Screeching Weasel Interview - Ben Weasel and Dan Vapid - Dec. 11th, 2009 | ThePunkSite.com
|Band: Screeching Weasel
||Member: Ben Weasel and Dan Vapid
||Location: New City Compound
- Edmonton, Alberta|
|Date: December 11th, 2009||Interviewer: Bobby Gorman|
Screeching Weasel are punk rock legends, there's no denying that. They have always been the band behind the band, influencing countless punk acts ranging from Green Day and Blink182 to Rise Against and in the past twenty-three years have released albums that have gone to become staples in the punk community. After an eight year break, the band announced their reunion earlier this year and for some reason came to Edmonton for one of their three shows in 2009. Before their show at the New City Compound, which was as amazing as you'd expect it to be, Ben Weasel and Dan Vapid took the time to sit down and discussed everything Screeching Weasel.
It's a lengthy and very informative interview that starts with the current line-up and happenings, then dives deep within Weasel history to see how it came to be before returning to the present once again to discuss the changes of the music industry, the troubles of everything being documented and future plans for the band.
Bobby: Starting with the basics, you guys did the show in Chicago for the Riot Fest and now you’re doing this one off show in Edmonton – why Edmonton?
Ben: Well, we did one in Austin. That was the first one, in Austin, Texas; and why? Because we got an offer and it seemed like an interesting place to play. I don’t know if next time we would necessarily come to Edmonton in the winter but it’s a good setup here. Tabatha was telling us that they do about sixty percent fly-ins because a lot of bands don’t come up here when they tour Canada. They’ll go to Calgary and then keep moving east; so the result of that is they seem to have a pretty good system down and they have things set up so it’s kind of a no-brainer in terms of logistics. Really all you have to do is book your flights and your hotel and get here and then everything else is taken care of; and for me, anything that makes the work easier is going to make the offer much more attractive.
Dan: And it is a nice place too. I mean, it’s a great club, good people, so it makes it definitely worth it.
Bobby: You have another show announced for February at Reggie’s in Chicago; do you have anything else planned? Do you have plans for a full tour or just continue doing one-off shows here and there?
Ben: We’re doing a show in Philly in April which is being announced in a couple days once we get back from here and we’re doing Screeching Weasel one night and the Riverdales the next. A lot of the time with these fly-ins, the idea is to try and do that if they’ll make an offer for the Riverdales because we want to do both bands and they’re essentially the same members minus one guy. We don’t have anything confirmed yet, we’re looking at probably Toronto in May or June, possibly Orlando, possibly somewhere on the West Coast; but the general rule for me is I want to work from about April through September or so and then take the fall off.
My wife and I had twin girls, they’re four months old now, and I’m at home taking care of them during the day so I want to be with them. And in the winter months it’s just… You know, a day and a half before we came up here we had nineteen inches of snow in Madison where I live. So the day before the show I was going to get everything together and I was going to be all ready to go and instead I was out there for four hours with a snow blower. We could’ve had some bad flight delays, a lot of stuff could have happened, so I really prefer to do these things when the weather’s a little bit nicer. We’re working this winter because a big gig fell through basically, there was supposed to be Riot Fest West. This offer came up and we thought this looked great and then we decided to zip down to Reggie’s and do a couple down there. So by and large, I think we want to work spring, summer and very early fall mostly.
Bobby: This lineup, like you said, is pretty much the Riverdales lineup. How did this incarnation of Screeching Weasel come together? With you guys Simon Lamb, Justin Perkins and Adam Cargin?
Dan: We know Justin from working with him.
Ben: Yeah, I had been doing solo shows and I had been working with Justin and Simon on those and then Justin recommended Adam because he does a lot of studio work with Adam. And Vapid and I have been talking about it for a while so when we decided to do it, we wanted people who were reliable and people who were going to do a good job. It’s like anything else, you know people and if you audition them and they work out, then you want to go ahead and do that.
Bobby: Throughout Screeching Weasel’s career, you guys have had a constantly rotating list of members. You have had a total of twenty-one members play in Screeching Weasel.
