By Max Stewart
The Mississippi-via-Nashville band The Weeks wear their soulful Southern hearts on their sleeves with the grit of early Kings of Leon, the groove of Alabama Shakes and a dab of Indie Rock swagger. The band’s sound is fully-realized on their latest album, Easy, a minimalist Rock record with its fair share of anthems (“Talk Like That”, “Ike”, “Bottle Rocket”). The Weeks are a top-notch live force that will make you wanna sip a cold, American pilsner and raise those rock horns high in the sky.
In chatting with the band, we discussed the state of Rock, the band’s Southern roots, and how the energy of the crowd is all they need to get through a tour. Be sure to check them out on the road!
Your new album Easy sounds excellent with a stripped-down, raw sound. Did the idea for a barebones Rock album come together naturally?
The origin of that was that our last record was very layered and ornate, so we like to keep ourselves taking left turns at every stop. We took some time to step back and try to make our most concise and cohesive record to date. That meant taking an objective look at our last few records and trying to find the strengths and weaknesses and trying to be as efficient as possible with the tracking. We spent a long time playing through the 30 or so songs we tracked for this record that we could walk into Ardent [Studios in Memphis] and nail it down.
Any shows or cities you are particularly looking forward to playing this year or have been highlights?
Chicago is always a special night. They were the first city to embrace us outside of Mississippi, and they still blow us away.
I’m a big fan of the bands that wear the Southern badge proudly, being from Atlanta. Who are some of your Southern musical influences?
We grew up listening to Skynyrd, Allman Brothers Band and Marshall Tucker Band cassettes in our dads’ trucks and that’s the stuff that stuck with us the longest. Every region has its flaws, but we’ve always found that the best move is to try and lift your state up and do your part to use your platform as a way to progress. It’s too easy to move to L.A. or N.Y.C. and forget your history. There’s a line on the record [“Don’t Be Sad”] comparing that to painting over something: “You can pick us and chip us or throw us away, but some color will shine through from some yesterday.”
What do you think of the current state of Rock ‘N’ Roll? Lots of journalists say Rock is dead, I disagree, but you are certainly carrying the torch and keeping its heart thumping.
Eh people are cynics.. if they think Rock is dead, then they’re just lazy. If they spent 10% of the time they spent writing about Father John Misty’s last tweet storm on finding young Rock bands, they’d find them in spades. I love Father John Misty, by the way. The way he plays that character is SO Rock ‘N’ Roll. All we’re doing is writing the music we want to hear.
The energy of your live show is a huge draw to your band. How do you keep the shows fresh and the on-stage exuberance sincere every night, especially during the grind of a long tour?
Treat every night like opening night on Broadway. We’ve been lucky enough to tour with some older cats (Meat Puppets, Local H, North Mississippi All-Stars, Kings of Leon) and they’ve shined a big light on how just because you’ve played the show 50 times, for the folks out there, it’s the first time. They paid for a rowdy night away from their regular lives and Rock ‘N’ Roll and dammit that’s what they’re getting. Seeing the crowd ‘in it’ provides all the endurance we could ever need.