Shred Flintstone in Brooklyn this summer. L-R: Dan Barrecchia, Ozzie Silva, Ben Petty and Charlie Weinshank

Dan Barrecchia is the guitarist and singer of rock and roll group Shred Flintstone. Favorites of the New Brunswick basement scene, the band’s recent releases include a set of self-produced lo-fi singles last winter, a summer EP featuring a new lineup, and another single released at midnight on November 17, hours before this phone interview with our music reporter Bennett Kelly. Here they discuss the band’s lineup changes, the difference between basements and festival stages, the enduring influence of Spowder and more.

Bennett Kelly: First off, just congratulations on having a new single out [“Toy”], for about sixteen hours now, I think.

Dan Barrecchia: [Laughs] Thanks.

BK: Has there been any feedback on it, or what are you tracking so far?

Dan Barrecchia: I try not to pay attention to anything, really. I just put music out there and then the universe handles the rest. If people like it, they like it. If they don’t like it, welp, I guess I like it, so that’s really all that matters at the end of the day. I think if I paid too much attention to all that, I’d probably lose my mind [laughs]. It’s scary enough releasing music as it is.

BK: And starting out with a New Brunswick question, when and where was your first New Brunswick performance?

At the House of Independents in Asbury Park in February 2023. L-R: Ben Petty, Ozzie Silva, Dan Barrecchia and Charlie Weinshank. Photos by Ben Kelly

Dan Barrecchia: Oh, hmm. The first one. Might have played at the Scarlet Pub, or this house venue called the Pigeon Pad. I think it was one of those two. I don’t know what year that was, but it was one of those two a couple of years ago.

BK: Yeah. When did you guys form? 2016-ish, ‘17?

Dan Barrecchia: Shred Flintstone released some music in 2017. Didn’t really start playing a lot of shows until 2018, and yeah, it’s just kind of been evolving since then.

BK: Speaking of evolving, I think you started out with some different lineups and you’ve had a different lineup pretty much all of 2023. How did it start out? Was it a duo?

Dan Barrecchia: It started out with my friend Greg Furlong, who played the drums, and myself. And I believe the first show ever played as Shred Flintstone was just us two. And then the lineup kind of changed around and has pretty much just… There’s been some different people I’ve played with over the years, and kind of got a consistent group at the moment. But I’ve just learned to let the band project flow as it’s gonna, in terms of members.

BK: I first saw you as a trio, and Joey [Giambra] and Ed [Weisgerber], they left earlier this year. They both have their own projects now. I was wondering if you can share anything on how that all shook out, that lineup.

Dan Barrecchia: I mean, people just go their separate ways. It’s life. If you’re in relationships with people, sometimes people got to go their own way and do their own thing and focus on what’s important to them. It’s a part of life. And they both mean a lot to me, both good people, and I have a lot of love and respect for both of them.

BK: And then earlier this year, you had the new lineup come together [a second guitarist in Charlie Weinshank, bassist Ben Petty and drummer Ozzie Silva], and pretty soon after, you were playing South by Southwest.

Dan Barrecchia: Yes.

BK: That must have been a pretty quick turnaround for that.

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah, it was kind of crazy. Because at the end of last year, I was pretty much ready to just quit music and end Shred Flintstone. And I had gotten to this point in my life where I needed to do a lot of self-reflecting and healing just from a bunch of different things. And yeah, I pretty much was like, Yeah, I’m gonna quit.

And it’s funny, because I remember, I went down to Costa Rica. I participated in an ayahuasca ceremony, and it was, pretty life-changing for me. And I came back and I said, Yep, I’m done with music. And on a Saturday night, I typed out a thing that I was gonna post on Monday on my Instagram saying, Hey, thanks. I’m gonna be out for a while. Peace, type of thing.

And then I woke up in the morning after I typed it out and I got an email and it was like, Congrats, you’re accepted to South by Southwest. And that was probably the only thing that could have happened in that 24-hour period that would have been like, Ahh, alright, I can’t quit right now. So it was a really kind of crazy synchronicity that kept me going.

