The last time we spoke to Evan Weiss, he had only done solo tours as Into It. Over It. Not too long after that, he started performing with a full band. Then he formed two other bands: Their/They're/There and Pet Symmetry. With a new band lineup of Into It. Over It in tow, Weiss is currently promoting a new record,Intersections, and is an opening act for Saves the Day, which hits Trees on Wednesday night. We wanted to catch up with Weiss and ask how the hell he had time for all this stuff.
Can you give me a general overview of how it's been for you in the last 14, 15 months?
Well, we got home from that tour and then I went to Europe for a while, came back, then started rehearsing with the previous band [lineup], which was the dudes who play in Stay Ahead of the Weather with me. The communication and the way we play together was already established, but having to teach them, you know, 17 or 18 songs was a pretty long and arduous process but it made for a great payoff. But those dudes have actual full-time jobs, so when it came time to start the new band, my two friends Josh and Tim swept in right at the perfect time to take over. We just finished rehearsing and learning even more for this trip. Tell me about how Their/They're/There and Pet Symmetry formed.
I was home for most of the year, because I had to write a record. I was put on hold for the touring thing because the cycle for Proper was over. When I'm home, I'm chomping at the bit to work on something. So I had been talking to my buddy Matt, who plays guitar in Their/They're/There, for a while about starting a band. It seemed like a good time because I was going to be home for a while. Him and I got together and started writing some songs on bass and guitar. We were throwing ideas around for a drummer and right before then, I played a show with Mike [Kinsella] and him and I were talking him really wanting to drum for a band again. So I suggested Mike to do it. Low commitment, we're not going to tour, have any shows, we'll just record some songs and put them out. Went to Mike with that idea. Matt was in school and I was doing Into It. Over It and he was doing Owen and having a family. He was onboard and we started playing together really easy. The whole thing clicked pretty well. That's been a great way to fill some time, I think, for all three of us to have something to work on. It's been fun playing bass in a band again. With Pet Symmetry, it was a similar thing with their songwriting. We just get together and play together and start working on stuff for fun. Doing stuff to fill up the year and stay busy and not having any pressure or expectations to write songs.
Would you say there was a lot of pressure and expectations with Intersections?
Yeah, I think so, but I always apply more pressure than needed on my own material rather on a band that I'm doing for fun. I mean, I did Into It. Over It for fun too, but there's way more at stake. I'm way more critical and inside my own head about it, so it makes me more stressed-out about it, naturally. If I'm going to be writing something and working on it, I want it to be the best it can be, so it's constantly pushing myself and getting nervous and guessing. That creative minutia that drives us to insanity.
Do you want future Into It. Over It releases to be with a full band?
I don't know. I've never really thought about it. It's one step at a time. If it's something I'm able to do, I'm probably going to keep doing it because it's way easier to be in control and work on it. But that doesn't mean that would always be the case. It would definitely make it easier when showing everybody how to play everything. [laughs]
How long did it take to record Intersections?
We did it in, something like, 21 days spread over three months because Brian [Deck, producer] was working on another project at the same time that he had already planned and booked before we booked time with him.
With Intersections, the first few times I listened to it, it reminded me more of the 52 Weeks than Proper. Has anyone else said that to you?
Yeah, but that's how I feel about it. The thing with Proper was that I wanted to write a rock record and I did that. I think that's the best rock record I could make. I love that record, I'm really happy with it, I love those songs and I love how it came out, but I don't want to make the same record twice, ever, for any reason. The next record is not going to sound like Intersections, either. I don't want it to. And I don't think any of the other records, necessarily, sound the same, but I think stylistically, yeah, it's back. 52 Weeks does have too many fucking songs on it and more of those are laid back because there wasn't a lot of time to write with six days [to write each song]. I think if I wrote those 52 Weeks songs over an extended period, perfect them and craft them, it would have sounded like Intersections, which is, at the core, how I write music. You know, for people to try and compare Proper to Intersections, I don't think that's fair. I don't think they're the same. I don't think they should be. I don't think that makes for a career. People act like they want to hear a band to write the same record twice, but nobody really wants that. [laughs]
Unless you have a punk rock mentality! [laughs]
I think there are more open-minded music fans out there than just-punk rock fans. The ones who only want punk rock are more likely to complain about something.
Yeah! I think people who really liked Into It. Over It since the beginning are really going to like this. I'm still writing the same. There are people comparing it to Mike [Kinsella]'s songwriting. They just draw that comparison since we play in a band together. I don't play guitar any differently now than when I did five years ago. I think that's a lazy comparison. But Mike and I would agree we don't write music the same. We don't think about it the same. I make jokes with him that he ruined pretty guitar playing for everyone. No one can play pretty guitar anymore because he's played it. [laughs]
Something that didn't really make sense to me until I talked with Keith Latinen [from Empire! Empire! I Was a Lonely Estate] was how a lot of teenagers these days value what Mike has been a part of, whether it's Cap'n Jazz or Owen. They value it like when we were younger, say, with the Ramones or the Sex Pistols. That's how much they're cherished. I'm curious if you were a little star-struck when you met Mike.
No. I've been listening to his bands since I was young. But no, he's a dude. He's a regular dude. [laughs] There's nothing intimidating about him, whatsoever. The more we've become friends, I don't even think about it anymore. I look at him as a peer.
With this Saves the Day tour, had you played with Chris [Conley] and the various iterations of Saves the Day before?
Yeah! I did the Where's the Band? tour together a few years ago, which was three and a half weeks of me and him and few other dudes in a van, playing shows. I [had] never played shows with Saves the Day. I used to see him all the time when I grew up in New Jersey. So I'm looking forward to these shows. So with the Saves the Day tour, a tour of Japan, what's coming down the pike after that?
We're going to Europe right after that. I'm basically not in my house until December. After that, in the new year, we're going out again. How many bands do you plan to form next year? [laughs]
None. No new records. No new releases. This year was my year at home, so, that time I made a bunch of stuff. Now I'm done making it, I've got to go out and play it. [laughs]
When you do a Google search for "Evan Weiss," you are not the top result. A trumpet player is. Have you ever been confused with Evan Weiss, the trumpet player, or Evan Weiss, the comedian?
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No. Never. Not one. [laughs] I know about the comedian. Him and I got into a spat on Twitter about Obama. [laughs] He's a comedian and a right wing conservative and I am not. We were talking about who was the better Evan Weiss and I think I might have won. [laughs]
Is The Progress going to do a reunion show?
We've been talking about it. It's just a matter of finding out when we could do it. We all have to relearn all of the songs. We've all been waiting, trying to get this vinyl release together. Until the vinyl release comes together, it doesn't make any sense for us to play a show. It'll happen eventually. There's no rush.