The heavy music lifer revisits his first European tour with Madball, his regret in missing Motorhead play “Ace of Spades” and how creating a connection is what music is all about.
Slipknot drummer and proponent of heavy culture Jay Weinberg guested on the most recent edition of the Knotfest original series Hardlore: Stories from Tour with hosts Colin Young of Twitching Tongues and God’s Hate and Bo Lueders of Harm’s Way.
The conversation kicked off with an endearing exchange between Lueders and Weinberg, where the guitarist thanked Jay for a show of goodwill – bringing drum gear to the band in L.A., sight unseen after hearing about their trailer getting stolen. It was a move that wasn’t blasted all over social media, just something Weinberg did out of his own sense of community and something that Bo felt should be shared.
THE LOGISTICS OF LIFE ON THE ROAD
Getting to the crux of the conversation, the guys talked tour logistics and how so many people don’t really know the time and travel demands that go into performing as a touring musician. Weinberg talked about playing European festivals, coming off stage at 3am only to travel hundreds of miles to the next festival to do it all over again. That requires multiple drum kits and the kind of quality crew that can ensure that each set up is both efficient, and seamless.
Weinberg confided that the kind of commitment that goes into his craft comes with the realization that there will be some stretches that mean no sleep for a few days at a time. Between the band and their crew, everyone is aware of the demands and has made the commitment to one another to do whatever needs to be done to execute on the highest level – every, single, show.
Recalling some of the wild, last minute kind of scenarios that come with the gig, Weinberg remembered a wild instance during his time with Against Me! He explained that the band had played a festival in California and the very next day had a play in Chicago with Dropkick Murphys. This meant flying into the city the day of and with airline travel sometimes being a roll of the dice, the band was delayed and running a crazy thin timeline.
Weinberg explained that the band ultimately arrived at the venue right as they were scheduled to play and found themselves literally opening cases and unpacking gear onstage. He added that while the situation was hectic, being able to pull it off without the crowd being the wiser did create a bit of a rush – comparing it to a Jason Statham movie.
ONCE A FAN, ALWAYS A FAN
Weinberg confided a lifetime regret he had in explaining his love for Motorhead. Slipknot actually toured with the band some years ago but the scheduling meant that Jay would only be able to see a short portion of the set before he had to go and get ready to perform himself. Because of that, he never got to see Lemmy and the guys play “Ace of Spades”. That regret prompted Jay to make sure he would never make that mistake again, vowing to see every band he wants to and not squandering the opportunity while he has it. In keeping that promise, Jay gushed about going to his first post Covid-show as a fan, watching Nine In Nails and loving every second of it.
Staying on topic of being a fan first, Weinberg shared his love for Hellfest – the long-running heavy music experience in Clisson, France. He discussed the details of the festival, the quality of the production (everything is on fire) and his love for being able to see bands like Wovenhand that he might not normally get to play with, but that completely make sense to be paired with.
Weinberg’s enthusiasm as a fan, really provides a glimpse into what fuels his love for his craft.
WEINBERG’S HARDCORE ROOTS
The guys also dove into Weinberg’s hardcore roots, revisiting his time touring with legendary NYHC outfit Madball. Connecting the dots between the Conan O’Brien Show, Weinberg became close with the guys in H20 which led to meeting more people within the hardcore space. Weinberg would eventually link up with the Madball guys over their shared love for hardcore and hockey, which eventually led to a random audition when Madball needed a drummer for a European tour.
The move was so spur of the moment, Weinberg explained that he actually met Freddy Madball (vocalist) while setting up his drums onstage for his first show with the band. He recalled shows where multiple bands were sharing drums, a nightmare scenario where he broke every single drum head onstage during his set, and what it was like to share a European tour bus with 31 other people spanning four veteran hardcore bands – Cruel Hand, Death Before Dishonor, Terror and Madball.
Weinberg was all of 19 years old and already balancing his workload between his touring, his gigs with Bruce Springsteen and juggling classes in college – reiterating his commitment to craft.
The conversation was loaded with stories from Weinberg’s career but each seemed to echo the idea of establishing a connection between the audience and the stage – that is his transactional relationship with music. He referenced a show that he played with Hesitation Wounds that happened in a a garage in L.A. Playing with Sect, a band featuring Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy, the guys talked about how awesome it was to be playing such an intimate space – an interesting contrast to the massive shows they have played with their other projects.
Weinberg seemed to punctuate the discussion in explaining that connection is really what all bands should be striving for. He said that he’s played many shows in front of all of 10 people that were as much of a “powder keg” to play as an international festival.
Stream the complete episode of Hardlore: Stories From Tour with Jay Weinberg below.