And then the year just kind of developed after that into being probably my favorite year of my life. In terms of music, in terms of self-growth. And I don’t know what the future holds, I might get to that point again someday. But I’m still inspired right now to keep going.

BK: Nice. Yeah. You’ve had a good variety of music this year, because over that winter and early this year, you had three kind of eclectic singles, which I thought showed a different style of music that Shred can put out. So I was thinking, what’s your whole perspective on that set of songs? It was “Love Song,” “Rhodamine” and “i want to get high but i’m too paranoid.”

Dan Barrecchia: Oh my God, those ones. Those are funny, because that was like me quitting music, those three songs [laughs]. I recorded them on my laptop with a demo version of a software called Mixcraft, with one microphone, a Blue Yeti microphone meant for podcasting. And they’re all, pretty much just homemade demos, very low quality. And I just made them for fun and not caring about how they were received.

And I don’t think they were very well received [laughs], but I made them, and I like those songs. They were fun to make. There’s not much production value to them, but they’re fun little songs. But yeah that was the end of, I think of last year that I made all of those. And that was just me being like, Ehh alright, I’ll just put these out and then go quiet for a while.

BK: Cool. Yeah, I like the lo-fi elements of them. That was fun.

Dan Barrecchia: Well thanks. Yeah, I like ‘em, you know.

BK: So let’s see, I got a bunch for you. You sing a lot about basements, or in a few songs, you know, “Scalps,” “Friend of a Friend of the Devil.” I was wondering what the difference is for you, between a New Brunswick basement and the South by Southwest stage?

Dan Barrecchia: Well, the difference is, in a New Brunswick basement, it’s like a packed room full of a younger audience that is maybe more than 50% intoxicated, who’s there to just kind of go crazy and push each other around. And just let loose whatever they’re holding on to from their lives, and have a great time. And I found that not as much focus is put on who’s playing, rather just having a good time. Which is great, which is a fantastic thing. But you could play a show to a hundred people in a packed basement, and nobody will even know what your band name was [laughs], or care, you know? They were just there to dance.

And then at South by Southwest, it’s like the complete polar opposite. Everyone there is there to see good music and to know who they’re seeing, and make and find a new band that they’re a fan of. And it’s not an easy crowd to play to, but if you win them over, they’re going to love you. But they’re there to see good music and become fans of a new band.

So it’s definitely higher pressure playing to a new audience in South by Southwest than it is in New Brunswick. Just completely different. Totally different crowds actually [laughs]. But fun. Both fun and both their own cool thing.

“Unlimited Power” by Shred Flintstone, 2021

BK: And how is it having a second guitar player now? Would you say it gives you… unlimited power?

Dan Barrecchia: [Laughs] Yeah, dude, it’s great. I would love, honestly, to not play the guitar at all. Just front the band and not have to even play the guitar. That would be really sick. But we haven’t gotten to that point yet.

Yeah, no, it’s great. Charlie’s been playing guitar with me, Charlie Weinshank, and he holds it down. It’s really freeing and beefs up the sound. And also our friend Taylor Mitchell played the other day on guitar. He plays in a band called Dead Tooth, and he filled in on a show down in South Carolina. He killed it in his own way. And that was sick. But, yeah, no, I think ideally, I would just have a full band behind me and I wouldn’t have to play the guitar. That’s the goal. We’ll see if it ever pans out that way. It does give me unlimited power, yes.

BK: You got a few songs that get you out wandering into the crowd. Which ones are those?

Dan Barrecchia: We’ve been doing this thing where the band just starts jamming and I put the guitar down and, I don’t know. I don’t really know what happens, but something happens and I end up on the ground or in people’s arms or something. But it’s usually in between songs, actually. It’s not even during a song most of the time. Or just during a jam, I don’t know.

BK: And as a lefty guitar player, and especially because I first encountered Shred Flintstone as a trio, so lefty trio guitarist, Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix come to mind. I know you played a Nirvana set for Halloween, which I missed, but I was wondering if they were a big influence? And then what were the cover highlights for you?