Dan: *laughing* Is that right?
Bobby: Yep. How hard is it to keep it going with constantly changing members?
Ben: Not at all. I mean, people come and go for a variety of reasons and you just keep going. The band split up in 2001 and got back together in 2009, that was an eight year layoff and in those eight years I really, in the past couple years, came to realize that this is my band. The people who are going to be in the band are going to have to want to be there and they’re going to have to enjoy doing it and they’re going to have to be happy with whatever business deals we make and if they’re not, and they want to leave, well no hard feelings. I’m not going to get mad about it. But what I’m not going to do is get into a lot of the drama and the inner-band conflicts and all that kind of stuff that really permeated the band for many years in the nineties and led to us splitting up over and over again and led to people leaving and all that. I refuse to do it. If I look at it as a business and I’m hiring people, then that sounds cold to a lot of people but actually my experience has been that it ends up being a lot more fun for everybody because everybody knows what to expect going in.
Also, I think finding the right people. For years, we would get people in the band… I mean, Vapid was there in ’91 when we had a guy – god love him, he’s not a bad guy – but we had Dave Naked in the band and we had him there because he had a free rehearsal place in his dad’s basement. It wasn’t because he was a great bass player.
Dan: Oh, I complained about him right off the bat.
Ben: Yeah, he hated him. Everybody in the band hated him except me.
Dan: I was the one complaining about him and Ben’s like “My God man, I finally get this thing together and you gotta complain about this guy.”
Ben: So when it came time to kick him out, I made him do it. I made him call him and kick him out.
Dan: Yeah, that was kind of unpleasant.
Ben: And he didn’t want to do it and I said “well, if you don’t do it, he’s in the band.” So that tipped it for him and then he was all over it.
Dan: So I call him up and I go “So we took a vote” – we didn’t *laughs* - “So we took a vote and uh… you’re out of the band.” “Oh… okay.” That was it.
Ben: But for whatever it’s worth, the other guys couldn’t stand him either. I didn’t find him that bad, he didn’t annoy me that much, but for some reason he rubbed Vapid the wrong way. But you know, I mean, he wasn’t that good a bass player either.
Dan: Yeah, that was a big part of it too. He did have that rehearsal space which kind of came in handy.
Ben: Which didn’t even last that long because his dad would come down and he’d be like “alright, that’s enough!” and we’d have to stop. *Laughs* It was in his parent’s basement; so you know, you get all kinds of situations where you get people in the band probably for the wrong reasons. It’s not really their fault. It was my fault a lot of the time for not thoroughly vetting people. But even then, in 1991, we weren’t on Lookout Records. I mean we had made a little bit of a name for ourselves but…
Dan: But there wasn’t an infinite amount of musicians either back then.
Ben: No, there weren’t a lot of musicians. Then, out of those, there was almost none that wanted to play the kind of music that we were playing. I mean, most of the people who were playing punk rock wanted to do stuff that was more metal or more complex musically. This stuff wasn’t popular yet at that time. It was harder to find people so you kind of took what you could get.
Dan: A lot of people were playing cross over kind of music at the time, like metal/hardcore kind of stuff. Agnostic Front and Murphy’s Law were really big at the time.
Dan: Cro-Mags. All those bands were really big.
Ben: Corrosion of Conformity. Jesus, they were awful.
Dan: All that shit was really big at the time and we wanted nothing to do with it. I mean, I liked it when I was a little younger but I wanted to be more like a band like the Ramones or the Undertones and the Dickies and shit. Ben was the only one I knew who wanted to do the same. *laughs*
Ben: Yeah, we loved that stuff and we weren’t interested in trying to impress people with how good we played our instruments. We were just interested in coming up with good songs and having fun with it.
Bobby: Well, like you said, you’ve had a lot of breaks in your career. Your last one, in 2001, was an eight year gap. Do you think this incarnation is going to last a bit longer?
