From Byron Bay to the Sunshine Coast, The Weather Men have performed their take on the blues – soulful and groovy with an emphasis on improvisation. Influenced by greats such as Albert and BB King, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and new masters John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr and the Black Keys, The Weather Men take the best of the blues and bring it to you.
Tell me, who are the Weather Men and how did they come to be playing together?
The Weathermen are a blues trio from Byron consisting of Joe Brisick, Joel McNamara, and Alex Mitchell. Joe and I happen to be in another Byron local band called Vernas Keep. We would spend much of our time when not rehearsing talking about our favourite genre of music, the blues, and share each other’s extensive but personal musical catalogues. Joe had known Alex from a previous band, and with Alex’s shared love of the blues one day we thought we’d have a jam. And for us, everything just fit! Then and there we made a commitment to explore this music further together.
What is it about the blues that ignites your muso flame?
For us, the blues in essence is a genre of music that cries for feel from those playing it. It’s a genre of music that can express so many different intense emotions and, when you’re in the groove, the band feels it, the audience feels it, and there’s nothing else in that moment. It’s a form of bliss.
Who are your major influences?
We have a broad array of blues artists we respect. From early players such as Son House, Robert Johnson, to the Kings – Albert, Freddie, and BB – to more recent blues artists such as Stevie Ray, Derek Trucks, John Mayer, and Gary Clark Jnr. They all have their own unique spin to offer the blues.
How would you describe your onstage stylings?
Well, fashion styling; we like to wear suits. It originally came about because I wanted to have a reason to wear this suit that I had accidentally crazily overpaid for while travelling in India (I wasn’t thinking of the exchange rate properly at the time). But from that point we all enjoyed dressing up and the theme stuck.
Musically, often when we get up on stage the songs can become a big improvised jam. Structure to some extent goes out the window. It’s so freeing to spend time creating and practising structure and then when the time comes abandoning it. The blues allows for this freedom. Occasionally I’ll even allow myself to pull a ridiculous guitar-solo face!
What do you want to do to an audience?
Every song has been written for the purpose of communicating a message and creating a thread of connection. It’s the aim of the musician to land that communication and connect. Sometimes it doesn’t work because the receiver just isn’t interested or the performance wasn’t up to standard, among other potential variables. But the intention of the artist should always be to communicate that message clearly. And often with the blues, whatever style of blues, people generally walk away feeling moved. So that’s what we aim for, to land the message.
The best song ever written is… ?
This answer to that question’s always difficult to pin down, but I can say my favourite song right now is Circus Left Town by Eric Clapton. It’s about the last day Clapton spent with his son. Such a tear-jerker. Written instrumentally as a bossa nova, it’s like a Spanish lullaby but with the most heart-wrenching lyrics. Sorry to choose a morbid song – you did ask!
When you’re onstage all you can think about is…
The next lyric. Often for me I’m not thinking. We are all are focused, listening to what we are doing individually, what everyone else is doing and if it’s all in context. Most of that happens without too much thought.
Your wildest grandest dreams for the Weathermen?
To continue playing to grateful crowds who love the blues or at least our take on it. One day to play at Byron Bay Blues Festival wouldn’t be too shabby either.
What should we expect for your local shows?
Three smartly dressed men looking to boogie, shuffle, groove and swing.
The Weathermen play the Byron Bowlo (Club Byron) on Friday and the Ocean Shores Country Club on Thursday 24 September.