Formed after Propagandhi member John K. Samson got the itch to perform and record again after taking a sabbatical to write and start a publishing company, the Winnipeg-based Weakerthans took Samson's music in a completely different direction. Propagandhi had been known for powerful, speedy punk and overtly political lyrics, but the Weakerthans went down a more melodic and introspective path. Consisting of Red Fisher drummer Jason Tait and bassist John Sutton, the Weakerthans took their name from a line from the film adaptation of Marguerite Duras' The Lover: "Go ahead, I'm weaker than you can possibly imagine." The band prided itself on its high standards, both as political beings (shying away from large label or distribution contracts because of their connection to exploitation) and in their personal lives (promoting vegetarianism) and received critical praise for their debut album, Fallow, which was issued in 1998 on a co-operative label, G7& Welcoming Records. Their second full-length, Left and Leaving, was issued in early 2000. Watermark followed a year later. By 2003, the band found a deal with Epitaph and issued Reconstruction Site.
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" The Weakerthans write and perform songs with voices, guitars, and drums. Critically hailed and impossible to categorize, they have developed a strong and dedicated following that crosses the boundaries of genres and fashions. Labels like Punk or Alternative or Rock may seem appropriate, but they would hope Honest would do. "We write the only songs we know how to write: songs that reflect the place we come from, musically and geographically, the community we live in, and the struggle for any one person to connect with another in a meaningful way." TheWeakerthans appeal to a broad audience with musical influences including punk, folk, country, show-tunes, union hymns, rock, nursery school anthems, etc., and so on. Something to please or annoy everyone. Lyrically, Samson concentrates on issues of alienation, hope, and survival within a society riddled with injustice and a culture commodified in every possible way."
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The Weakerthans are a Canadian indie rock band, whose blend of punk-inflected folk rock with literate, witty, introspective lyrics have made them one of the most popular new bands on the Canadian music scene. Formed in 1997 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the band was started by John K. Samson after he left the popular punk band Propagandhi to write and start a publishing company. Samson hooked up with bassist John P. Sutton and drummer Jason Tait, and created The Weakerthans as a vehicle for a more melodic, introspective brand of songwriting than his time in Propagandhi. The band's debut album, Fallow, was released in 1998 on G7 Welcoming Committee Records, and garnered the band positive reviews from Canadian music critics. Guitarist Steven Carroll joined the band later, and in 2000, Left and Leaving was released. In 2003, the band released Reconstruction Site on Epitaph Records, and were awarded with rave reviews from Canadian and international critics for their ambitious combination of punk, rock, folk, country, Elizabethan sonnets and lyrics about getting an emotional pep talk from a cat. It also became their best-selling record to date, and their airplay breakthrough on Canadian radio. Sutton, who played on all three of the band's albums, left the band in August 2004 and was replaced by Greg Smith. In 2005, Left and Leaving was named one of the ten best Canadian albums of all time in Chart magazine's reader poll.