Ben: I don’t know, I don’t know. Ask those guys *pointing towards the other members of Screeching Weasel in the background.* It depends. Sometimes people move on. I think me and Vapid are pretty good to go for a while. The other guys, those guys are really busy. Adam plays in a full time band, he does studio work and he plays in other bands. He’s a busy guy. Simon’s a workaholic; he’s working all the time. Justin’s constantly in the studio producing. So I don’t know. I don’t know if in two or three years they’re still going to want to do it. I don’t know if it’ll be worth it for them. I mean, I hope that this line-up sticks together. I really like it.
Dan: I don’t just say this either, it is my favourite line-up. Honest to God, it really is.
Ben: In terms of having both things covered – musicianship and the ability to get along – then yeah, this is the best line-up because it seems in the past we’ve always had one or the other and usually we didn’t have the musicianship… and didn’t get along. Usually it was neither of those things. I think everybody in this band gets along. Everybody is pretty easy going about things. We don’t fight or anything like that because, again, I run the band much differently than I used to. It’s pretty clear that it’s my band and I’m the boss and that’s the way things are going to be. Again, a lot of people don’t like that attitude but people are happier when they know where they stand. A lot of the conflicts in bands come from people having all these ideas about the way the band should be and how things should be but they never talk about it and they all just kind of hope that by sheer force of will they can make their version of the band happen and then there’s all these opposing things.
Dan: Yeah, absolutely. One guy might be having these big dreams and the other guy’s got a day job that he’s pretty happy with. The two people still love music and want to play and be successful at it but they have a different experience with it.
Ben: And we had that. Our first drummer, he’s a good guy and whatever, but he was way more interested in having a steady job and all that. It finally got to the point where he wasn’t going to tour and I called him up and I’m like “dude, you gotta go” and he said “yeah, I totally understand.” There weren’t any hurt feelings, but he wasn’t interested in doing what we were doing which was working shitty jobs just until we could go on tour or do a record or what have you. At the same time, we had people in the band who, in my opinion, pretty clearly wanted to really make it big in rock and roll and were willing to kind of do anything to do that. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that, but they were in the wrong band for that. Because my approach’s a little bit more abrasive and I kind of wanted to do things my own way and be a little bit more independent about it. So it can be difficult to find the right mix of people, but I think the line-up we’ve got now is fantastic.
Bobby: As of tomorrow, December 12th, your relationship with Asian Man Records is coming to an end and you’re moving to Recess Records.
Ben: You know more about my band than I do, I didn’t even know it was as of tomorrow.
Bobby: Well, it is. *laughs*
Dan: Or twenty-one members.
Ben: Yeah, I didn’t know that either.
Dan: I would like to ask you how many members there has been of the Queers. That would be a good question.
Bobby: That one I do not know. (Editors Note: There have been 32 members in the Queers).
Ben: He didn’t research that for this interview.
Dan: I figured if he knew that, maybe he knew this one.
Ben: Nah, he did his research for this one.
Dan: Alright, alright. Fair enough.
Bobby: Next time when the Queers come I’ll know.
Ben: Yeah, there you go.
Bobby: So what happened with Asian Man? Why did you decide to go to Recess?
Ben: I don’t know. You’d have to ask their employees who seem to relish in running around the internet spreading rumours about it - total fucking bullshit by the way. The only thing I’m going to say about it is that there were some severe personality clashes and if I ever had any fucking doubt whatsoever about leaving that label, those doubts would’ve been erased completely by watching the reaction of the people at that label once we left. Because it didn’t take a hot minute before their employees were running around the internet fucking flinging the shit and I’m not going to do the same. I won’t do it. I’m not going to say anything more about it than that. But all I’ll say is I’m not going to work with those type of human fucking beings; and that’s all I have to say about that.
Bobby: Okay, going back in time a little bit, one of my favourite songs by Screeching Weasel is Compact Disc from the Major Label Debut EP. In that, you call CDs “a multi-flawed industry scam devoid of any thought or heart at all. It’s the antithesis of rock and roll". Now, however, we’ve taken one step further away from the CDs with MP3s, iPods and the like. So I’m going to start with a vague question and then go in a bit – what’s your opinion on the whole digital distribution/MP3 download stuff?
