Formed in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1998, the sludge/doom metal behemoths known as Weedeater have remained stalwarts of the scene over the last two decades. Pairing giant guitar riffs with crushing drums, Weedeater has persisted across five full-length albums and multiple tours around the globe. Initially formed as side project of bassist/vocalist “Dixie” Dave Collins during his tenure with Buzzoven, Weedeater became a full-time gig when the band dissolved. In 2001 they released their debut LP, And Justice for Y’all, and about every four years since then they drop another new album. Their last LP, Goliathan, was released in 2015 and fans have been waiting for the follow-up with bated breath. Constant touring has kept the band from the studio, but in our conversation with Dixie below you’ll learn where the new new album stands, as well as their writing and recording process, and memories of play in Dallas and on St. Patrick’s Day.
As of press time, Weedeater’s gig in Dallas on St. Patty’s Day has yet to be cancelled. Keep your fingers crossed that this remains the case. You can get tickets to the St. Patrick’s Smokeout with Weedeater and support from Goddamn Gallows, Left Lane Cruisers, Wooden Earth, Revan, and Temptress at this link.
Do you have any fond memories of playing Dallas?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: I believe it was last year, we played Gas Monkey on the hottest day on record…outside at Gas Monkey Bar n’ Grill and we had to put towels over our amps so the sun wouldn’t heat them up too bad. And I think it was us and Unsane and I mean shit, I don’t even know who the hell was on the bill. It was bad ass. Then we had a really good damn time. I love Dallas. I’ve always had a good time. But, but that day was the hottest day on record, but bad or good weather follows me around. We had a damn good time though.
How about fond memories playing on St. Patrick’s Day?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: Oh, yeah. Pretty much every year we played St. Patrick’s Day somewhere. We played it in Savannah a lot of times. And a lot of people don’t realize this, but Savannah, Georgia is huge on St. Patrick’s Day. They used to dye the river green and everything, they get crazy down there for it. So yeah, we used to do that year after year. Now, I’m pretty much somewhere on St. Patrick’s Day, well everybody’s somewhere, but I’m pretty much playing a show somewhere on St. Patrick’s Day every year. Everybody seems to want to have a good time on St. Patrick’s Day. That’s our bag. If everybody’s having a good time, then we’re having a good time.
The tour kicks off at the end of the month. Do you have any special plans for this tour?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: Oh, we’re going to do a bunch on every record and maybe do some stuff we haven’t done in a long time off the first record. Our first show is on leap year day this year in Asheville. And then we do a big loop and end up with you guys…where you’re like, I think the end of the tour is Dallas, Austin, New Orleans, Atlanta. We should be pretty dialed in by then, you should have a damn good time. Looking forward to coming there and eating some brisket and having a buzz on.
Goliathan came out 2015 and you guys have been touring pretty heavily, or consistently, since then. Where do you guys stand on a new album?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: As soon as our booking agent gives us 15 minutes to turn around and scratch our ass we’ll get in the studio and record a new record. Like “When are you going to do a new record?” I’m like, “Well when are you going to stop booking me shows so I can do that?” Me and Shepherd…he lives in my neighborhood and we get together a couple times a week and write music and sit on the porch and write it on acoustic. Cause, if you can write heavy riffs on acoustic, when you go play them through our amps they’re going to sound way heavier. So, if something sounds heavy on acoustic guitar and acoustic bass, then it’s sure going to sound heavy when you record it. And so that’s where we’re at now. We got this record probably halfway written.
I know that the last couple of records that you’ve done with Steve Albini you recorded them in four or five days.
“Dixie” Dave Collins: Yeah, we generally record in about four or five days. We’ve been known to write in the studio and show up there and…like we know what we are doing. This one, we’re going to try and be a little bit more prepared for. But at the same time… I’m happy with anything we’ve ever done with him.
In that context of recording so quickly, y’all are doing quite a bit of rehearsals beforehand. Is that correct?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: Not so much. You don’t get paid to rehearse. We fly by the seat of our pants pretty hard – this camp, the Weeder camp.
