Hello fans. A lot of excitement around the band as we barrel through winter 2015. The re-release of Weirdo will begin happening in late February/early March; and we will be headed to SXSW and playing several shows in the Midwest and Southeast this spring. Check out the tour page on this site! Below is a primer on the Weirdo re-release as written by our manager Doug Rasmussen. Enjoy and see you at the shows!
–Mike, Dan, Sean, and Tigger
As the release of the Weirdo reissue approaches, the fan/manager in me wrote a few thoughts down I would like to share with y’all. Yes I am pumped and you should be too. Enjoy (Doug Rasmussen).
It wasn’t under the light of Endicott Johnson, but the light of the Capitol Dome in Downtown Madison Wisconsin on April 30 1994 that shone with its usual imposing hue through the fog and upon the unsuspecting patrons entering the music club known as The Chamber. My group of two arrived early to get a table and sit down with a pitcher of beer (remember those?), and to get ourselves primed for singer-songwriter Freedy Johnston who was touring on the heels of critical acclaim and was recording in Madison at Smart Studios.
20-years plus since that spring night in Madison and what can one say–the memory of a weirdo still burns as primal and omnipresent as it does today–so much so I remember the date and month of the show like it was my mother’s birthday. We came to see a pop-singer songwriter, we left having seen something just flat out fucking intense and unbelievable.
To us upper-Midwesterner college students at the time Athens GA meant riding in a Chrysler as big as a whale or losing our religion (two things as suburban children of the 70s/80s we had already done)—not losing our collective minds during a rock show. Who the hell was this angry man interrupting my idle table chatter by yelling at the top of his lungs for us to shut the f**k up and stop talking—and then screaming as he belted out lyrics about a phone call from the all night diner in his mind— standing on the stage, alone, in front of the mic, strumming his guitar, looking well–weird (and crazy). Uncomfortably obsessed (stunned?) we all watched with awe–sucked in like watching a car crash–and then we rocked–hard. I think we saw Freedy later (can’t really remember)–and then we immediately went back to our respective dorm room/flat/whatever in a daze and promptly bought the Weirdo album from B-Side records in downtown Madison the very next day.
Fast forward to 2015 and the same band is still going strong, with the same lineup that blew us away on that Weirdo tour, and re-releasing the record that made us all do a double take and look at this intense fiery rock band from Georgia some 20 years ago. What have we learned in 20-years? We have learned that great rock bands like Five Eight continually find a way to reinvent themselves, create new material and energy, and in so doing remain as relevant now (even more so in this era of overly ironic mustache indie hipster drudgery) as they were then. We have also learned that great rock bands and great records sometimes need to be heard again under a different light (not the capitol dome light), in a different era, a different time—to be reaffirmed and appreciated.
Remixed and remastered from the original tapes by Athens GA wizard/original producer David Barbe, the new Weirdo isn’t so much a look back as it is a look from the present and a look into the band’s future. While the members of Five Eight are in the late 40s and early 50s, their intensity live and creativity in songwriting is as strong as it ever was, and the remaster has done an excellent job of lifting Mike’s guitar/voice, Sean’s guitar, Tigger’s drums, and Dan’s bass enough out of the 1990’s fuzz of the original mix to provide a sense of sonic clarity that replicates the band’s current live sound and focused intense direction. Listening to the remix isn’t so much 1994—its actually more like 2014 or 2015—its an update—its 20 years of strength and longevity, of rocking one’s ass off until you drop, of never quitting, of getting better as musicians and as a band, of lifting the emotional needs and scars of the past, of nurturing the needs of long-time and future fans of one of the greatest pure live rock bands to ever grace the American club scene.
The songs are the same and there are some great reissues included that were inexplicably left off the original record (The Only One for example), but the songs are different too. The remixes are loaded with new energy, new passion, and a new sense of longing for what remains real (20-years later) about heartache, disaffection, emotional disconnectivity, suicidal tendencies, being hurt, and being a WEIRDO.
Is everybody ready to rock….?