Ben: I think it’s great. I think anything that encourages people to buy music rather than steal it is a good thing. I don’t have any problems with it. That song… sometimes you write songs just to try and provoke or whatever. I don’t think, at that time, my devotion to vinyl was as intense as that song might seem. You blow things out or proportion for songs. It’s not a literal reflection of your thoughts. But I did definitely have a preference. These days I could care less. I would rather own things digitally and have them on my computer. I don’t like the fact that the stuff takes up so much space. But I think its fine. Things move on.
The one thing people complain about a lot is the sound quality, but when I was a teenager I was listening to punk rock records that sounded like they were recorded in garbage dumpsters. If you go back and listen to them, they’re completely crappy recordings but I love those records. So when people who are punk rock fans make these high-fidelity type arguments, I sort of scratch my head because the loss between a MP3 and an AIFF file – which is what you’ll have on a CD – is nowhere near as drastic as the loss you’ll have between the CD and the actual digital recording or the analog recording. In other words, if you really want the real experience then you’re going to want to listen to the actual tapes in the studio on studio speakers which, of course, is not feasible for anybody who listens to music recreationally. I think people don’t like it, in my opinion, because they get nostalgic and they say “oh, you have to have this physical thing to hold” or whatever.
Dan: It’s easy to do; I mean we’ve all been there.
Ben: When we came out with My Brain Hurts, we were just adamant that those records had to come out on vinyl because we thought CDs were totally lame and they were going to be gone in five years and nobody was going to care about them and everybody was going to go back to listening to vinyl. We were staunch defenders of the vinyl experience. We were young and we were kind of being silly and being militant about something that really doesn’t….
Dan: Evolution. It happens.
Ben: The fact of the matter is I don’t use my turn tables except when I’m listening to test pressings. So that’s pretty much it.
*At this point, one of the opening bands started sound checking on the stage below us, completely drowning out the conversation. So instead of carrying through the noise, we packed up our stuff and found a quiet table at the Liquid Lounge upstairs to continue the interview in a place where we could actually hear one another talk; and a place where, thankfully, I could make out what was being said on the tape.*
Bobby: Going back to vinyl and MP3s and stuff like that, why do you think it is that, even with the easy access to MP3s, that vinyl is coming back? Like I just read that this year Nielsen Soundscan counted that there were 2.1 million pieces of vinyl sold which is the most vinyl sold since 1991 when they started to keep track of it. So why do you think vinyl is coming back?
Dan: I think things just tend to come around, whether it’s a format or whether it’s a genre of music or whatever. I just think it’s kind of making a comeback like anything else would, in my opinion.
Ben: I think the reason it’s making a comeback is nostalgia. I think most of the people who are buying vinyl are people who grew up on CDs and grew up at a time when vinyl wasn’t, especially for the bigger releases and the major label releases, wasn’t happening. People always do that. You see the way people dress and stuff. People are nostalgic often for a time they never experienced and they want to experience that. I think there is a strong emotional component to buying vinyl specifically that makes it for people much more valid and tactile and important than buying a CD or a digital file.
When I hear the argument for why people don’t want to buy a digital file, if you get away from the sound quality arguments, there are arguments based on aesthetics. For me, I’m in my forties, I’m married, I have two kids, when I’m at home I’m watching the kids, I’m out cutting the fucking grass, I go fishing and shit like that. I don’t want a fucking room full of records. If I’m listening to music, I prefer to have the digital file. But if I was twenty, I’m sure I would be buying vinyl and championing vinyl as well – and I don’t mean that to sound condescending, I’m not against it.
Dan: We grew up that way.
Ben: Like I said, it was the same thing when we were in our twenties. We hated CDs and we thought they were awful and evil and that vinyl was the only true way to listen to music and it never occurred to us that we were being kind of close-minded about it.
Bobby: Technology has, in a way, changed the music industry completely. Take, for instance, Invasion USA which was the latest Riverdales album. You said it was the first album that you guys were able to demo completely before the studio because you recorded it all with GarageBand.
