A little off? Perhaps. But I'd like to think of Weatherbox and singer Brian Warren as intriguing. Here is a questionnaire that Brian was nice enough to complete for the readers of AP.net. This should get you interested in American Art, Weatherbox's new album that is up for streaming on Virb.com. I know that I'm rearing for another listen. Much thanks goes out to Brian, Dave Conway at Doghouse, and Maria Catamero at Blueghost Publicity.
First off, let's start with your name and what you do in the band?
Brian: My name is Brian and I play guitar and also sing in Weatherbox.
How did Weatherbox come to be?
Brian: Weatherbox's existence is long and complicated but essentially it was born out of my old, slightly hardcore band called Mister Valentine.
The name Weatherbox comes from a Mission of Burma song – am I right? Why this Mission of Burma song? Is there a special meaning behind it?
Brian: You are correct. It began as a random name but slowly gained meaning. When people ask me what it means now, I say the box is your consciousness and the weather is the external stimuli which effects you constantly. So Weatherbox is everything but since we got it from the Mission of Burma song it’s also nothing. So it is the union of everything with nothing.
This is on your Myspace page: "Before Enlightenment, a Weatherbox is simply a Weatherbox. During Enlightenment, a Weatherbox is no longer a Weatherbox. After Enlightenment, a Weatherbox is a Weatherbox again." What does it mean?
Brian: There is a Buddhist saying, "Before enlightenment, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. During enlightenment, mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers. After enlightenment, mountains are again mountains and rivers are again rivers." I try to understand these things, so I switched mountains and rivers for Weatherbox. It's kind of a joke though.
Please tell me about San Diego. What is the music community like there, and how does Weatherbox fit into it all?
Brian: There are a few different music communities and Weatherbox stands between them. There is a "punk" scene revolving around the Che Café where we like to play the most and there is also a "pop" scene that revolves around Soma, where we also like to play.
I've heard two versions of where you got the name of your new album, American Art, from - one of them being something about "Native American Communism" and the second one being a play on My American Heart. I'm leaning towards the My American Heart reason, but I'd like to know for sure.
Brian: Yes, it is a play on My American Heart. It also just sounds nice.
And speaking of MAH, can we clear up some confusion? I have noticed that there are a lot of different stories circulating around AP.net, and I'd like to set the record straight. What is your history with those guys? Could you call your relationship a sour one?
Brian: I was in My American Heart for about six months in 04 and 05. I helped them on two tours and during the recording of two demo songs, "Don't Sleep" and "White Lines." After this, they began writing songs that I wasn't comfortable playing, so I left. No sour candy between us.
Tell me about the process of recording American Art. Did the album turn out as you had envisioned?
Brian: Not exactly, because I always imagined working on the songs with a producer. This was not possible so I had to do what I could with the time and money allotted.
Now that the album has been released for a little while, are you already thinking ahead to what you would like to do next? Or are you still in American Art mode?
Brian: My brain is in American Art mode, but my mind is thinking ahead towards newer songs and a bigger vision.
Have you read reviews for the album? Are you happy with the responses that you've read?
Brian: Sometimes there are good reviews, sometimes I get very confused by what people say about us. Like our "Maiden-esque guitar riffs." That was the most confusing thing I've read. Possibly ever.
I have been listening to American Art tons recently, and lyrically, it's one of the only albums of 2007 that has really stood out for me so far. Sometimes, your lyrics make sense to me and sometimes I have no idea what you are trying to say. "Atoms Smash" – What is this supposed to be about?
Brian: It's about an Alien invasion, to be honest. There are theories that life on planet Earth was seeded here from an Alien civilization, so that was kind of the inspiration. Confusing, I know!
Is there a general theme on American Art, lyrically or beyond?
Brian: The theme is that we live on the corpse of a civilization of Native Americans.
I've read that you think this album will appeal to listeners that get wrapped up in lyrics, and with this, I'm thinking that you too get wrapped up in the lyrics of an album. Who are some of your favorite lyricists?
Brian: Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes, Max Bemis from Say Anything, also some bands like Black Eyes, Fugazi, Make Believe, and Cap'n Jazz.
Let's say American Art is slated to be a score for a movie. What movie would that be?
Brian: THE FOUNTAIN!!!!!!
Your ties to Say Anything are evident, and please tell me if I am correct on this. One of you guys used to play with SA, and I've read that you cite their music as a huge influence on what you write. Please expand on this. I'm a mega Bemis fan. What is SA to you?
Brian: Say Anything to me is a very important band. The combine indie and pop music so perfectly. They are a huge influence.
What is your favorite song off of …Is A Real Boy and why?
Brian: “Yellow Cat/Red Cat,” because it made me burst into tears!
What is your favorite song not on …Is A Real Boy and why?
Brian: “But a Fleeting Illness” and “Slumming It With Johnny.” They are lyrically amazing and fresh on the musical side!
How did Doghouse Records and Weatherbox begin their relationship? I know that you were connected to Dave Conway before the deal came about. What about Doghouse assured you that this was the right home for Weatherbox? Did SA have something to do with this?
Brian: Dave Conway assured me that Doghouse was the right home for Weatherbox, but I didn't listen for a few years because I'm an idiiiiiiooott.
It's a gloomy subject, but your van was stolen in Brooklyn, NY recently. I'm imagining you guys walking out to the street in the morning and seeing an empty spot where your van used to be. That's a harsh thing to realize. Did you have insurance to cover your equipment?
Brian: No. To all aspiring bands, get your equipment covered by insurance!
Do you watch Adult Swim? If so, what's your favorite Adult Swim show?
Brian: Aqua Teen Hunger Force hands down no contest.
What's a regular day like for you?
Brian: A regular day consists of talking to Dave Conway, eating burritos, and practicing our songs. Sometimes i write new stuff as well.
I always wonder this - if you were to interview your own band, what kinds of things would you like to talk about? What do you want people to know about your music before anything else?
Brian: I don't know. That is a hard question!
Any upcoming tour plans - specifically the East Coast?
Brian: We're doing a fairly short tour of the western states with our brother bands Japandi, Pascalle, and Snuffalufugus. They are all from San Diego and play amazing tunes.
Any last words?
Brian: A bird in hand is worth Five Hundred Dollars.