Interview with drummer Ashton Bird
Tweak Bird is a two-piece stoner rock/psychedelic band based in Los Angeles, made up of brothers Ashton and Caleb Bird. Tweak Bird’s music is gleeful, bruising, and delightfully weird. Their new record Any Ol’ Way will be released on May 20th on Let’s Pretend Records.
Tweak Bird recently played Scion Rock Show with King Buzzo/Buzz Osborne of The Melvins. It was his first acoustic show. What was that like?
That was awesome. I mean seeing it was cool, but being a part of it and playing for it was cool too. It was just cool to see him do that for the first time. We’ve toured with The Melvins before and I’ve seen Buzz do a bunch of sound checks, but this one was different than all of them. He could see that, I could see that – it was cool. There are also tons of his songs I could never figure out how to play, but once you see it on an acoustic guitar, you understand it a little bit better.
Your new LP Any Ol’ Way has a different version of “Weird Oasis” on it. How is the LP version different from the single?
It’s a completely different vocal take. We originally wrote that song as a completely different song called “Sunshine,” we wrote these real Mommas and the Poppas style “Man, we wanna be like feelin’ really good livin’ in the sun” lyrics, but it changed once we got into the studio. We got inspired to write the “Weird Oasis” versions of the lyrics with some different overdubs. But it’s a completely different vocal take, Jimi Hendrix style or something. I’m excited about it, but I’m also kind of freaked out. Maybe people will think it’s cool, maybe not.
On the new record, you’re exploring new sounds and unfinished ideas. Can you elaborate?
It was really fun. We went in there with the same amount of material we always do, but we didn’t limit it to what it was when we went in. Usually we go in, we know what we want to do and we put it down. This time, we knew what we wanted to do, but we gave ourselves a bunch of room. [Producer] David Allen totally helped give us that room and push it to take it some different ways. It’s not the first take of any song by any means, but most of the songs have a completely new idea where we said, “That’s it, man! Let’s go with that!” We’re trying to capture the fun and excitement of the process and not over think it. We did a ton of overdubs, too. We went a lot further. We’ve done them in the past, but we did more this time and had a lot of fun with it.
You also described the new record as a movie from the ‘90s that takes place in the ‘70s. I think I know the one you mean.
I don’t know, man. I wish I could get Matthew McConaughey to endorse the album and be like, “You need a joint to listen to this album. Got a joint? It’d be a lot cooler if you did!” or whatever. [Laughs] There are bunch of albums from the ‘90s, Melvins albums included, where I love the production. Albums where people got real psychedelic, maybe they threw a sitar on it or something and started freaking out. Also, the digital technology coming out created a lot of opportunities for people to abuse all of this technology and make your songs sound even weirder. I don’t know, it just felt right!
How do metal crowds differ from punk crowds from a Tweak Bird perspective?
From my perspective, there’s two different types of crowds. There are crowds that stand and watch, and crowds that freak out. We usually get a pretty decent mixture of both no matter who we play with. When we play stoner rock shows, we’re the wimpiest band of the night. When we play punk shows, we’re like, “Whoa, we’ve got way too many amps!” If we play with some poppy psychedelic bands, we definitely have too many amps and not enough people in the band. Whatever, we’re just having fun. There’s a big difference in reactions, but the genuine people are all in it for the same thing. They’re feeling excited when we’re done, just like we are. We see some of those people at every show.
What else can you tell me about the new record?
Doing the new record was cool, because there’s no middleman anymore. It’s just us and our friend Pete [Stubb] from Let’s Pretend. We’re in control of all of the artwork and everything.
Do you have a big tour coming up?
In May, we’re doing a full U.S. tour. We’ve got a few festival slots and then we’re playing every town [laughs]. We’re coming everywhere!