Napalm Flesh: Weedeater Interview

Posted September 22, 2011 in

There’s really nothing quite like the sound of thunder—wait, I mean there’s nothing like the sound of Weedeater live. They’ve got a nice package tour coming to Salt Lake this on September 24 at Burt’s Tiki Lounge with support coming from Saviours (whose new album is reviewed in this week’s blog) as well as Bison B.C. and Fight Amp. SLUG got to talk to Weedeater’s main man Dave “Dixie” Collins about nearly everything, including the somewhat-still-relevant fact that Dixie shot his big toe off while cleaning his favorite Shotgun in January of 2010. Tickets for the show on Saturday are $15 advance (that is without any service charges) or $17 the day of and doors open at 8 p.m. In addition to the Saviours album review, we also have the new Brutal Truth reviewed along with the re-release of Extreme Noise Terror’s classic first album. Oh, and a bunch of links to free (!) streaming music.

There’s quite the assortment of free full album streams available to check out for albums coming out on Tuesday.

Stream Falloch’s Where Distant Spirits Remain

Stream Texture’s Dualism

Stream Glorior Belli’s The Great Southern Darkness

Stream Brutal Truth’s End Time

Also hitting SLC on September 24, The Complex hosts the Frak the Gods Tour with headliner Periphery (on Sumerian Records – that in itself should explain enough) with openers Textures from the Netherlands (supporting their recently released fourth album Dualism) along with The Human Abstract and The Contortionist. Advance tickets are $12, $14 the day of the show. It’s an all ages show, so come one come all.

If you happen to be in Ogden on Wednesday September 28 and have an extreme need to get your mosh on, deathcore act Molotov Solution headline with support from Of Legends and Fit For An Autopsy for an all ages show at Mojos Cafe & Gallery (2210 Washington Blvd, Ogden). Doors at 7 p.m., tickets are $10.

Weedeater interview

SLUG: There has been a lot of accidents and setbacks in getting the latest record (Jason… The Dragon) out, some injuries, obviously the well-publicized shotgun incident. Do you feel like you’re finally in a more stable position and passed through Murphy’s Law and all that?
Dixie Dave: I doubt that we’ll ever be through with Murphy’s Law, I think it’s always going to be prevalent. In fact, I’m in a perilous situation right now. It is what it is—we’ll take it in stride and do what we can.

SLUG: Can I ask what perilous situation you’re in at the moment?
Dave: Well, I guess we’re somewhere between somewhere else driving across the country on a daily basis and it’s constantly sketchy—everything else is out to get us. I guess we’re actually about 100 miles from Columbus. Do you know what’s round on both ends and high in the middle?

SLUG: No, what?
Dave: Ohio.

SLUG: You’re probably sick of answering questions about your toe, but is it difficult to manage without it? Has it been tough transitioning into life with only nine toes or has it been pretty easy?
Dave: It’s been easier than you’d think. I’d like to point out that I have nine and a half toes. That half is huge because it maintains balance and stuff like that—if I was missing the entire toe it would probably be a lot worse. I don’t want to slight people that are missing their entire toe, because I’m not quite as bad off as they are.

SLUG: I’ve heard that sometimes when people lose a thumb, they amputate their toe and use it as their thumb.
Dave: It’s funny that you say that. I was talking about that last night, I saw a special where a guy got his thumb bit off by a moray eel, and they replaced it with his toe. But they don’t replace it with your big toe because that will fuck your balance. I guess they take your pointer toe, your second toe. His hand looked all fucked up with that little toe, but you know you still have an opposable digit, so he was able to grasp things.

SLUG: Does it create any difficulties in touring or anything like that?
Dave: I don’t know, we’ve been doing this for so long. My back constantly hurts—it’s maybe part of why I walk differently now. It’s probably just from carrying heavy ass equipment around and being old. It hindered us for a time when it happened. I basically had to lay around the house for a couple months. I was on a cane when we first went out. About three months after it happened we headed to SXSW—that didn’t work out good trying to be on a cane and carry equipment so I just ditched the cane. It’s still pretty much fine though. I can still skateboard.

SLUG: Did losing the toe hurt?
Dave: Yeah, it hurt. I wouldn’t recommend it.

SLUG: You’ve worked with producer Steve Albini twice now. There are mixed opinions about him—was he easy to work with or difficult?
Dave: He’s great to work with, we get along great. He’s there for his expertise—he doesn’t produce you in any way where he’s attempting to do anything that you’re not attempting to do. He’s one of the best in the world at capturing a good live band. He’s also one of the best in the world working with analog tech. We’ve really only worked with him and Billy Anderson, and both of them are two of the best people in the world with that. We’re very happen with the last two records and the ones before that.

