Interview El Jefe.
Weedeater. A band from Cape Fear, North Carolina and synonymous with filthy sludge rock, gargantuan riffs and epic tales, wall-of-noise bass playing and amateur amputation. Bass and vocals are handled by the semi-legendary ‘Dixie’ Dave Collins who has also played with Sourvein, Bongzilla, Zoroaster and Buzzoven, whose reputation in the sludge world is borderline terrorfying. Weedeater, on the back of their most recent LP, the Steve Albini produced Goliathan are touring Australia along with British doom metal band Conan. I recently caught up with Dave for a quick chat.
El Jefe: Dave, you have a fairly extensive resume when it comes to playing heavy music, which included time with Buzzoven. Could you tell me a bit about your time with the band?
Dave: I was already playing in Weedeater, which a lot of people don’t realise, and was asked to fill in for some shows. I ended up playing with them for five years, while still doing Weedeater.
EJ: Weedeater have been an important and influential band in the sludge scene for a long time. How do you feel about this legacy?
Dave: We’re lucky in so far we have a dedicated fan base who have stuck by us for a long time and allowed us to keep playing cave metal and will hopefully be able to keep playing for another 20 years or until we can’t do it anymore. And people seem to dig the new record a lot too.
EJ: You’ve used a fairly unique vocal preparation in the past. Is this something you still do?
Dave: The cough syrup? Yeah, not all the time, but on tour after a while I still do it and sometimes in the studio too.
EJ: What’s the state of the live scene around your area?
Dave: I’m from south-east North Carolina, which is on the coast. We get a lot of punk and hardcore bands playing, which is what got me into music in the first place. There’s also lots of swamp and blues bands around here.
EJ: Your bass tone is monstrously heavy and distorted. What gear do you use to get that sound?
Dave: I use 2 x 215 boxes with a couple of Sunn 200watt heads. The pedal I use is a Morley JD 110, which is a boost pedal that a lot of old country guys use. I found a whole stack of them for sale, so I bought all of them so I’ll never have to worry about running out of them.
EJ: You’ve recorded in the past with Billy Anderson, who has been responsible for the sound on countless heavy records as well as playing music of his own. But the new record was done with Steve Albini, who has an equally impressive resume. If you had to choose between the two, who would you go with?
Dave: Yeah, that’s a tough one. They’re two of the best at what they do, and we’re lucky enough to be friends with both of them. Steve’s studio is awesome, and they both do a really great job of capturing our sound, and keeping the feel very live.
EJ: And finally, what can we expect from the live show?
Dave: Weedeater is a live animal more than anything. We like to get fucked up and have a lot of fun onstage.