Dan Barrecchia: It’s funny because I didn’t even really listen to them when I was younger. I kind of avoided them for some reason. I was really way more into Jimi Hendrix and classic rock, like Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead. And I never really got into Nirvana until I was older, I started to appreciate them. So I would say I definitely am inspired by the simplicity of their writing, for sure, because I’m a minimalist myself.

The set, that was so much fun. Honestly, the guy who books the Halloween show, I reached out to him and I was like, Hey, I want to do a Ramones cover set, can we do that this year? And he was like, We did that two years ago, but will you do Nirvana? And I didn’t want to at first. I felt like it was kind of too on the nose. But, I don’t know, I talked it over with the band and they were down to do it, and it was fun. We had a cellist play with us. Her name’s Jenna Pascale, and she was fantastic, and that was really great. She played on like half of the songs, and our friend Jess Hottman filled in on some vocals too.

And yeah I mean, it was just, it was crazy. People always come to that event for a good time. It was a lot of fun. One of the highlights of the year.

BK: Nice. Another cover, I saw you at Pet Shop in Jersey City once, and you opened with Spowder playing “My House Smells like Kim Deal.”

Why must it smell this way? Spowder, 2015

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah.

BK: And I remember I was outside, I heard the intro, and I was like, No, it can’t be that. And then you hit the verse, and I was like, Oh! And I ran back in.

Dan Barrecchia: Wow. You knew that. That’s one of the best songs ever [laughs]. That’s one of the best bands ever, in my opinion. I say that because that was like the band that inspired me to want to play in basements and DIY venues. Because I didn’t really know what I was doing when I first started seeing them, and I was like, Whoa [laughs]. They just blew my mind. They’re so good. And that song is just one of my favorite songs ever. “My House Smells like Kim Deal” by Spowder [laughs]. Yeah, they’re great.

BK: Did you see them in a New Brunswick basement, must have been?

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah yeah that was like the first time I saw them, was in New Brunswick. I was like, What the f-? Because I was kind of late to music. I didn’t start getting into DIY until I was probably 20 or 21, and I was just completely blown away by them. Them specifically yes were a huge influence on me, wanting to play music live and make moshes happen and shit.

BK: There’s actually another lefty trio from New Brunswick. Had you ever heard of this 90s band called Boss Jim Gettys?

Dan Barrecchia: Boss Jim Daddies?

BK: Boss Jim Gettys. It’s a character from Citizen Kane actually.

Dan Barrecchia: I’ve never heard of them.

BK: Either way, I saw them, they were a trio with a lefty guitarist. They’re like a punk rock, shredding kind of band. And I saw them in ‘22, and I thought it was you guys, like 25 years from now. So I didn’t know if you’d encountered them.

Dan Barrecchia: No [laughs]. I’m going to look them up, though.

BK: Yeah, check, there’s actually a song called “No Fun” that I think would be a good Shred song, because it’s got some unique time signature stuff to it.

Dan Barrecchia: Okay, that sounds, I’ve never heard of them, but I’m going to check them out.

BK: Word.

Dan Barrecchia: That’s cool you know Spowder, though. I’m still thinking about that.

BK: Yeah, I didn’t see them, but you’re not the first person who said they were just kind of blown away by them.

Dan Barrecchia: They were a really good band. A lot of fun. They put out a lot of good music. Definitely one of the best bands from Jersey that I’ve ever seen.

BK: Nice. But they’ve gone dark, I don’t think they’ve been around since covid-ish, a few years ago.

Dan Barrecchia: Na they disbanded a few years ago. Yeah, I don’t know what they’re all up to, but they were great.

BK: Maybe they’ll read this shoutout.

Dan Barrecchia: Maybe [laughs]. And shoutout to Ed, who used to play bass with me, because he’s the one who made me realize how fantastic of a song that was. Ed has very good taste.

The previous lineup at Pet Shop, Jersey City in February 2022. L-R: Joey Giambra, Ed Weisgerber and Dan Barrecchia

BK: Nice. So let me ask some Shred song questions. And these might be my failed interpretations, but I’ll just ask them anyway.

Dan Barrecchia: They’re open for interpretation.

BK: Yeah. So, first off, well “Toy” just came out at midnight. What do you yourself like about this song? What should people know about it?