Bobby: Do you think it is good for people to be able to record songs so easily with things like GarageBand and ProTools and stuff like that? Do you think it as a positive or negative aspect for the music industry?
Dan: I don’t know. I love GarageBand *laughs* I thought it was very helpful for our last record. It was new and it helped with recording, so for me it was definitely a plus.
Ben: Yeah. It would be good under any circumstance, but when you’re looking at a situation where you have smaller and smaller budgets to work with because more and more people are stealing the music, then you need to do everything you can to save money in the studio and the traditional way of doing that, for us, was to do as much quote-unquote pre-production work as you could. But even on the budgets we were working on in most of the nineties, the concept of pre-production was kind of laughable - the concept of production was kind of laughable. But in this case, what we’re able to do is work out the songs and work out the parts, not a hundred percent, but to a degree where we end up needing to spend less time in the studio.
For instance, when we did Invasion USA we blocked out, I think, eight days. Now, we ended up using all eight of those days but we were doing things like comping vocals tracks and things like that that we didn’t really need all that time. We could’ve done that whole album in a much shorter amount of time at the level that we wanted to within reason. So for this new album, we start recording the new album Monday. I think we’ve got… *he starts counting off days* We’ve got eight days; and again, I think we’ll probably be done before that eight day and we’ll probably end up using the seventh and eight day for comping vocals or something. I don’t know. Or maybe we’ll go in and screw around a little more.
Dan: Is that part of your question though too? About technology in the studio?
Dan: It definitely has its advantages for sure.
Ben: The thing is, when you look at some of the technological advantages of recording, some of them can end up being a hindrance. Because if you know that you can edit things to within an infinitesimal amount of space then your natural tendency is to be more inclined to do that when a lot of the time it would be easier and quicker to just sing the fucking vocal over. So you got to make sure you don’t miss the forest for the tree and take all this technology that’s supposed to save you time and make things easier and end up making things more difficult and more time consuming.
Dan: The other thing too is that if you’re going to make a record, you should be able to replicate that live. You know what I mean? You shouldn’t make this thing that sounds nothing like the way you really are because then at the end of the day, what do you have? You just have… I don’t know, something I’m not really into.
Bobby: In an interview you did earlier this year with JerseyBeat, you said "when I was younger, I took a really half-assed approach to a lot of things and the result was that I made a lot of records that could have been a lot better, and that I still have a lot of regrets about, because I didn’t take them seriously enough." My question is, thinking back, what records do you have regrets about and what would you do to change them?
Ben: You know, I could go into a lot of detail about a lot of records but I think a really good example is My Brain Hurts. We had done Boogada and we broke up a year after that came out, or nine months after that came out. So Boogada had done reasonably well for a kind of nobody band from Chicago. Between what we sold in America and what we sold in the UK, we had sold three or four thousand copies of the record which is pretty respectable for back then. So when we went to do My Brain Hurts we had Larry Livermore in there producing and all of us, but probably especially me, were more resistant than we should’ve been to some of his suggestions. Not that all of them were great but I was more resistant than I should’ve been because I kind of had the idea that I knew what I was doing. And also, I mean, when I think about that album I think that we had done a very short tour down to California to record that album and the van had died. It wasn’t our van, it was a guy who was kind of roading for us but we had to figure out ways to get back. It amazes me but when I think back about it, I probably spent about half the time that I was out there working on ways to get us all back. Two of us took Greyhounds, two of us rode back with some people who were driving out that way, two of the other guys I can’t remember how they got back – they might have flown. But I was sitting around orchestrating this and when I think back, it’s like “what the fuck was I thinking?” I should’ve been working on a fucking record.
