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The Weaks: Two Ponies Ride Again.

August 24, 2015

TheWeaksOnlineText by Jennifer Kerrigan. Portrait by Rachel Del Sordo. Show images by Jessica Flynn.

After eight hours on the road home from Columbus, Ohio and their biggest tour yet, the members of The Weaks piled out of their rust-red tour van onto a familiar street in the city where it all started.

Guitar rock band The Weaks released their debut LP Bad Year in April. The release date coincided with the band’s month-long tour playing shows with Brand New, Circa Survive and Desaparecidos.

On a Monday in late April, they returned to play their album release show at PhilaMOCA.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says guitarist, singer and songwriter Chris Baglivo of the release of Bad Year. “We’ve been working on it for a year intermittently. It’s satisfying to have it out, especially in such a big way.”

Baglivo and Evan Bernard, who also plays guitar and sings in the band, founded The Weaks through their “A Song a Week” project they started after their former band, Dangerous Ponies, broke up.

“Every week we would try to start with a skeleton of a song, usually not much more than chords and a little bit of a melody,” Baglivo says. “We would just grab some people from around the warehouse where we have the recording studio [located in Fishtown] and by the end of the week we would debut it on the radio, WKDU.”

Some of the collaborators on Baglivo and Bernard’s songs from the project came from bands like Hop Along, Dogs on Acid and Thin Lips.

With the addition of Bernard’s brother Corey on bass and Mikey Tashjian on drums, The Weaks began like most DIY bands in Philly – playing shows in their friends’ basements. It’s a far cry from playing for audiences of up to 4,000 people like on their recent tour, as well as putting out their first full-length on a popular local label.

Lame-O Records, started by Emily Hakes and Eric Osman, has been pressing records for local artists since 2012. The Weaks attribute their recent success to Hakes and Osman, whom Evan Bernard befriended when all three began working at Capogiro in University City.

“It was really cool watching them do that stuff,” says Evan Bernard about Lame-O’s early days. “So when we had a record, I was like, ‘Hey do you guys want to put this out?’”

“It was like a mutual admiration,” says Osman. “Evan loved what we were doing and we loved what Evan was doing with The Weaks even more.”

Osman has watched many DIY bands upgrade from basements to major stages over the past few years. However, he feels that big tours don’t necessarily mean a band has “made it.”

“I think a lot of bands are way more DIY than any tours make them seem,” Osman says. “[The Weaks] were still in their van without a trailer, not making a lot of money.”

Yet, Osman sees a bright future for the band.

“If you write a good enough record, you’re going to be able to do whatever you want with it,” Osman says. “I think we’ve seen that in Philadelphia and with The Weaks.”

The Weaks have a lot going for them but are also not afraid to publicize their sarcastic humor. Their first EP, The World is A Terrible Place & I Hate Myself And Want To Die, is a spoof of the name of DIY band The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die. On the new album, Bad Year, they have a song called “Frances Quinlan Will Have Her Revenge On Philadelphia,” referencing the lead singer of Hop Along.

“It’s all out of love baby,” says Evan Bernard. “Parodies are funny.”

“I play video games with Mark, their drummer, pretty much every day,” Baglivo added.

This air of apathy should not be mistaken as a sign of their work ethic in terms of performance and drive. The Weaks already have their next few albums in the works, as well as tours planned for the rest of the summer.

For now, though, they are happy to be home.

With a shoutout to their moms, The Weaks unload their van into the cramped, garage space on the side of PhilaMOCA and prepare to take the stage yet again.

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