Dan Barrecchia: Um, well it’s just a song, you know? [Laughs]. I felt like I was bordering on the edge of it being corny [laughs] in terms of it being so direct with the lyrics, sort of, but whatever. Sometimes you got to just be honest in music. I’m just being very honest in that song I think.

BK: Yeah, a bit of nice relationship lyrics, kind of working through things.

Dan Barrecchia: Throwing up an old self there and getting it out of me.

BK: And then one of those singles from, one of the self-produced singles from earlier this year, “Rhodamine.” The lyrics were actually used previously, almost like a medley from that song “Reno.”

Dan Barrecchia: That song “Reno,” oh yeah! Oh, so you know [laughs]. I was honestly hoping that one day, one person would notice that. I didn’t know if anyone would ever notice that, but this is my dreams coming to fruition.

BK: Nice. Yeah so, you just decided to spin it off into its own song? Was it its own thing and you stuck it onto “Reno,” or anything like that?

Dan Barrecchia: I actually wrote “Rhodamine” before “Reno.” So the lyrics were actually originally from that song. And then I liked the lyrics a lot, so I put them on “Reno,” and then released “Rhodamine” later and kept the same lyrics. Because I didn’t think I’d ever release “Rhodamine,” but when I was thinking I was going to quit music, I was like, Fuck it, I’ll just release this, I don’t care.

BK: Do you have like a whole bucket of songs that are semi or fully-produced?

Dan Barrecchia: I wouldn’t say semi or fully-produced. I probably have about ten to twenty songs right now that are fully written, just unrecorded. I’m just at the point now where I only want to do good production quality stuff that I release. So it just costs a lot of money to make the songs the way I want them to sound [laughs]. But, yeah, we got some stuff lined up for December for recording.

BK: Oh, cool. And then I got some more. So from the Reno project, “Seasick.” That song, the vocal effect on that, it reminds me of Ween. How Ween does, I think they do some voice modulation, because it’s kind of a different sounding voice on a few of their songs. So was that an influence for “Seasick,” what you’re trying to do?

Dan Barrecchia: Pretty 100% influenced by Ween. Yeah I’d say [laughs], pretty much that’s spot on. Ween was a very big influence on that song. On the vocals being shifted down, yes.

BK: Yeah. Like “Tried and True,” “Transdermal Celebration.”

Dan Barrecchia: Yup, yes, very much Ween-influenced.

BK: Nice.

Dan Barrecchia: Good catch.

BK: What happened to that whole album? That’s the only two tracks that are up. Took it down?

Dan Barrecchia: I mean, the songs exist. I don’t know, I just wasn’t. At the end of the day, I kind of wasn’t happy with the way a lot of them sounded, and it’s just my own creative choice. And some people were upset with me for taking that down. But you know, sometimes you gotta make decisions that are best for you.

BK: Maybe you could do a Taylor Swift thing with it and re-release, and be like “Dan’s Version” or something.

Dan Barrecchia: [Laughs]. Yeah na, na. But sometimes you just gotta let it go. But Taylor, I’ll take some of her money.

BK: Another one, “All My Friends Are Bread.” Is that “bread” as in “money”? As in, “You’re so money, you don’t know how money you are.” Like that movie [Swingers].

Dan Barrecchia: Oh that, I honestly have no clue what it means, but that works for me.

BK: Like shouting out your friends or something. All my friends are bread. That’s what I thought it was.

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah, you know, that’s great. I like that.

BK: See, this is what I do. I overthink some lyrics, but now I’m glad to ask.

Dan Barrecchia: That’s why I like to write lyrics that [laughs], they’re meant to be overthought.

“Delta” by Shred Flintstone, 2018

BK: And then “Delta.” “Delta” was, I guess, your first track off your first EP.

Dan Barrecchia: Yes, yes.

BK: Which stands out for a bunch of reasons. The tempo, for one. But lyric question, you sang “[My friend I’ll not, come] down to Paterson and pick you up, I know why you’re there.”

Dan Barrecchia: Ahuh.

BK: Why was this person there, if I can guess?

Dan Barrecchia: What do you think about that lyric?

