Tommy Ashcaft of Shred
Ashcraft of Shred City
BGN- Are you from the North Shore originally?
Tommy: I am originally from Medford
BGN- When did you get into music?
Tommy: I got into SC/DC, Motley Crue, Led Zeppelin
in 7th grade and Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax in high school.
BGN- When did you specifically get interested in punk music?
Tommy: It wasn't until i started sneaking into
the Rat at age 19 that i found punk/hardcore, Tree
being the first live punk band i saw
BGN- What were the music places (Clubs/Record Stores/music stores) in your area?
Tommy: Growing up in Medford we had Strawberries
and record town in the mall (i used to go in and talk to Gary
Cherone when they were the Dream) i took guitar lessons at Antonelli's
music center which had minimal lame gear but it was in high school
me and my buddies used to skip school and go to Daddys Junky music
and Wurlitzer in Boston. The Rat was the first club i ever got
BGN- What began your road into owning a music store?
Tommy- I always loved guitars but never had nice
gear. My wife bought me a beautiful Schecter bass a few years ago
which started my buying addiction. I filled my downstairs with guitars
and started buying, selling, studying them. It was a comment from
a GC asst manager ("yeah, but who plays metal anymore"
?!?!?!) which gave me the idea for Shred City.
How are there no guitar stores aimed at metalheads?
You got everyone's attention
with the Rat stage recreation. Who thought of that?
So I found this shithole near my house and started building.
I wanted it to look metal, like a tattoo parlor or a cool punk record
store and i saw pics on the Rathskeller Facebook page of the front
door and I thought, fuck yeah, what's more metal and hardcore than
that? (Side note i was the last person ever kicked out if the Rat.
That's a story for another time.)
BGN- How did you do it?
Tommy: I had banners made of the sign and windows
and made real signs out of them.
BGN- You have a front door that has the Van Halen
Frankenstein guitar pattern. Who's thinking of these things? Again,
how it that done?
Tommy: The door was wifey's idea, it was this
ugly big red door and she said you could make that into Eddys
(her favorite guitar player) guitar. So I bought some gorilla
tape and went off of the OG Frakenstein.
Talk about Shred City and what's going on there.
Tommy: Half of the music store is cds, vinyl,
comics, cool shit, 70s wood paneled like your buddy's basement
in high school. I sound proofed most of the place so people could
come in and crank it, to really try some gear out (not get dirty
looks like some places).
I got little shredders who come in and wail Megadeth and Metallica
for hours and i love it and I encourage it (upon entry they are
instructed what new gear to try). I actually hired a kid to change
strings and play because he was so good.
BGN- When did
you start the live music?
Tommy: We started having open jam sessions with
the kids and some pros which was awesome for them and I realized
that bands could totally play here. So the stage was built and we
had our first show a couple weeks ago which was amazing.
Thomas Ashcraft and Mike from Goon
BGN- How did the idea with this big show with Tree and other bands start?
Tommy: I started an Instagram for the shop a
few months ago and i listen to all the local bands. It's honestly
like 30 years ago with the amount of awesome bands out there.
I message every band i like and tell them to come check the place
out. Brendan from Neighborhood Shit came by and
bought a guitar and turned me onto Goon Platoon
old time HC. Nate from Goonplatoon and E from Stone the
Oracle came by and checked out the place and said yes
we want to play here. So we started working on a show and Nate
said he knew Dave Tree which was funny because
I've been talking to Dave for months about playing there. Dave
was onboard and i heard this amazingly, nasty gutter HC band called
Scümbari and they had to play. Ian the drummer
had already been to the shop so they were down.
BGN- Will there be other shows in the future?
Tommy: We got bands booked every Saturday for the next three months, all
different genres and styles. There's nothing like live right in
your face music and i want the young kids who can't go to shows
yet to be able to experience it. I think music did a full circle
and I want to be a part of it.
Owner of Shred City Tommy Ashcraft
Jonah, Tommy and Nico on the Rat Stage
Jonah and Nico from Paint by Number
Jonah, Tommy and Nico on the Rat stage