The Weakerthans

The Weakerthans

Infobox musical artist |
Name = The Weakerthans

Img_capt = The Weakerthans performing in Winnipeg, 2007
Landscape = yes
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Genre = Folk punk
Indie rock
Years_active = 1997–present
Label = Epitaph, ANTI-, G7 Welcoming Committee
Associated_acts = Propagandhi, Broken Social Scene, FemBots, Greg Graffin, Christine Fellows, Jim Bryson, Constantines, Sarah Harmer, Painted Thin
URL = [ The Weakerthans]
Current_members = John K. Samson
Jason Tait
Stephen Carroll
Greg Smith
Past_members = John P. Sutton

The Weakerthans are an award-winningcite web | title = Weakerthans stick to their punk rock roots | publisher = "The Brock Press" | date = 2005-03-30 | url = | accessdate = 2007-02-07] four-piece (and sometimes six-piececite web | title = MySpace Band Member Description | publisher = MySpace | date = 2006-08-30 | url = | accessdate = 2006-09-31 ] ) Canadian indie rock band that blends punk rock with folk rock.


The band was formed in 1997 in Winnipeg, Manitoba by John K. Samson, after he left the punk band Propagandhi to start a publishing company. Samson joined forces with bassist John P. Sutton and drummer Jason Tait, and created The Weakerthans as a vehicle for a more melodic and introspective brand of songwriting than that of Propagandhi.

One origin story for the band's name, as quoted in the liner notes of "Fallow", is a line from the 1992 film "The Lover": "Go ahead, I'm weaker than you can possibly imagine." [cite web | title = The Weakerthans: biography | publisher = AllMusicGuide | url =| accessdate = 2007-06-12] The band's name may also refer to a Ralph Chaplin quote from "Solidarity Forever": "What force on Earth can be weaker than the feeble strength of one?" The band alludes to this line in the song "Pamphleteer" from the album "Left and Leaving".

The band's debut album, "Fallow", was released in 1997 on G7 Welcoming Committee Records, and garnered positive reviews from Canadian music critics.Fact|date=May 2007|date=May 2007 Guitarist Stephen Carroll, formerly of Painted Thin, subsequently joined the band, and "Left and Leaving" was released in 2000.


Sutton, who played on all three of the band's first albums, left 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.cite news |title= The Top 50 Canadian Albums and Songs of All Time |work= Chart, Issue 164 |publisher= |date= 2005-03 |accessdate=2007-02-07 ] In the same poll, Samson wrote the capsule review for another top ten finisher, The Lowest of the Low's "Shakespeare My Butt", which he cited as a major influence on his own music.

"Reunion Tour" was released on September 25, 2007 in North America by Epitaph and ANTI-. The band released a video for "Civil Twilight", which consisted of a single, unbroken camera shot of the band on a Winnipeg Transit city bus.cite web | last = Spinella | first = Mike | title = Video Premiere: The Weakerthans, "Civil Twilight" | publisher = Spinner | date = 17 October 2007 | url = | format = Web | accessdate = 2007-10-25 ]

Epitaph also re-released the Weakerthans' first two albums, "Fallow" and "Left and Leaving", in Canada on November 6, 2007.cite web | last = Van Evra | first = Jennifer | title = Epitaph To Re-Release Weakerthans Classics | publisher = CBC Radio 3 | date = 24 October 2007 | url = | format = Web | accessdate = 2007-10-25 ]

Chart performance

"Reunion Tour" debuted at #22 on the Nielsen SoundScan chart for Canada in its first week of release, and at #4 on the alternative/modern rock chart.

The Weakerthans became the first band in the history of CBC Radio 3's "R3-30" charts to reach #1 with two different songs. The band's cover of Rheostatics' "Bad Time to Be Poor" reached #1 the week of June 21, 2007, and "Civil Twilight", the lead single from "Reunion Tour", hit the top spot the week of November 15, 2007. As of|2007|12, "Civil Twilight" is tied with Arcade Fire's "Black Mirror" as the longest-running #1 in that chart's history. "Civil Twilight" was also the #1 song in "The R3-30"'s year-end Top 100 chart.


