By Sam Barker
Weedeater have been around since 1998, almost since the dawn of time. Which is convenient, as Dave ‘Dixie’ Collins often describes the noisy, sludgy sound of Weedeater as ‘cave metal’. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re just trying to play music that hits people right in the chest”, states Dixie, and that’s precisely what their last album Goliathan did to listeners. ‘Weed metal’ has had a drastic resurgence in the past decade, and it was enlightening to speak with Dixie about how this recent trend has impacted the band, along with talk of their recent US and European tours, and moving into the digital realm.
Goliathan, is the third record Weedeater have made with iconic producer Steve Albini, and have developed a rapport, making their latest album a comprehensive work of noisy art. Like their previous record Jason… The Dragon, Goliathan was recorded almost entirely live, adding an element of rawness and a kick in the guts. “All the tracks on both of those records were recorded in A – Studio A – live”, explained Dixie, “And that’s aside from the acoustic tracks that are on there, like some of the ones that have banjo or organ or whatever.”
Weedeater’s more recent albums, in comparison to their earlier works, do contain more elements of acoustic instruments. “We’ve started incorporating more acoustic stuff in there, well maybe in the last four records,” Dixie stated, describing their influences as “traditional blues”. Nevertheless, Dixie justifies their raw sound, the “meat and potatoes” of their records as HEAVY, and this is very apparent from their first record, … And Justice For Y’all until now.
Despite their records only differentiating slightly over the two decades, the word has culturally changed through the legalisation of weed in the United States, perhaps one of the catalysts for the massive resurgence in stoner metal and stoner culture in the recent years. Dixie is overwhelmed by the movement, saying, “the genre has really taken off. I can’t explain it, but man! We’ll embrace it for sure.” Having recently played Metal Death Fest in Europe, Dixie states his surprise of how well the “stoner, heavier” music in their set was “extremely well received” – it’s humbling that bands having been around for so long are starting to see younger fans appreciate the genre.
Speaking of tours, Weedeater are joining forces with Conan for their July Joint Tour, visiting Australian and New Zealand shores and playing with a lot of Australian local stoner bands around the country. This is not the first time the American locals have worked with Aussie acts; they recently toured both Europe and the US with our very own King Parrot. Meeting on the Belgium leg of their tour, Weedeater and the King Parrot boys were, “best mates right off the bat from there until now.” Dixie heeds us caution with laughter in his voice. “It might have been a bit dangerous, because both bands really like to have a good time!” We can only imagine the shenanigans those brothers in arms would have gone up to whilst touring together.
Having over twenty years of experience in the music industry, it was interesting to hear Dixie’s opinion on music moving to the digital medium, having changed labels from Southern Lord to Season of Mist, Weedeater’s catalogue is now available on their Bandcamp page. Dixie reminisced about buying records in his childhood. “When I was a kid, you went and bought records based on the cover, you didn’t even know what the hell you were buying, and it was kind of a bit of a trial and error thing. I think that kids these days have it a lot better than they think they do, because they can listen to anything before they purchase it.”
However, there are two sides to the argument, as Dixie goes on to discuss. “As far as digital downloads go, that’s all good and well, but holding a record in your hands, and smelling it, and looking at it, and checking out the pictures, and the way that it’s presented… It’s a huge thing for me. I collect records and for me, that’s the way it goes.” And what avid music fan doesn’t enjoy the using all their senses to enjoy a record?
Dixie also had words of advice for young musicians out there that may be overwhelmed by the vast majority of bands out there, particularly with the recent trends in heavy metal. “Stick with it, that’s what we do. All we did was never quit. From back when there was five people at the shows, to five thousand people at the shows, we try to do the same thing, and I encourage anyone to do that as well.”
Every fan of a loud and noisy as hell live act should all check out Weedeater on their upcoming tour; it’s evident that these boys have stayed true to their sound over two decades, and aren’t afraid to have a good time.
Weedeater and Conan will be touring Australia and New Zealand on the ‘July Joint Tour’ from July 14. You can grab your tickets .
Weedeater + Conan: Australian Tour 2016
12 July – San Fran, Wellington NZ
13 July – Kings Arms, Auckland NZ
14 July – Crowbar, Brisbane
15 July – Manning Bar, Sydney
16 July – Max Watts, Melbourne
17 July – Rosemount Hotel, Perth