Weedeater has done a couple of albums with Albini and a couple with Billy Anderson and they’re similar in that they like to do analog and they like to record live.
“Dixie” Dave Collins: That’s correct. That suits us.
Are there any particular nuances or major differences between working with Billy versus Albini?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: Both of them are world class producers and probably the best in their field at what they do. I have no qualms with recording with either one of them. Those people, man, Billy’s an awesome dude and so is Steve and we get along really well.
The reason that we’d been doing the last couple of records with Albini is it’s so convenient that he owns that studio and therefore we stay on site. I mean, the last record we recorded I didn’t even take my pajamas off the entire record. I mean, I didn’t even leave the building. It was snowing in Chicago, and I’m from the South, I ain’t down with the snow. It’s very comfortable to be able to go to a studio where you can buy a bunch of groceries, stocking up the fridge and just make your dinner for yourself every night. Like I said, I didn’t even leave the studio. We had taco night, sloppy Joe night, the whole nines.
Buy a box of ice cream sandwiches and I have like, I didn’t leave, I didn’t leave the room until we were going to leave the building when we were done. And then we went out to dinner to celebrate that we were done and we went like a block up the street to Kuma’s Corner and had burgers and other than that I didn’t even change my clothes or get off my pajamas the whole all week.
But, speaking of Billy, he’s one of the coolest people on the planet and his ear is just impeccable, he’s incredible. So, we’ll see what happens with this next thing. If Billy had his own studio and had a bedroom, I’d probably still be with him. But at the same time, Steve is a master of his craft, just like Billy is. But, both of those guys, I’ve just been blessed to be able to deal with the both of them.
You said that Shepherd lives in your neighborhood and you’ve been doing some writing. Do you do any writing on the road or is it mainly during your downtime?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: We’ll come up with some weird ideas on the road and stuff, but most of the writing is done on our downtime in the neighborhood. I mean, Shep can ride his bike over and we can sit on the porch and play acoustic. So, good relationship at this point to where I live so close to him that it’s easy for us to write stuff and then later on have our drummer come in and figure out what we’re after. You know? But, but yeah, to me it’s the best way to do it.
Bourbon’s right there. Grass is right there. We are Cave Metal at the end of the day. You know, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re just trying to roll it.
Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Cave Metal?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: Oh yes sir, Cave Metal.
Tell me…what is Cave Metal?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: I don’t know. Everyone was talking about stoner rock and this and that. I came up with the term “weed metal” instead of “stoner rock,” cause it’s like people talk about stoner rock, but shit Chuck Berry started it to me. Louis Armstrong was stoned. Stoner rock is a little too broad for us. So, we decided to call it weed metal and then, you know, when you got the IRS looking at you, “weed” might not be a good thing to put in your business name. So, our business name is “Cave Metal.”
I love it. Actually, one of my questions was what do you find a more ridiculous term? Stoner, doom or sludge metal.
“Dixie” Dave Collins: Oh yeah. Well I think I just answered that. I think all of them are ridiculous and so come up with your own term.
When you’re embarking on writing a new album, do you take it song by song or do you have any kind of inspiration? Like, I want to do an album about this or do you just wait until you got…
“Dixie” Dave Collins: I am that dude. I’m an old dude, so therefore I’ll think about it as…I want there to be a premise to the record…Goliathan and being a biblical. I do it song by song. But, at the same time I want to make this thing to be one cohesive thing. I would like for you to want to listen to it from beginning to end, not take tracks.
Another reason why we don’t really have too much silence between anything except for when we’re coming up on something that might be acoustic on some records or might be a little odd. But, as far as the heavy stuff goes I wanted to mash and be one thing and yes I do look for some sort of a premise for a record.
The album has become kind of a lost art. When I sit down and I want to listen to Weedeater and I start on song one of whatever album I’m going to listen to.
“Dixie” Dave Collins: And hopefully that thing will grab you and make you want to listen to the whole rest of the record. That’s the idea.