Current members

*John K. Samson (lead vocals, guitar)
*Jason Tait (drums, percussion, vibraphone, keyboards)
*Stephen Carroll (guitar, pedal and lap steel, keyboards)
*Greg Smith (bass)

Former members

*John P. Sutton (bass)

Live show help

*Jim Bryson (general support). Joined as of September 10, 2007cite web | last = Lawrence | first = Grant | title = Bryson Rapidly Weakening | publisher = CBC Radio 3 | date = 2007-09-10 | url = | format = Web | accessdate = 2007-09-25 ] .
*Christine Fellows (keyboards/background vocals)
*Dave MacKinnon (keyboards)
*Brian Poirier (acoustic guitar and backing vocals)
*Tyler Greenleaf (trumpet and trombone)

MacKinnon and Poirier also have their own band, FemBots, and were previously associated with the bands Dig Circus and Hummer. Both Bryson and Fellows are solo artists in addition to touring with The Weakerthans.



* 1997: "Fallow"
* 2000: "Left and Leaving"
* 2001: "Watermark EP"
* 2003: "Reconstruction Site"
* 2007: "Reunion Tour"


*"Return of the Read Menace" (1999, G7 Welcoming Committee)
**"Ringing of Revolution" (Phil Ochs cover)
*"Hopelessly Devoted to You Vol. 3" (2000, Hopeless/Subcity Records)
**"Watermark" (from "Left and Leaving")
**"Confessions of a Futon Revolutionist (Country Style)" (previously unreleased)
*"Hopelessly Devoted to You Vol. 4" (2002, Hopeless/Subcity Records)
**"Past Due (Pre-"Reconstruction Site" acoustic version)" (previously unreleased)
**"Aside" (from "Left and Leaving")
*"Hopelessly Devoted to You Vol. 6" (2006, Hopeless/Subcity Records)
**"Diagnosis" (from "Fallow")
**"Aside" (from "Left and Leaving")
*"Operation: Punk Rock Freedom" (2003, Hopeless/Subcity Records)
**"Watermark" (from "Left and Leaving")
**"Confessions of a Futon Revolutionist" (from "Fallow")
*"Chulksmack Soundtrack" (2004, Epitaph Records)
**"The Reasons" (from "Reconstruction Site")
*"Punk-O-Rama Vol. 9" (2004, Epitaph Records)
**"Plea from a Cat Named Virtute" (from "Reconstruction Site")
*"Punk-O-Rama Vol. 10" (2005, Epitaph Records)
**"The Reasons" (from "Reconstruction Site")
*"Take Penacilin Now" (2005, G7 Welcoming Committee Records)
**"My Favourite Power Chords" (alternate version of "Left and Leaving"'s "My Favourite Chords")
*"Wedding Crashers Soundtrack (2005, New Line Records)
**"Aside" (from "Left and Leaving")
*"" (2006, Sony BMG)
**"Utilities" (previously unreleased)
*"The Secret Sessions" (2007, Zunior)
**"Bad Time to Be Poor" (Rheostatics cover)

Related albums

* John K. Samson – "Slips and Tangles" (1993), "Little Pictures" (1995, 2006)

ide projects

*Samson frequently collaborates with his wife, Christine Fellows.
*Tait has recorded and performed with Broken Social Scene.
*Tait, Samson, and Fellows collaborated with poet and filmmaker Clive Holden on his multimedia project "Trains of Winnipeg".
*Carroll appeared on The Details' "Draw a Distance. Draw a Border."
*In 2006, all of the Weakerthans except Samson performed on Greg Graffin's second solo album, "Cold as the Clay".
*In 2000, the "Winnipeg Free Press" released a spoken word album by Catherine Hunter that included a bonus track featuring the Weakerthans doing backing instrumentation while Hunter read her poem "Rush Hour".



*Outstanding Independent Album – "Reconstruction Site" – Western Canadian Music Awards (2004)
*Outstanding Songwriter – John K. Samson – Western Canadian Music Awards (2004)
*Artist of the Year – The Weakerthans – Verge Awards (2008)cite web | last = Wheeler | first = Brad | title = Weakerthans, Hey Rosetta! win Verge Music Awards | publisher = The Globe and Mail | date = 2008-09-25 | url = | format = Web | accessdate = 2008-09-25 ] .


*Best Alternative Album – "Left and Leaving" – Juno Awards (2001)
*Video of the Year – "Psalms for the Elks' Lodge Last Call" – Western Canadian Music Awards (2004)
*Alternative Album of the Year – "Reconstruction Site" – Juno Awards (2004)
*Video of the Year – "The Reasons" – Juno Awards (2005)
*2008 Polaris Music Prize — "Reunion Tour"

ee also

*List of bands from Canada


External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Set of six live videos] from the band's 2007 tour on
* [ "10 Questions with The Weakerthans"] on
*" [ End of the Road: The Weakerthans' Last Stop] " CBC Radio 3 live concert session
* [ "Reunion Tour"] review on music webzine "Rock Louder"

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