Enter Stage Left

BY Stuart GreenPublished Nov 17, 2016

Anyone who's followed the career of John K. Samson knows he's not in any hurry. Back in his early days with proto-punks Propagandhi, the band would release material whenever it felt like it (we're still waiting for a follow-up to their 1996 entry, Less Talk More Rock).

Now fronting his own post-punk folk-rock combo, the Weakerthans, nothing much has changed. The band's first album, the much-lauded Fallow was originally released in early 1998 but they've only just finished recording the follow-up, Left and Leaving, for a summer release. But no one can accuse the Samson, drummer Jason Tait, guitarist Stephen Carroll and bassist John P. Sutton of being lazy or anything ? far from it. There's if not a method to the madness, at least a pretty darn good explanation.

"The pace we take is according to our own desires," Samson explains from the office of his Winnipeg publishing company. "I think I write slowly and deliberately, plus we all have different things going on, and hectic lives. And I just don't buy that record industry idea that you have to put something out every year or two years. I think that's a big mistake and I just can't do it."
The band has also been going through the paces with extensive, seemingly unending tours of North America and Europe. According to Samson, though, the forthcoming record doesn't contain the raw aggression that might come from years of live rocking. In fact the Ian Blurton-produced affair is much softer than Fallow, he says.

"I feel we've progressed as a band and grown and changed," says Samson. "It's certainly a quieter record and there's less rock." Samson's two additional years on this planet have also caused him to rethink the lyrical approach he takes. "With this record I'm trying to look a little more outward and try and tell more of the stories I see around me and try and understand them," he says. "The theme of all our work is alienation and the struggle to connect with others. On this record I've been trying to tell other stories."

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