Daniel Boczarski, Redferns Following an altercation during SXSW -- that went…
- Posted on Dec 31st 2010 2:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
Daniel Boczarski, Redferns
This sort of growth has never applied to Screeching Weasel, the Chicago pop-punk institution whose 10 albums -- released between 1987 and 2000 -- offer slight variations on the same hard, fast, melodic sound. Frontman Ben Weasel is busy recording the band's 11th full-length, and if he feels compelled to stick with an established formula, it's pressure he's put on himself.
"It's self-imposed," Weasel tells Spinner. "It's entirely self-imposed. Nobody is telling us, 'You need to do this,' or, 'You need to do that.' The producer, [All-American Rejects guitarist Mike Kennerty], wants to make a great record. He's a big Screeching Weasel fan, and I think the only conversation we've ever had was I told him, 'Look, if a given song is out of the realm of what you as a fan would want to hear from Screeching Weasel then pipe up.' Other than that, I was able to put that out of my mind really quickly. The great thing about being in a relatively successful band is you've got a built-in audience."
"It's much easier than if you're an unknown band, but there's a downside," Weasel adds. "Your stuff is always going to be construed in a different light. If someone went and made the same exact record as an unknown band, it wouldn't be criticized that way."
Weasel says dealing with criticism is "part of being in a band," and over the last 25 years, he's weathered his share of negative reviews.
"There's no use in complaining about it," he says. "You've got to have perspective. There were records I've made over the years where the initial reaction was different from what the reaction ended up being 10 years down the line, when people reconsidered their opinions. If you're an established band, there's going to be backlash to it. There's always going to be a percentage of the fans that have a negative reaction. You can't live up to their expectations."
With that in mind, Weasel has some advice for up-and-coming musicians.
"For the first three to six months, don't read any press -- and I would include the positive press," he says. "It's good to avoid press and avoid talking about it on discussion boards and things like that, because it's just going to aggravate you. You put so much time and energy into it and you poured so many hours into it, you're going to get annoyed. It's really all for nothing, because the perspective is going to be very different five, 10, 15 years down the road."
"My approach is I have to make a great record," he says of the forthcoming album. "I've got to write for the fans. I've got to write a record a Screeching Weasel fan would enjoy, and the advantage I have there is I'm the biggest fan of my own music. If it pleases me, and I think it's genuine and honest and funny, and it conveys what I've always wanted to convey being in a band and I have something to say, I'm probably going to succeed. I have a real good feeling about this one."