Indie Profile: London Punk Rocker Charlie Weber

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charlie weberTell us about your band, including your history, where you are from and how you started?
I started playing guitar in 2003 when I got an acoustic for my birthday. I picked up the idea of playing music after watching an episode of The Simpsons where Bart attends his first concert and gets a guitar and immediately quits. Luckily my attention span was a little bit longer than his and I stuck with it. I started playing in bands at South Huron District High School in Exeter Ontario. My bands ranged from 3rd Wave Ska to Acoustic Pop Punk to Metal. I didn’t start playing solo until I went to college for radio broadcasting in Welland and started doing Open Mic’s in St. Catharines in 2013. Something about talking about other people’s music never really sat right with me and I wanted to do more creatively.

Why did you decide to be a solo artist rather than form a band?
Before I got started as a solo artist, I had a couple of bad experiences with bandmates. Either they were not who I thought they were as people or the unfortunate lack of dedication to music in the same way that I felt it. People grow up in different ways and grow apart, it’s a bummer but it’s also just a fact of life. I just wish I didn’t still have all the CD’s stashed away in my closet.

So when I finally decided to start writing songs again I wanted to see if I could do it on my own. I wanted to see what stories I had to tell. It’s a scary thing to do not only write songs about your struggles and fears and insecurities but also to realize in your second year of college that you’re probably not gonna use your fancy diploma for anything more than a wall decoration. I started playing solo to prove to myself that I could do something that was just purely me, not outside influence, just building something from nothing and putting it out in the world.

Do you have any recorded music available for fans?
Most recently I have put out my debut full length record “Old Habits” under my own name via Forest City Records, a small indie label out of London Ontario. They approached me after hearing one of my songs Carter & Cash that I had recorded under the band name Major/Minor. You can find that available for streaming on Spotify and Apple music as well as for purchase digitally on Charlieweber.Bandcamp.com and Physically (Vinyl/ CD) on my own personal website Charlie-Weber.ca. I generally try to hand deliver/mail those personally as affordably as possible. I sent a vinyl record to Madrid Spain earlier this year which was pretty cool.

How would you describe your music?
Elevator Pitch: It’s like Tom Petty if he grew up on punk rock.

Long answer: if I had describe and dissect it, I would say it is a mixture of Americana meets pop punk, meets outlaw country. I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from artists like Frank Turner (my favourite artist of all time) The Gaslight Anthem, Tom Petty, The Offspring, and Into It. Over It. Blink 182, Townes VanZandt. It’s kind of a mixed bag, and I think Old Habits as a record reads that way, it’s very much a reflection of my attention span.

As of late I’ve been working on being more focused, looking for specific through lines, paying attention to some of my favourite records and seeing what makes them work. Mixing sounds from records like “Darkness on the Edge of Town” with punk rock rhythms to really make a style all my own.

What makes your music stand out from the others?
I think its dedication more than anything. Just like any career path you have to really push yourself to achieve your dreams, they wouldn’t be called dreams if you could just reach out and grab them. If you look at someone who wants to be a Doctor, they’re not just a “doctor on the weekends” they’ve been working at their goal for 7-10 years before they ever get into a hospital.

They commit themselves to it fully and completely. It’s not about wanting it, it’s not about being good, it’s about being both those things and so much more. You need to have that DIY mentality because no one is going to do it for you.

What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your music?
Honestly I think I’m pretty boring as a person because my life basically revolves around one thing. If I’m not playing, I’m writing, if I’m not writing I’m recording, if I’m not recording I’m listening. And because I am not a robot, I play video games, I watch copious amounts of television and movies, but I have conditioned my life around playing music. I work a job that I hate because it gives me ample time to play music, I keep my expenses low so I am free to live the life that I want to live. It’s all about the dedication and sacrifices that you make to achieve the goals you want. The closest I get to an alternate outlet is D&D, I play with my brother and some old friends from high school maybe every other week. It’s a great way to be creative and dramatic and not take yourself too seriously.