BK: I think this person was buying drugs down in Paterson. That’s my impression.

Dan Barrecchia: [Laughs] There you go. I guess you gotta know Jersey to know that reference. But, yeah no, I, yeah pretty much that’s what that lyric was about.

BK: And you didn’t want to pick them up for various reasons.

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah, just, you know. That’s like a very personal lyric for me. I feel like I don’t know how in-depth I want to go on that one [laughs].

BK: Yeah, we’ll keep it moving.

Dan Barrecchia: But yeah, it’s that, it’s that. No, but that lyric is a meaningful lyric for me.

BK: Nice. Well yeah that song definitely stands out in the whole Shred catalog. It’s unique.

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah seems that that one gets streamed a little tiny bit.

BK: Alright last lyric question is about “Friend of a Friend of the Devil.” My interpretation, so, “Went to the basement and the devil was there, said a prayer, and then he vanished into the air, found God yeah everything’s alright.” I took that as a tribute to basement scenes, and I like how it centers the basement as like a holy place. You know, like in Grateful Dead, “Friend of the Devil,” how he goes down to the levee, meets the devil and vanishes. Or like meeting the devil at a Mississippi crossroads or something like that. Was that the intent with that lyric?

Dan Barrecchia: You know, the intent was to kind of finish the Grateful Dead’s for me. The Grateful Dead was so cathartic for me, and healing, and I felt like that song needed a happier kind of finish to it. That’s why I put “found God” in there, and then the devil was forgiven in a way or something. I’m not, like, religious or anything, but, yeah, for me, that’s a very spiritual song by the Grateful Dead, one that I’m referencing.

BK: Cool.

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah, I like your interpretation of it, that’s good.

BK: I’ll stick with it. And then just some other questions about music. This will probably be the last few minutes.

Dan Barrecchia: These are good questions man.

BK: Oh, thanks. Yeah, I care, I guess.

Dan Barrecchia: I could tell.

BK: So a song like “Shred Durst” or “Scalps,” I feel like, I think I’ve seen them both live, but they definitely kick up live. They’re pretty heavy and the audience gets into them. So I was wondering, do you write songs thinking about how they’ll play live, in some cases?

“Scalps” live in 2023

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah, sometimes for sure. I definitely wrote “Scalps” thinking about that. That was like the first time I wrote a song actually thinking about wanting to make the audience kind of move, in terms of dynamics.

Actually, funny enough, “Scalps” was very influenced by Spowder. Because they did a cover of this song called “Mosquito Song.” You should check it out. There’s a live version of it on YouTube, and it’s, [laughs] it’s probably one of the best live videos I’ve ever seen. I think it’s filmed in the radio station at William Paterson or something. And I wanted to write a song that had dynamics like that, where it’s just up and down dynamics. And yeah it kind of came out of that.

BK: Cool. Yeah “Scalps” stands out, too, with the unique song structure.

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah, that’s a fun one.

BK: Cool to know a little Spowder influence. And then, you had the EP out in June, and a single today. So these four songs, they’re a group effort with the new lineup, compositionally?

Dan Barrecchia: Yes, sort of. I wrote all the songs primarily, and then I brought them to whoever I was working with at the time to kind of just help me flesh them out. And then Adam [Cichoki], who I worked with on the EP, helped me kind of bring it to life, and then Connor [Hanson], who I worked with on the single, helped me bring that to life.

This is more of the stuff that I really want to be making, and kind of evolving from this point forward to wherever that leads. But, yeah, this is the stuff I really like listening to and writing, myself.

BK: How do these songs originate in your mind? Is it melody? Is it lyrics or a theme? Do you wait for inspiration or do you go at it methodically, all that stuff.

Dan Barrecchia: I don’t think music can ever be too methodical. The ideas can’t be methodical at least. I usually just will wait until I feel inspired to start playing the guitar, and then if I’m particularly tapped in that day to something, I will come up with a riff that I like. And then just evolve it from there. But usually it just starts with a riff on the guitar.

