When did you get the music bug?  According to my mother, I’ve been singing for as long as I could talk. When I was about 8 years old, my parents bought an acoustic guitar for my older brother. Whenever I got the chance, I’d sneak into his room to “play” it. 

What was your first ever musical performance?  4th grade show and tell! By that time, my brother had an electric guitar, and I was in possession of his aforementioned acoustic guitar. I brought it into class and performed an original “song,” which was just a simple melody on one string! 

What was the first album you ever purchased? It was definitely Led Zeppelin II and I purchased it from Sam Goody in the Silver City Galleria Mall in Taunton, MA. I’m pretty sure I was 16. Not sure where I got the money from. I think I worked at McDonald’s around that time. I remember looking for Led Zeppelin I, but they didn’t have it!

What was the first live concert you ever went to? I was 6 years old. My brother, who was 10, had convinced me to save my 1 dollar-per-week allowance for an entire year, to pool our money together, and to beg our mother to buy us tickets to see Aerosmith at the Providence Civic Center. Incredibly, she agreed. So we dressed up like 80’s rock stars and mom took us to the show. Skid Row was the opener and it was the first time I smelled marijuana. 

What are your main influences? I’m heavily influenced by the British invasion bands and by punk rock. Early rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm & blues are also among my favorite styles. One influence that may not be readily apparent is that of hip-hop. Wu-Tang Clan and Notorious B.I.G are among my favorite artists of all time! 

How does the writing process work for you?  I never sit down to write. For me, ideas pop in at random and I try to get to the piano before they pop out. Sometimes I get lucky and I’m already practicing when they pop in. If I catch one, I’ll spend the next couple hours fleshing it out and trying to remember it. Then I usually spend about a year fine tuning it. I never write them down. If they’re any good, I’ll definitely remember them. Anytime I try to write a song, it always sucks. 

What’s your favorite thing about writing a song?  Letting the idea lead the way is always very exciting. Completing a work of art is always very exciting. Completing a work of art and deciding never to use it, however, is among the most satisfying experiences for me. I think it marks the point when an artist has matured and is ready to start some shit. 

How did Old Town Crier come together? During the pandemic I decided to record some demos in my barn. Five of the songs I recorded came out really well, so I had them mixed and mastered by Dave Westner and they became my first EP, I’m Longing for You Honey in Middleboro, Mass. I put it on Bandcamp, sent a bunch of cold-call promo messages on Facebook, and it started selling immediately. I thought to myself, “Ok, I can do this.”

How was your experience recording A Night With The Old Town Crier live on stage at The Extended Play Sessions? Recording a live album at The Extended Play Sessions was one of the greatest experiences of my life! Bill Hurley and his crew are at the top of their game, as is the band I hired. It was an amazing experience to have my songs interpreted by such talent, and to have it recorded at one the best live music venues in New England. I’ll never be able to top that album! 

Who would you like to open for on tour? Definitely The Rolling Stones so my mom can meet Mick. And because I need the money. 


1.0  How was it recording with Eric “Roscoe” Ambel? Recording with Roscoe was a great learning experience. As a producer Roscoe demands a lot, but his results speak for themselves. It was a real challenge to step up to his expectations, and that caused a lot of growing pains. But it was for the best. I’d wanted to work with Roscoe for years, and since I moved to New York in 2001 I slowly got to know him; hanging out at his bar, the Lakeside Lounge, and going to hear him play. He’s one of those guys with the Midas Touch. Whether it’s his work playing guitar with Joan Jett or Steve Earle, his playing in bands like Del Lords, the Yayhoos and his own group The Roscoe Trio, or bands he produced like the Blood Oranges, the Backsliders and the Bottle Rockets; everything Roscoe touches turns to gold.  Roscoe sees projects on a macro and micro level. On the micro level, he’s got a great sense of what sounds need to be where; what parts of songs need guitar licks, what tracks need an overdubbed acoustic guitar with Nashville tuning, where a harmonica break fits, etc.. On a macro level, he’s always got his eye on the big picture like how to make the best use of studio time, the order that songs should go in, how to tell players to prepare and a whole lot more. My background is in writing for newspapers. I liken Roscoe to an excellent editor.