The band has been playing quite a bit overseas. I was curious if you’ve found any difference between crowds in Europe, or elsewhere, versus America?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: It used to be, but we went to Europe first off. I mean, shit man, we do this for a living. So, you know, they were paying better and the crowds were bigger because they seem to have gotten it. But, now it’s caught on in America as well. And so now it’s about awash. So, I’ll play anywhere that they want us to play. Man, I got no problem with it.
And we’re getting ready to do these two legs in the U.S. and I’m looking forward to it very much and hopefully it’ll pan out the way that I see that it should. We’ve just been doing this a long time. So, we’re going to continue to do it and we’ll do it wherever. Like I said, we’ll go to wherever the hell they want us to be.
We did two shows in Russia right before Thanksgiving. They were both sold out, great shows. The guys over there that did it, the promoters over there, did a kick ass job and they were great dudes. I’ll go anywhere. I have no preference to where I’m at. To me it’s a bar and or club or venue of any kind. Here we are having a good time and hopefully everybody’s having a good time as well.
I saw that you played, what…Moscow and St. Petersburg? Have you played Russia before? Other than those dates?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: That was our first time in Russia. That would’ve put us in the mid forties of number countries. So, we either have played in about, don’t quote me on, well actually you’re going to quote me on this cause that’s what we’re doing, but yeah, somewhere around 45 countries. I would have never even thought when I was a kid that I’d ever play outside of North Carolina.
I’ve talked to some other bands in the past who’ve played Russia and the remark that I’ve most commonly received is that the crowds seemed so grateful that someone’s there playing.
“Dixie” Dave Collins: Yeah, there were people there that told me that they’d been waiting for 10 years to see me there and I said that I’ve been waiting 25 years to see you here. So, you know, it is what it is. But yeah, they’re extremely grateful. Awesome fans, great people, man. I mean, I didn’t have a single problem there…other than pissing my pants right in front of the Kremlin. But other than that…
Was that because of the majesty of the Kremlin or another reason?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: No. No. I was just walking with some people trying to get to a bar, and this is a notorious thing with Europe and all of that part of the world, people will tell you this bar that we’re going to is right around the corner and it turns out it’s 45 minutes away. So, I’m like, “Dude I’ve got to piss man, you know, bad.” and they were like, “Oh, just piss on the street.”
And I look to my right and I see the Kremlin. I’m like, dude, I’m supposed to fly home to America tomorrow. The last thing I want to do is be arrested in Russia for pissing on the street. So, I just pissed my pants. Just kept walking and I didn’t have a change of clothes. So, I flew home. I’m sorry for anybody reading this that sat next to me on that plane ride home. I’m sorry, I smelt like piss. My socks were still wet then I got on that plane.
Well it seems like you had to do what you had to do. You don’t want to be thrown in the Gulag or whatever.
“Dixie” Dave Collins: No. Maybe they’ll drop me off to Siberia. I don’t know. I was ready to go home. Not because I wasn’t having a good time, but the last thing I need is to be arrested in Russia. That’s the last thing I need.
Sorry to bring up stoner metal again, but it seems like stoner rock or stoner metal is probably as popular now as it’s ever been. Is that anything you’ve noticed or am I just off base on that?
“Dixie” Dave Collins: Yeah, that’s the truth. We started doing this for ourselves and we did it for years that way and nobody even gave a shit about it. And there is this resurgence where all these people like this kind of music and…hell, I don’t even know if I like it anymore (Laughs).
At the end of the day, yes – you are definitely correct. We’ve just happened to be in this resurgence and we’re lucky to be here and happy about it. So, I got the dudes my age that have been there forever and then now they’re bringing their kids who think it’s the best thing ever since sliced bread. I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just cool. The timing was correct. I guess we accidentally fell ass backwards into something that people actually enjoy. Long as the people are enjoying it and we’re having a good time. I enjoy it.
Get tickets to Weedeater’s St. Patrick’s Smokeout with Goddamn Gallows, Left Lane Cruisers, Wooden Earth, Revan, and Temptress at this link.