But I’ve learned that I can’t force it. It’s just like, I gotta just wait to feel inspired to write something. And that happens in weird spurts, sporadically, at random times that I can’t predict. It’s just random. And most of it ends up being throwaway garbage [laughs], but there’s a couple of good things that come out of those spurts of excitement. But I do try to write shit most days.

BK: Do you play guitar every day?

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah, I play the guitar pretty much every day.

BK: And then last couple here. You touched on it earlier, and I wanted to follow up on what your favorite and least favorite aspects of being in a band. Or just the whole shebang. What are your favorite things, and what about the music scene or industry do you not enjoy?

Dan Barrecchia: That’s a really good question. My favorite things are that it’s incredibly fulfilling to know that I’m able to give what I love at everything I have. And to not have many, if any, regrets in life, because I know I’ve been giving my truest and deepest passion to everything I have, regardless of success with it. So it’s very rewarding spiritually for me.

And playing live, there’s literally no better high in the entire world for me than playing a good show to a receptive crowd. It’s probably one of the greatest things in life for me. And I meet a lot of really cool and interesting people, and I’ve gotten to go to like every single state in the country and play music there. These are all great things.

Then in terms of stuff I don’t like. It’s very competitive, and, you know, there’s a lot of. I don’t want to complain because it doesn’t do any good, but there’s… It’s, you know, it’s the music industry. It’s been the same issues just in new, different ways over the past half a century. Just nepotism and stuff like that is annoying. I would love to not have to ever post anything on Instagram, ever. That would be great.

I’d love to just be able to make music and not have to worry about keeping up with any social media ever. That would be really sick. But I gotta utilize that tool in a healthy way, and I think that’s a thing that a lot of artists have to learn in today’s world. But, yeah, I don’t know. I try to really not harp on all the negative stuff, and just keep to what inspires me and remember why I do this.

BK: Yeah. It’s all about the music, and sometimes you have to play the game, but as long as you keep the focus where it should be, it should work out.

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah. I mean I’ve wanted to play music since I was a little kid. I’ve just always kind of had this feeling inside of me that I need to express something from within myself. And I’m just lucky, thankful and grateful that I get to do that to any capacity at all and that there’s anybody at all that’s interested in me doing that. And I have to focus on that. And not comparing myself to other artists and stuff like that.

BK: And then lastly, what is next for Shred Flintstone? What are your near-term plans and long-term ambitions?

Dan Barrecchia: I don’t want to speak too much on it right now because I like to just let things happen without talking about them. But we have some recording plans that I’m really excited about in December. And they’re like my favorite songs I’ve ever written, and I think they’re gonna be great. And I’m just really excited to get in the studio next month and record them. And I’m planning a tour in March. And these things will all come to fruition in the ways that they’re meant to, and whatever other opportunities come Shred’s way, I’ll do my best with.

At Our Wicked Lady in Brooklyn, June 2023

BK: Sweet. And you got one more show this year, right?

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah, on December 14 at Main Drag in Brooklyn, New York, with The Thing and Big Girl.

BK: Cool. Sounds like a show.

Dan Barrecchia: It’ll be great. It’s gonna be a good one.

BK: Alright, great. Well, I hit the end of my list here. I think we’re at 34, so just right on time. And yeah, I think this was a good one.

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah. You really put a lot of thought and care into those questions, so I appreciate it.

BK: Yeah, my pleasure. I got all my questions answered, so.

Dan Barrecchia: [Laughs] Yeah, no, I’m glad you were interested. That was cool. I don’t think I ever, really ever do this, so it’s exciting to share my thoughts for once.

BK: Yeah, I think the people will want to hear what you got to say.

Dan Barrecchia: Yeah we’ll see, who the hell knows [laughs].

Music Reporter at New Brunswick Today | | Website

Bennett Kelly reports on music for New Brunswick Today. He is a two-time winner of the Best Arts & Entertainment Coverage award from the NJ Society of Professional Journalists, for his features on the New Brunswick music scene in 2021 and 2022.

Bennett Kelly reports on music for New Brunswick Today. He is a two-time winner of the Best Arts & Entertainment Coverage award from the NJ Society of Professional Journalists, for his features on the New Brunswick music scene in 2021 and 2022.