The other thing is I’ve had a long struggle, for many years, with my vocals and the vocal performances on a lot of those earlier records are really poor. And they’re poor because I didn’t know how to sing correctly, number one, and they’re poor too because I would get frustrated and it was very difficult to produce me. So anybody that was working with me was bound to have a hard time; and then, if on top of that, you throw in that sometimes I was working with producers who also maybe didn’t mesh with me and what I was trying to do. I mean, most of the problems were of my own making but then there are these outside forces coming in and stuff. I want to look back and say “if I had just worked a little harder it would’ve been better” but it’s not really as simple as that. There were a lot of factors at play and I think a lot of the time I was working with a lot of people who were lazy at times and didn’t want to work and I felt that getting a record made at all was a major enough accomplishment that I just wanted to leave well enough alone. If I got something down on tape that was in the fucking ballpark, that was good enough for me and I was willing to walk away because I was so worried that if we did another take it was going to be worse.
Dan: Oh God! I haven’t thought about that in along time. I remember thinking the same way back then. “Alright, just leave it alone! It’s good enough!”
Ben: And we didn’t have a lot of money to be doing multiple takes and stuff. So as I said, there were a lot of things that conspired to make that difficult.
Dan: Technology has made it easier to do those things that you used to sweat about a lot.
Ben: I mean I just wish that… if somebody had suggest to me to take voice lessons back then, I would’ve either laughed at them or started swearing at them. You didn’t do that if you were a punk singer. I finally took voice lessons a few years ago, maybe five half-hour lessons, four or five and it totally changed the way I sing but I still sound like myself. It completely changed being in pain from singing and all those kind of things. I wouldn’t have listened to anybody back then, I had to get a little bit older and use some common sense. Doing it doesn’t make it not punk rock.
Bobby: In an interview I was reading that you did way back in 1997, so its pretty old now, you were already talking about these things called “internet punks,” or “bunny rabbit punks” as you called it, who basically wanted everything to be nice and clean and got angry when anything came out with any sort of aggression, they just wanted it more mellow. You called them the “internet punks.”
Dan: Internet punks?
Ben: That was me, yeah.
Dan: What was that?
Ben: I was being an idiot.
Dan: I don’t remember that at all.
Ben: I mean I think that I was irritated with the latest cliquishness of things. I think that a lot of that, and I’m going by memory so I may not be a hundred percent accurate, but I think a lot of that had to do with the internet discussion boards that were starting up around that time and the cliquishness of things and I thought that “pop-punk” – which had then kind of become a word that people used a lot to describe the music – I thought it was awful. I thought it was just some of the worst stuff being made. I thought that the bands that were making pop-punk at that time were taking the most obvious and least interesting elements out of bands like the Queers and copying them and doing it badly. The Queers and Green Day.
Dan: Oh, absolutely.
Ben: So I kind of felt like “I don’t really want to hear about you fucking holding hands with your girlfriend at the movies.” Like if Green Day does something like that, they’re the exception to the rule; but by and large it’s kind of lame and corny. But you know, it was one of those things that was a trend that just passed.
I have a habit that, when people interview me or when I’m writing stuff, I comment about what’s happening at the moment and then five years later the trend has passed and I barely even remember what it was. So I should probably just not even bother.
Dan: Well the same thing that you said with that song Compact Disc. At that time, it sounds like it was on your mind and you wrote it and it takes its course and you don’t really think about it that much later. I know I’ve written songs like that too, where it was on my mind at that time.
Bobby: It’s what you think. The problem with you guys is that what you said, its recorded history for people to continually bring up. So most people, they have an opinion and then five years they can change it but their opinion isn’t recorded.
Dan: Yeah, exactly.
Ben: That’s exactly right. People come up to me about a column that I wrote in Maximum Rock and Roll in 1994 or 1995, and they’re like “you wrote this thing about a punk rock dress code.” It’s like, first of all, it was tongue in cheek. Secondly, it was almost fucking fifteen years ago.
An interesting think that happened that would illustrate this better than anything else I could think of right now was when we announced that the band was getting back together. John, who had been in the band from the beginning, put up a statement on the internet saying that this all came as a surprise to him and he was upset and blah-blah-blah. A lot of the fans rallied around him and said “Yeah, Ben Weasel has said over the years that the band was him and John.” It’s like “yeah, I have. So fucking what?” I mean, first off all, that all came from conversations we had when we were eighteen and nineteen years old. Everything that came years later all came from those kinds of conversations when we were teenage kids and we’re like “Yeah! It’s us against the world!” and that kind of thing.
