The Absolutely Last Year of Women in Rock

Published in RW #6, 1995

Interview by Joey Germ

Unless you've been lying under a rock cliché for the past three years, you've heard of the Urge and it's probably Phair to say that you've had some Veruca Salt in your Pumpkin pie. You've no doubt read Bill Wyman's "Hitsville" column in the Reader and have consulted his charts and graphs illustrating and predicting the fate of local talents, and I'll bet that you think you're down with the local music scene, but Joey Germ is here to tell you to forget all that. That was just a primer for the final coat, and the final coat is Weenis! Weenis are slated to be the next big thing to blow out of the Windy City and they're more than ready to paint you a musical picture with their punchy guitar sounds and vibrant pop hooks and a metaphor gone horribly awry.

Weenis is:
Jon: guitar/vocals
Peter: bass
Brett: guitar/vocals
Kevin: drums

JG: How long have you guys been together? You look pretty young.

Jon: Age has nothing to do with music. You can be pretty young in years and still make mature music.

Brett: That seems to be a hang-up of the music press. They concentrate on how young we look and not on our music which is more important to us.

JG: Really, how old are you guys?

Jon: I'm the oldest, I'm twenty, but emotionally I'm twenty-five, which is where my music comes from.

Brett: My body is eighteen years old, but mentally and musically I'm twenty-three. I'll be twenty-four next month.

Kevin: I'm eighteen, artistically nineteen.

JG: How 'bout you Pete, what are your ages?

Peter: I'm pretty much nineteen all around.

JG: So you guys are the current Chicago buzz band, the next big thing, the flavor of the month, the current media darlings, the spotlight is on you, the pressure is on, etc. How is that affecting your lives.

Jon: We don't let the media hype bother us. I mean, what does it mean to be a buzz band?

JG: It means that you've gotten a lot of exposure and a lot of press, most of it positive or at least hopeful that you guys will get signed by a major label and break into the national market with a couple of hit singles and a record that the kids run out to buy in droves?

Jon: No, I know what it means to be a buzz band, but what does it mean, you know?

JG: Oh. No, I don't know.

Jon: It's like we're just artists you know? We just want to do what we do and make a career out of it and earn a living off of it.

Brett: A very comfortable living off of it.

Jon: Just 'cause we're young, people question our ability as musicians.

Kevin: That and the fact that we haven't put out a record yet.

JG: What about the RoosterCow single?

Jon: Oh, that. That doesn't count.

JG: Why not?

Jon: RoosterCow is a couple of schmucks in a run down apartment eating ramin noodles and making phone calls and that is not what an independent label is anymore.

Brett: They don't even have interns for god's sake. That's gross.

JG: So you guys have, reportedly, some pretty serious major label interest.

Jon: Jeez, the rumors that you hear, it's funny. Do you mind telling me where you heard that?

JG: That's what you told me on the phone yesterday.

Jon: Right. Actually, we have about six, maybe seven labels interested in us at this time.

JG: Are you at liberty to discuss who these labels might be?

Jon: Ah, no actually we really can't say on record. Off record, sure, but not on record.

JG: Hey, that's cool, the tape recorders off, man, you can tell me. Joey Germ's word is gold. Ask anyone . . . except my old lady, don't ask her.

Jon: OK, let's see, there's RCA, Columbia, A&M, DGC, Epic, Sony and Motown.

JG: Motown?

Jon: Yeah, they're looking to tap into the alternative rock market.

JG: That's sick.

Jon: Yeah, but we're just talking at this point.

Brett: No matter where we sign the dotted line, it's important to us that we maintain creative control over our projects.

JG: Q101 really latched on to the RoosterCow single, is that what sparked major label interest?

Brett: Q101 likes to think they "made us" just because they put the single into "saturation rotation" and now they think that we've got to kiss their ass. They're wrong. Granted, it is my favorite radio station and I listen to it constantly.

Jon: And you gotta admit, it is thee best station in Chicago to hear groundbreaking alternative rock music, but fuck them if they think we owe them anything.

JG: What about RoosterCow, do you still have a relationship with them?

