Babyshaker Interview for second Tangents website, 2011
By Daniel Coston
For over ten years, Charlotte’s own Babyshaker has brought together a mix of pop, punk and glam that is always a fun and loud good time. Now, the four members of Babyshaker (vocalist Scott Weaver, guitarist Dudley Collins, bassist Corrie Throckmorton, and drummer Scott McCannell) have released Legendary, the debut album (yes, I said album) that finally documents their music on wax. While all four members of Babyshaker are also involved with other projects around Charlotte, they have kept the band together without any lineup changes, a minor feat in today’s music business.
Scott Weaver and I recently talked via email about the new album, music in general, and what keeps the band going today.
Tangents: How did Babyshaker originally come together?
Weaver: Through a series of earth-changing, cosmic events. Combined with the fact that we all met, got along and thought it would be fun to be in a rock band. It was all about timing, really.
Tangents: Did you know what you wanted the band to sound like from the start? Or did that evolve early on?
Weaver: Not really, other than the fact that we were ready for some rock-n-roll. At the time, I was going to New York and L.A. a lot, and there was a great over-the-top rock thing going on in those cities, and I personally found it exciting. We got together and decided to do it here, but in our own way. It certainly was not the popular thing around here at the time. Looking back at our early shows, I can certainly see that we had serious balls to be doing what we were doing.
Tangents: Were there certain influences, or bands that influenced what the band sounds like?
Weaver: Tons. As a whole, we are a group of music fans. We were listening to 70s punk, stoner metal, riot grrl bands, shoegaze, and Steely Dan. I think bands with the front-person lineup, like Iggy & the Stooges, and Blondie and AC/DC were important, because that was the kind of format we were set up to do. As time has passed, we have shifted through different sound vibes, but it’s always been about rocking.
Tangents: Tell me the band’s CD. It took a few years to put together.
Weaver: Well, it’s not even a CD, just a vinyl record (although I think we will press a few CDs based on demand) and available on all of the main digital music stores. And yes, it took a while. We have always been a live band, not a bunch of studio types. It takes a lot to wrangle us in to record. We will play live anywhere, anytime, but recording is always secondary for us. This record was a great experience though, because of how and where we did it and who we did it with.
Tangents: Speaking of that, you had the legendary producer Don Dixon produce it while you played onstage at the Milestone Club. Why Don, and why the live setup for recording?
Weaver: Well, Don actually set up a studio on stage and had us set up in a circle on the floor. It was his idea to put us in a more immediate, “live” situation. He did his Don Dixon wizardry, and set up all kinds of room mics, and just had us rock out. It was so cool to do it that way, in the Milestone, a place that we love, and not be separated in a sterile studio environment. And of course, Don is an amazing producer and a good friend to us, so it was a privilege to work with him. We ended up using the first take on 8 out of 11 songs that ended up on the record.
Tangents: As you mentioned, you had the record pressed on vinyl. Would you do that again?
Weaver: Yes. It is great to have your own custom vinyl record. One of the coolest things we have done. It’s not cheap, but we did not want to scrimp on the packaging. Totally worth it.
Tangents: Fellow photographer shout-out. Who did your promo photos? One hopes you really weren’t lying in a pool of your own blood.
Weaver: Frank Balthazar. He is super-talented and has taken some of the best, most attention-getting shots of our band. He and I work very well together in terms of conceptualizing shots for the band, and he’s a good friend. Of course it’s my own blood-metaphorically speaking. Blood, sweat and tears!
Tangents: How has Babyshaker stayed together with the same lineup for ten years? That’s an accomplishment, in rock terms.
Weaver: It does not feel like it’s been as long as it has, but we have really grown up as adults together and are basically like family. There would never be a replacement if someone stopped. The four of us are Babyshaker. It may sound cheesy, but we are so comfortable together on stage that I’m spoiled by the unconscious magic that occurs when we play live. I guess I’m one of those in-it-for-the long haul types, because my other band, Snagglepuss, has been around almost as long. Locally, Antiseen is the model of longevity. We have mad respect for them.
Tangents: How has the Charlotte scene changed during Babyshaker’s time together?
Weaver: It has certainly grown! A lot of bands have come and gone, and there are tons of great bands here now. It has changed for the better. We have more venues, and an influx of new people to be excited and inspired by.
Tangents: What have been some of your favorite Babyshaker shows over the years?
Weaver: Opening for Iggy Pop, shows with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the Warlocks, Blonde Redhead, the Make-up, the Fetchin Bones reunion and Glass Candy all come to mind. And of course Jucifer, who we have played some 75 shows with through the years. They are an amazing band and dear friends. And we can’t forget Squatweiler and Ultra-Babyfat, who were the first established, out-of-town bands to be supportive of us.
Tangents: What are you listening to these days?
Weaver: Everything from Stan Getz and Dusty Springfield to Autolux, Tame Impala and Two Tears.
Tangents: If you could get hold of the TARDIS, and visit yourself ten years ago, as the band was starting up, what would you tell yourself?
Weaver: Get ready, this is going to be a big part of your life and it’s going to be AWESOME!