Fred Weaver's Press Bio

Fred Weaver is a 27-year old musician from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After relocating there in 1997, Weaver found himself unable to find musicians in Louisiana interested in playing his intricate electric guitar compositions. As a result... he resorted to reinterpreting them for the acoustic guitar and, eventually, started writing songs more specifically designed for solo performance. The results are much different (thus, better?) than most of the singer-songwriter stuff that is out there. No effete strumming and affected "alternative rock" singing here – basically, Weaver doesn’t sound like the local funk musician showing his "more sensitive" side. In fact, the newer songs (coupled with an intense performance style) have fewer and fewer reference points. A testament to the diversity of his repertoire (and club booking personnel’s inability to pigeon-hole him) is the fact that, since his first show about a year and a half ago, he’s shared over 80 stages with a wide variety of fellow artists. He’s played with a diverse cross-section of the underground rock vanguard (Arty bands: ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, June Of 44. Quiet bands like Low. The more rock-oriented: Burning Airlines, Sensefield, Oswego. And heavy bands like: Enemy Mine, Migas, Last Of The Juanitas, C Average.) He’s also played on bills with incredibly eclectic performers (Richard Buckner, Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors) and some of the dullest "cutting edge" alternative rock bands in the world (Veruca Salt, Verbena, Cupcakes).

In November 2000, he was invited on a tour of the eastern United States with the Chicago-by-way-of-Pittsburgh instrumental band, Don Caballero. Weaver had long been acquainted with their members since his days in the early ‘90s western PA music scene. Though the tour was conceptually ambitious (along with Weaver’s solo performance, each member of Don Caballero would play a solo set before taking the stage as a complete band) and well attended, it was also disastrous. Tensions within Don Caballero essentially broke up the band halfway through the tour, which in turn ended half a day earlier than expected when Weaver’s van (in which both acts were traveling) was destroyed in an accident involving two 18-wheelers and seven other cars outside of Toledo, Ohio. Later it was decided that the accident served as an appropriate metaphor for the tour in toto. Not easily discouraged, however, Weaver arranged rental vehicles to take them back to Pennsylvania and, after a brief break for Thanksgiving (also tremendously appropriate), finished the rest of his scheduled engagements in a series of rental cars and Greyhound bus rides.

"Equally influenced by John Fahey, Fugazi and Raymond Carver (a writer, not a musician)," is how Weaver recently chose to describe his second record, Those Ancient Skies… Came Sweeping Wide. Hmm... he might be onto something. His 1999 solo debut, Present Dusk, was an intentionally stark and standoffish work – no attempts were made in the production to "pretty up" the songs. Those Ancient Skies… is at once more accessible (it’s more melodic), artier and more challenging (some songs expand and contract... from intimate quiet moments into furious double-strumming crescendos of noise in mere seconds). The results might be something like the Dustdevils played by an angrier than normal Pete Townshend. The more straight-forward songs show that his ear was shaped (and damaged?) early on by the melodic post-punk sounds of Naked Raygun, Mission Of Burma, Moving Targets, Hüsker Dü and the Wipers.

Previously, Weaver was the youngest and least "famous" member of the now defunct NYC-based heavy math-rock band, Vineland. To mention the other members of this group would take a goddamn book, so we won’t get into it. Suffice to say, those who know their impressively extensive pedigree will, well, will know. He was also a member of the bands Reddy Kilowatt, Worf, Blowout Kit, and Cotillion, amongst others and, most recently, has appeared on a record with Jon Todd.

Oh, quotes! "I’m probably the ultimate DIY person... I wrote the songs, engineered the records and played everything on them, designed the covers, booked the shows, I will be playing them by myself, doing all the driving!" Isn’t this exhausting? "It doesn’t bother me... I think it will make me appreciate it more when I don’t take all the responsibility. Right now, I completely believe in both the quality of the work I’m doing and the vigor with which I approach it. It’s satisfying… I believe that completely committing myself to making progress (writing better songs, playing better shows to more and more people) has paid off in the past year or so... Sure, I realize that there might be limited ‘commercial’ potential (given the extreme nature of some of my stuff), but I don’t think I’ve reached the bulk of the people who might enjoy my music." Well… Having established such an intense work ethic (in a mere 18 months of solo performances!), it would seem right to assume that Weaver will be reaching many of those people in the not-so-distant future.