The Weakerthans

The Weakerthans

Album Reviews

  1. Reconstruction Site

Interviews with band

  1. The Weakerthans

Overall Rating

Music Styles

Band Info

Founded: N/A
Ended: Active



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John Samson:
"I think that's one of music's great powers - to kind of make you feel less alone somehow."

John Samson's ruminations on music and literature as loyal companions are worth listening to. Both forms of art have sustained the avid reader and spiritual leader of Canadian indie rockers The Weakerthans for as along as he can remember.

John Samson:
"I do find a great comfort in reading," says the singer-songwriter and part-time publisher on the phone from hometown Winnipeg. "It's something that has always kept me company in the way that music does."

Samson left legendary Manitoba punk protagonists Propagandhi in the mid-90s to write his own page in rock history. He formed The Weakerthans in 1997 and the group has since released four thoughtful albums of literary, skewed pop, most recently 2007's ambient Reunion Tour.

John Samson:
"I grew up wanting to be a fiction writer or a poet and I'm really interested in the spoken word idea," says Samson, a big fan of novelists John Berger and Australian Peter Carey. "Lyrics have always been a large part of my interest in music and so the spark comes from the words themselves and the way they sound and of course what they mean.

John Samson:
"On Reunion Tour there is a spoken word song and it's the first one we've actually done. A lot of people would say that my singing style in general is less sung than spoken in a way but I do think there is a difference between poetry and lyrics. When you combine words with melodies something kind of mysterious and excellent does occur often."

Performing live is also a necessary means of expression for Samson. And as a result The Weakerthans have barely had time to draw a breath in two years.

John Samson:
"I especially enjoy playing live and being able to go somewhere and have a musical conversation with an audience," he says.

And his gear choices on the road may surprise a few people. "I play a '63 Gibson Melody Maker that I've had souped up a little bit," he says. "I've put a different pick-up in it, a Humbucker I think it was, because the one it came with was really buzzy and loud. Now it's really quiet and has a lot of gain on it and doesn't buzz.

John Samson:
"You just plug it in and it's really light, I bought it about ten years ago and I really love it. It's not an especially expensive or collectible guitar because I've messed with it enough that no real collector is going to want to pay much money for it.

John Samson:
"I also play Gibson acoustics as well, I have a Blues King right now that I'm really fond of. It's a small-body Gibson that they re-issued - I like Gibson stuff. I play these amps called Dr Z that are made in Cleveland. Stephen (Carroll) the other guitar player and I really like those."

The quartet's visit to Australian late last month, their debut tour Down Under despite numerous offers, stands as The Weakerthans' only tour commitments in what Samson hopes will be a restful Canadian winter.

John Samson:
"That is certainly worth breaking our time off for," he says. "This will be the final tour for the Reunion Tour record and it's kind of fitting that it's to a place that we've never been before.

John Samson:
"We've pretty much gone hard with the touring life and have also been doing other projects with what we call our free time. We do often spend more time than perhaps we should not making records but touring them. But we do really enjoy playing live shows."

John Samson:
"We're often quite quiet live and so we need four walls and people cramped together to make it work right," he adds. "But we do our best with the rock festival shows too. It's an entertaining challenge to try to stand up there and capture people's attention - even if they don't want to listen to something quiet."



Mark Knopfler

2013-05-08 - Lodz, Atlas Arena 19:30 165-616 PLN

Roger Waters The Wall

2013-08-20, Warszawa, tickets: 242 zł - 1310 zł

Sonisphere Festival

2013-10-12 - Wroclaw 19:30, tickets: 165-1616 PLN

Iron Maiden

2013-08-20, Warszawa, tickets: 242 zł - 1310 zł

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