SLUG: I would say the transition between record and live is still a hard thing to do. You’d have to have a pretty beefy ass home stereo to get the volume level comparatively from record.
Dave: It’s a different animal for sure live. We enjoy making records and I hope people like em’. If they don’t, whatever, they can fuck off, but at the same time we don’t do it for that—we do it to play live, for sure.

SLUG: Recording analog seems like something that works for your band. Why do you prefer to record analog?
Dave: It sounds warmer for what we do. “Cave” metal isn’t hard to play at all—it’s just hard to write and come up with it. [Analog is] super warmer, the bandwidth is huge, just to me it sounds better. I know eventually everything ends up digital, but maybe that’s changing these days with the resurgence of vinyl.

SLUG: How has the response to the new album been so far? It seems like it’s been well accepted.
Dave: I guess so. Like I said, we do it for ourselves if people don’t like that they can fuck off. It seems that people have received it pretty well. We’re happy with it as long as the songs are good and the record flows like a piece of work.

SLUG: “Palms of Opium” was written while you were on a bunch of pain meds for your foot and you almost didn’t put it on the album. I think it’s a unique song. What made you decide to put it on the album?
Dave: It went on there because it seemed to fit well as a break from all the heaviness as the opening track of side two on the vinyl version. It seemed to fit good, so at the last minute I decided put it on there.

SLUG: Is the direction of that song something you’ve thought about exploring further for future records?
Dave: Yeah, possibly so. Me and Dave “Shep” Shepherd have a side project called Barstool that’s all acoustic and that’s what the song was actually intended for. I thought that it fit well for the Weedeater record. “Alone,” the second song, also is a Barstool song that fit well. I do see it happening again.

SLUG: Does the Barstool project have anything released yet?
Dave: No, there’s not. We have an EP put together but it hasn’t been released.

SLUG: Have you played any shows with Barstool?
Dave: We’ve played out live twice. It’s kind of hard to do it live because me and Shep both play multiple instruments on the recorded versions of it. We played one show at the Whiskey in North Carolina with Pepper Keenan playing bass so we could do everything at once.

SLUG: Speaking of opiates and painkillers, is it true that the name of the new album is a pun on “Chasin the Dragon?” Was the title chosen before the shotgun incident?
Dave: It was chosen well before that. Every time that we’re together with our very good friend Billy Anderson it’s basically a wordsmithing contest. We’re constantly putting together different phrases and stuff, and Jason the Dragon came from a long night with Billy.

: I’ve heard that Weedater got its name from your dog eating your weed. Is that right?
Dave: That is true. My dog, may she rest in peace, ate all of our weed one day, and that’s where we came up with the name for the band.

SLUG: So people don’t get confused, the dog didn’t pass because she ate your weed, right?
Dave: No, she lived a very healthy life. She died at the age of about eighteen years old. [After she at the weed] she was fine, she just slept for a while.

SLUG: I just didn’t want people to get confused reading this…
Dave: We’re very pet friendly.

SLUG: Buzz*oven is playing shows again as well. How is it to split your time between the two bands?
Dave: It’s relatively easy. Both of them are doing shows, but we’re doing [Buzz*oven shows] few and far between, kind of doing fly out dates and stuff. I think the most we did in a row was like twelve shows, so it’s not been a problem.

SLUG: Didn’t you just do something with Hail! Hornet? Is that going to be a touring thing at all or is it just an album?
Dave: They’re talking about putting one together right now, apparently when I get home from this tour. I’ll only be home for two weeks and then Hail! Hornet will leave to do this same run that I’m doing now, which is about six weeks North American. I didn’t know that we’d be doing this, but it appears we’ll be doing a tour here before the end of the year.

SLUG: Do you feel that Weedeater has an appeal that stretches outside the “stoner” or for lack of better terms sludge scene?
Dave: I’ve never been so good with any of the genre names. I’m confused on what the hell stoner metal or stoner rock is. I mean, shit, Chuck Berry got stoned so I guess that’s stoner rock. I guess that’s why we coined the term “weed” metal since we came up with it. I guess we’re the only one in the genre so I guess we win on that one. It’s odd to me to call anything “stoner” because everybody that’s been associated with music as far back as Cab Calloway has been getting high. We don’t attempt to be any sort of a genre and that’s all we know how to do. Maybe it’s “cave” metal maybe it’s “weed” metal.