Name your two biggest musical influences and why?
When I was 15/16 years old my dad bought my brother and I tickets to see our favourite band The Offspring at the Molson Amphitheatre (now Budweiser Stage). My dad had gotten us into them so long ago I couldn’t tell you how long I’ve been listening. When we got there the opening act was this skinny British guy with an acoustic guitar playing folk songs, screaming his head off with more intensity than I’ve seen from actual band and he conveyed that with just his voice and a guitar. I instantly felt a connection and it was at that point that I thought “I could do that.” Luckily my dad was smart enough to buy his record and figure out what his name was, “Love, Ire and Song” By Frank Turner, and we listened to that record on repeat the entire way home in bumper to bumper traffic from Toronto to Exeter.

My Dad knows his stuff, I can probably credit him a lot for everything that I listen to whether he showed it to me or not.

Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
I’m an autobiographical artist, so when I write a song it’s generally about a feeling or an event that I’m going through or more likely have gone through and come out the other side. I’ve never been much for metaphors so basically what you hear is what you get. It always makes me a little self conscious both in presentation and when I compare it to other artists who sound like they’re all going for their doctorates in literature studies. But I had to learn the hard way that you have to be true to yourself, nobody wants to sound like a carbon copy of a better band, unless you’re one of those nostalgia rock bands who are more likely in it for the money rather than the love of music.

At the end of the day, there is very little handling of the songs, I write the main idea, basically ¾ finished, then I bring it to my backing band “The Glorious Failures” they punch it up and fill in the instruments. I don’t know how to play and then they mock me for my musical illiteracy. After that, we take it to a producer who tells us it’s crap and I start all over again.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band/artist? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
I’d say the biggest challenge I’ve had to deal with is probably working around my ADHD. In art, focus is very important, when you play music focus comes down to basic mathematics. This is a very new concept that has come to my attention that my specific ADHD has been holding me back. I CAN’T PLAY TO A CLICK TRACK. (for those who don’t know, a click track is a thing used in recording to keep the musician on beat) I never understood why until recently but it has to do with the rhythm in my head and the ability to focus on multiple things at once which isn’t the case for everyone with ADHD, but that is how it is for me. It’s been an issue for me in every band I’ve been part of. Most people think I’m being lazy or faking it for whatever reason even after I’ve told them what the deal is. If they can’t understand it, it doesn’t exist. I’ve railway played by feel vs. “how many beats are in this measure.” Over time I’ve learned that putting a fake drum beat vs. a digital beep in my headphone fixes the problem like magic, but I don’t think there will ever come a day where I don’t have to explain to bandmates or producers that I can’t use a click track without them trying to see if they can fix me first. It’s frustrating for sure, but if that’s the worst thing I have to overcome then I think I’ve lived a pretty charmed life so far.

What current projects are you working on at the moment?
Back in September, I did a full band live stream that I and released it as a ticketed event as a farewell show for Nich, the drummer of the Glorious Failures as a way to play one final show together before he moved 20 hours away to start the next chapter of his life. I think we’ll be releasing that for public viewing on our YouTube channel in early 2021. As of right now, I’m currently working on the demo tracks for our sophomore LP, the release date is still unknown but we got some funding behind it thanks to the fold at the Community Arts Investment Program out of London Ontario. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you too much without actually having to back up what I’ve said. And I released a lo-fi Folk Punk EP that I wrote over quarantine near the beginning of December which is available for “pay what you can” over on my bandcamp site.

I’ve been working on a series of socially distant house concert/backyard parties throughout Ontario, where fans hire me to play at their house and they invite 10-12 people they trust and have vetted to come over for a concert. If anyone wants to contact me about that, they can message me through my website or email me anytime at CharlieWeberMusic@gmail.com.

But we’re honestly just itching to get back on the road, so we’re hoping to do more touring soon as safely as possible, whenever that may be

Web: charlie-weber.ca
Facebook: CharlieWeberMusic
Instagram: @CharlieWeberMusic
Twitter: @GloriousFailure

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