Jon: RoosterCow, first of all let me just say that the people at RoosterCow are great. We love them to death and they're really, really good friends of ours. Honestly, I mean that. It's just that we've grown as musicians. Our sound has grown, our following has grown, basically we've outgrown them. We're professionals and we're just simply ending a professional relationship. Our people were talking to their people about doing another "indie release" but it doesn't look like it will be on RoosterCow.

Brett: Well, one major label we're talking to has offered to either buy out an already existing indie label or create a new indie label so that we can do another single.

JG: But if all these labels are trying to sign you guys, why do you want to do an indie release?

Brett: Looks good on a resume.

Jon: Indie credibility is an integral party of alternative music. Some bands think they don't have to pay their dues, that they can just skip the Indie Label Single and jump headfirst into the Major Label Debut. I guess that's fine for some bands, but that's not what Weenis is about. Weenis is not about selling out.

Brett: Exactly, you can't fool Gen-X kids, but a couple of well calculated indie releases and then a major label debut? That's the way to go.

Jon: That way you've got your pre-major label fans who you can take with you to the majors, then you got your kids who buy the indie record and then hate you once the major label comes out, but they have to buy it first and listen to it once before they can say it sucks. Then you got your Q101 audience and those fuckers will buy anything if you play it enough. It's ridiculous. It's certainly a win-win situation.

JG: Let's talk about your music.

Jon: We like to paint pictures with our music.

JG: Excuse me?

Peter: We're not really musicians, we're painters, we paint pictures.

JG: Wait a minute, I thought you guys were a band.

Jon: We are.

JG: But you're painters too.

Jon: No, not in the sense that we physically paint pictures on canvas but we paint pictures with our music. We use our instruments much in the same way that a painter uses a paint brush, using sound like a painter uses colors and the recording studio is our canvas.

Brett: No, the recording studio is our painting studio, remember? The canvas is the tape.

Jon: Our sound is the canvas.

Brett: No, that's the painting on the canvas. I thought we covered all this.

JG: OK, if you guys could do me one favor at this point, could you please stop saying shit like "we paint pictures with our music," you make music with your music and even that's been subject to some debate.

Kevin: The whole "we paint pictures with our music" thing was Jon's idea.

Jon: Hey, fuck you, at least I didn't come up with the "We do small motor repair with our music."

JG: I've had a chance to listen to your demo and I would have to say that you'll probably simply annoy people with your music, but hey, this is not a demo review this is an interview . . . or it was.

Kevin: I'm sorry if you can't grasp the symbolism in small motor repair, Jon.

Jon: There is no symbolism in small motor repair, Kevin.

Kevin: You are so close-minded for someone who's twenty-five years old emotionally.

Jon: Yeah, well for someone who's artistically nineteen, you sure don't act like it.

Kevin: Anyway, in my own opinion, I think Weenis makes music much in the same way that a small motor repairman fixes little motors: with a steady, confident hand and a squinting eye. Our instruments are our tools in achieving that and the smaller the motor the more skill required in fixing that motor.

JG: How small are these motors that you guys fix with your music?

Peter: Are we small motor repairmen now or are we painters?

JG: Keep in mind that it doesn't really matter to anyone reading this.

Peter: OK, then to answer your question, we hope by the end of our careers, to have fixed some very small motors, possibly as small as the motors you might fin in one of those flying model airplanes.

Brett: Do hair dryers have motors.

Kevin: I would hope that we would at least be able to repair a hair dryer motor with the second record.

JG: I think you guys are struggling with a lawn mower motor myself and that's a fairly big motor as far as small motors go.

Kevin: We could fix a lawn mower motor after our first seven inch single, but I respect your opinion.

JG: Is there anything else you guys want to add before I get the hell out of here as fast as I can?

Brett: Yeah, I would just like to make it clear that Weenis isn't going to be just another "one hit wonder" that you're gonna see on some "Rocking to the 90s" compilation on late night tv down the line. We fully intend on being around for awhile. Weenis is here to stay.

JG: And if this whole thing does blow over and Weenis does pop and fizzle and fade away into obscurity?

Kevin: I can't speak for anyone else but I'll be doing small motor repair, but much in the same way that a musician makes music.

JG: Got it.


Published in RW #6

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