Blog exclusive CD reviews

Brutal Truth
End Time
Street: 9.27.11
Brutal Truth = Terrorizer + Pig Destroyer + Soilent Green
Surely no one’s questioning Brutal Truth’s ability to play fast. They’ve more than earned their keep as one of grindcore’s pioneering “big four” (does such a thing exist?) and they’ve managed to pique the interest of heads inside and outside the extreme metal community with  the unrelenting blip-bombast of records like Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses and Sounds of the Animal Kingdom. Hell, they’ve even copped a Guinness world record for shortest music video, a blistering 2.18 seconds of grind fury…so the fact that End Time, the band’s newest offering since 2009, sports barrier shattering ragers like “Old World Order,” “Trash” (5 seconds long) and “Small Talk” doesn’t come as any real surprise to old fans.

Still, while adept and satisfying at these light-speeds, the record ultimately succeeds when it puts its breaks on, takes its leaden foot off the gas and forces itself into the nasty sonic side streets with Dan Lilker, the album’s standout player, at the forefront coaxing the ugliest, most primal squalls from his bass, deconstructing the standard format and beating it into his own a-typical mutant creation. “End Time” writhes and meanders around itself like an eyeless sewer monster, deprived of sunlight and forced to live in its own excrement, collapsing inward before belching into one of ‘Truth’s greatest melodic grooves to date. “Crawling Man Blues” showcases a fetid concoction of circular riffing and acerbic low-end chugging, “Butcher” dazzles with its cyclonic experimentation, gurgling bass lines and wayward blast beats wrestling with each other and “Control Room” is a fifteen minute experiment in clattering psyche-audial torture. 

While it demands a fair amount of the listener End Time is memorable, fresh and exciting and serves as a full-blooded and competent pastiche of breakneck speed, unique song craft and all the torrid social commentary implicit in the band’s name. Grindfreaks take note, this one comes highly recommended with all the things you dig (including a weed-scented insert card…if that’s your thing). –Dylan Chadwick

Extreme Noise Terror
A Holocaust in Your Head (Re-release)
Street: 9.27.11
Extreme Noise Terror = Heresy + Unseen Terror + Disrupt

What more is to be said about this seminal release? Perhaps second only to Napalm Death’s Scum and From Enslavement to Obliteration, Extreme Noise Terror’s (aptly titled) Holocaust in Your Head stands today as a grizzly and breathless keystone ancestor to the many extreme music genres to follow it.

Borrowing liberally from everywhere, and sitting somewhere on the sonic periphery between “fast” and “faster,” A Holocaust in Your Head spewed forth at a time of musical wet cement, cobbling a fusty casserole of speed, noise, aggression and political furor. Tony “Stick” Dickens’ drumming is an unholy audial spectacle, a bar-setting clattering blur, while Dean Jones and Phil Vane’s rabid vocal interchanges wrestles themselves into an agonizing din, awash with the unsettling prophecies of nuclear apocalypse, totalitarian takeovers and forced cannibalism. It’s the chainsaw riffs on “No Threat,” the miasmic hysteria  of “Murder” and “Another Nail in the Coffin,” the bleak iconoclasm of “Fucked up System” and the cheeky dismissiveness of “If You’re Only in it For the Music (S.O.D Off!)” (Surely one of recorded music’s first official “dis” tracks) that helps firmly establish Holocaust as more than a primitive progenitor, but an absolute grind-punk masterpiece in its own right.

Defiantly raw (but never muddy) production only enhances the austere listening experience, lending an overdriven immediacy to all the bass-rattling, cymbal chipping, spit-flecking vehemence of the album, repackaged and re-released (with the tracks from the split with Filthkick added on) by the good folks at Candlelight records, to puncture the eardrums and snap the moral radars of a post-millennial generation of smelly noise-cretins and grind-weirdos alike. –Dylan Chadwick

Death’s Procession
Street: 9.6.11
Saviours = Cathedral + Vol. 4 era Black Sabbath + Judas Priest
A loaded caravan trundling over the foggy recesses of your cerebral cortex, Oakland’s Saviours have been stomping and shredding their way into consciousness since 2004 with a weighty blend of stoner rock-cum-NWOBHM. Death’s Procession marks the journey’s continuation, replete with caterwauling solos of bluesy excess, an excellent bass tone and Austin Barber’s Lee Dorian-via-Buzz Osborne bawling. Though Barber’s bellowing commands attention, it’s prone to muddle the album’s direction, causing slower songs like “The Eye Obscene” to chase its own tail a bit. Still, somewhere in the middle, it regains focus, abandons its hampered meandering and launches forward into galloping rocka-rolling fury like Sad Wings era Priest treading bongwater. Cuts like “Crete’n” and “God’s End” showcase a bombastic fusion of riffing, tight rhythm and a menacing vocal presence, (remember Into Abaddon and Cavern of Mind?), ending Procession on an undeniable high note, obscuring any hiccups in the haze. Come bang your head at Burt’s (9/24). –Dylan Chadwick