And also, what exactly does it say about my character that I changed my fucking mind? I mean, people toss around the word hypocrite but there’s no actual hypocrisy involved in that. What it is is I said “Hey, things have reached a point where I can’t work with this guy anymore. I have two choices: never do my band again, don’t put food on my table for my family and hold to something I said when I was eighteen or nineteen years old or don’t.”
So when people come up with that stuff, my question is: how would you feel if things that you said when you were eighteen or nineteen years old were on record and I got to hold you to those? Would you be able to have some kind of consistency with yourself on those issues that you feel are so important? And if so, I would say you’re probably psychotic or have some sort of serious personality disorder because if you haven’t grown up beyond that, there’s got to be something wrong with you.
So the fact of the matter is… who said it? Was it Emerson or was it Walt Whitman? I think it was Walt Whitman said it… or was it Emerson? He said “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself” *Editors note: It was Whitman who said it* That’s the way I live myself. I’m not going to fucking express an opinion on one thing and then sit around worrying that I might express a different opinion a week later. Maybe my fucking opinion changed and I’m not going to get all worked up about it; and to the people who get upset about it, I would say: don’t put too much fucking weight on my opinions in the first place and you won’t have a problem. I’m not your priest, I’m not your parent, I’m not your teacher, so don’t worry so much about it.
Bobby: Okay. I know you have to go soon, so just two more quick questions.
Bobby: First of all, Teen Punks in Heat came out almost a decade ago. You’re recording a new Riverdales album on Monday but do you have any plans to work on a new Weasel album anytime soon?
Ben: Yeah. We have set aside March to work on demos. I mean a lot of the songs that I imagine will end up being on the album are written; but I also imagine we’re going to write some more stuff and demo some stuff. I have probably about a hundred and twenty bits and pieces of songs that I’ve been going over and over; Vapid’s gone over them as well.
Dan: Yeah, they don’t all have titles or lyrics or anything like that.
Ben: They don’t have titles, they don’t have lyrics
Dan: But they’re parts.
Ben: Here’s a verse, here’s a bridge, here’s a chorus. So what I want to do is sit down with Vapid and Simon – Sleepy as I affectionately refer to him – and just put aside March to go over that stuff and go “okay, what’s worth pursuing? What’s going to make a good song?” With the idea of then demoing and then rehearsing and recording in October maybe for a 2011 release.
So it’ll be a while before a new album is out but we want to make sure it’s a high quality album; because when Teen Punks In Heat came out I was totally behind it but I go back and I listen to it now and I really think it’s one of our weakest records. I’m not entirely sure why, I think my head was in the wrong place and I don’t know if the line-up was the absolute best line-up. All the guys individually were good but I don’t know if it meshed together as well as it should have. I think that I was kind of scattered, I wasn’t as focused as I needed to be to write an album; so it’s really important to me that if we do another album, it’s a totally, totally kickass album with nothing but great fucking tunes from beginning to end. And I’ll tell you something, it’s hard to do that man. It’s hard to do that, so it’s going to take a lot of work.
Bobby: My last question is you recently wrote on your Twitter page that you started a novella in August of 2008, what’s it about and do you have any information on it?
Ben: It’s about a mediocre punk band and the relationship of the individuals in the band. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish it. I really think it’s pretty funny so far but it’s a very, very mean kind of funny. It’s kind of a black comedy, but really black; but writing doesn’t put food on the table so it’s not high on my priority list unfortunately. I just don’t have anything like spare time anymore. I hope to finish it, I’ve had a lot of fun so far writing it but I don’t know when it’ll be dong.
Bobby: I guess that’s about it, thanks a lot. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to add?
Ben: Nope, we’re glad to be here in Edmonton and looking forward to the show.
Dan: Yeah, thanks.