list that should be totally familiar to every single person at the party—at least the ones who grew up in this hemisphere. That doesn’t mean that we don’t keep it spicy. Yeah, we’ve got a lot of pop-punk, but we’re not afraid to strive for the deeper stuff—Taylor Swift, the Isley Brothers, all that mess. It’s a set that will transport our audience not only through time and space, but across genre lines, too, before planting them firmly back down in the steamy, sultry, sexy, sweaty, sticky (oh so sticky) anteroom of Ladd House.
Suck My Nescac will be playing at Ladd House tomorrow, September 15, at 10 p.m.