All-time best Nevada band. That was the honor bestowed upon 7 Seconds in 2008, when the Boston Phoenix did the picking for its "50 Bands, 50 States" project. We won't argue with the choice. For three decades, the Reno-based hardcore punks have been rocking — and influencing — audiences around the world. We caught up with frontman Kevin Seconds to discuss the band's spot at this weekend's Punk Rock Bowling fest (7 Seconds plays May 9 at 7:25 p.m.), and lots more.
Reno and Vegas aren't exactly neighbors, but is coming downstate for a show special for you guys?
I think we played our first Vegas show in '82, back when it was mostly kids putting on shows in warehouses and whatnot. I remember in '83 or '84 we played in some kid's living room. We would come down and do pretty good; we made a lot of friends down there. But then as we started to build a name a little bit and the punk scene really started to pick up in Vegas, I think there was a weird Northern Nevada/Southern Nevada rivalry thing building. A lot of the Vegas kids really loved the Southern California stuff, and Reno was really influenced by the early [Washington] D.C. hardcore scene and what was going on in Boston. So for years we'd come down and meet with a lot of indifference. But over the years it smoothed out, and the last time we played down there it was amazing, one of the best shows we had that year.
Punk Rock Bowling has always been like a giant high-school reunion, and this year they've really stepped up the festival side ...
Yeah, it's pretty amazing. When we did it for the first time two years ago, it was one of the coolest things ever. But this time it's pretty much off the hook. The show that we're playing is with TSOL and D.R.I. [Dirty Rotten Imbeciles], so it's like all the dinosaur punk-rock dudes are getting together. I can't wait. Half the fun for me last time was watching drunk punk-rockers bowl.
You guys played your first show in 1980, which makes this the band's 30th anniversary. I'm not seeing a big marketing campaign from your end.
It feels a little strange. When we started, getting a 7-inch piece of vinyl out was enormous. Same thing when we did our first album or went on our first tour. So hitting 30? That's the kinda stuff we used to make fun of. You'd hear the Rolling Stones hit 30, and it was like, "Oh, man, those dinosaurs!" So I wasn't sure how I should feel about it. On the one hand, I'm really proud, but the other part of me was, like: Wasn't I the guy who didn't want to see 40-year-olds onstage — and here I am coming up on 50? But this year, I think we've done 10 or 12 shows, and every show has been pretty phenomenal. We may all have some gray and be a little heavier than we used to be, but we still have energy. And it's still fun. If we stopped tomorrow, I think we'd be really satisfied with what we've been able to do.