2.0  How does the new CD “Hello Disaster” differ from your debut “Heathens Like Me”? First and foremost, Hello Disaster was produced, unlike Heathens Like Me. It took four fun days to make the first record. It took three hard years to make the second. The first record is the sound of a band coming together, going into the studio and just bashing out the songs. The second record, to me, is the sound of a band busting apart. But the sound of the shattering is pretty glorious.

3.0  What’s up with the New Heathens? I don’t want to air dirty laundry, but some of those growing pains I mentioned led to us stopping performing out as a band midway through making Hello Disaster. We had been going pretty strong there for a couple years, hauling up and down the eastern seaboard in a big, purple van, but we hit the rocks in the studio. It was painful. It wasn’t how I envisioned it – and believe me, I had meticulously planned this project for years and worked my ass off – but I came to a fork in the road during the recording process where I could salvage one of two things: the band or the record. I chose the record. Note that the record starts out with five people wailing together in a room, and ends quietly with me by myself. That’s a good metaphor for how the recording process went. I find myself in the curious position now of trying to promote a good record by a band that isn’t really around anymore. I’ve been playing plenty of solo acoustic shows, difficulties of promoting a full-band record as a solo acoustic artist be damned. Don’t be surprised to see some “Nate Schweber and the New Heathens” shows soon.

4.0  What sort of music did your family listen to growing up? My mom is the partially-reformed pseudo-hippie of the family and she’s a huge music lover. Growing up she I remember her playing the Beatles and Emmylou Harris, who looks like her sister. She was the one who turned me on to the Rolling Stones and Steve Earle. My dad, a self-proclaimed “bean-counter,” actually has great taste in music, though I didn’t realize it when I was younger. I learned about Warren Zevon from my dad.

5.0  What was the first album you ever purchased? Aerosmith’s Pump. Power ballads be damned, if anybody’s recorded a cooler song than F.I.N.E. in the past 20 years, I ain’t heard it.

6.0  Does being from Montana originally have any impact on your style? I’m sure it does. Montana has wide open vistas and not a lot of people, so growing up I had wild, fanciful notions of what I wanted to do with my life and not a lot of people to tell me I couldn’t. I noticed a definite change in my mindset when I got to New York and found myself hemmed down at the bottom of concrete canyons all day (lo and behold some of those “fanciful notions” didn’t quite work out). Montana also affected my taste in music. The Pacific Northwest has a psychic connection with the south, I imagine because they are both big, rural areas where agriculture dominates. So things like country music and southern rock resonate up there. Growing up a weirdo, I figured out fast that a lot of the chaw-dipping, wrangler-wearing guys who cranked modern country in their pickups wanted to kick the shit out of me, so in high school I hated country music. It wasn’t until I got to college that I luckily fell in with a hip, bar-band scene who turned me on to country that was Stonesy, relevant, smart and cool, like Steve Earle, the Bottle Rockets, Todd Snider, Doug Sahm and the Supersuckers.

7.0  Did you have a band in high school/college? what did you call yourselves? what did you play? I sang in rock bands all through high school and college. Some names I remember include, “Blue Monday and the Cockroaches,” “The Spice Boys,” “Aces & Eights,” and “Moxie.”I played tuba in school band from fifth grade through when I graduated college. To this day the longest lasting and most popular band I was ever in was a German polka band that spanned elementary school through college called “The Hungry Five.”

8.0  Why did you move to NYC? I tell people that having grown up in Montana, I wanted to find out what life in a big city was like, and boy have I found out. The catalyst was I got an internship at Rolling Stone magazine in 2001. I came to New York to see what I could do in journalism and rock ‘n’ roll.

9.0  How do you approach song writing? That’s a tough one. A lot of my favorite songs are what I like to think of as “smart.” Like “Lawyers, Guns & Money” by my man Warren Zevon, it’s a wild concept for a song, totally original hook, fantastic riff and it’s funny. Zevon is a master at that. Same with Brian Hennemann of the Bottle Rockets, particularly when he co-writes with Scott Taylor. Their songs “$1,000 Car;” “Welfare Music,” “Zoysia” and a slew of others are new, smart, descriptive ways of looking at common things. So that’s always my goal when I try to write a song. I usually fall far, far short.

10.0  What do you prefer – writing, recording, or playing live?  It used to be playing live, because that’s all I did. As I get more experienced at writing and recording, I’m enjoying them more and more.