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Cory Weeds
Cory Weeds
interview by Brian Nation
June 2008

This is the second interview with Cory Weeds on vancouverjazz.com. Cory was interviewed by Josephine Ochej (two interviews, really, making this the third!) eight years ago, but Cory never rests, and a lot has happened since 2001. This week (June 6, 2008) Cory releases his first CD as leader so I thought this would be a good time for another conversation.

The following interview was conducted online over a period of several months. There was one long pause during which his live recording took place, so the the interview is in two parts: before the recording, and after.


PART ONE

Brian: Where and when were you born? Talk about getting into music, your early environment, and how you got into jazz.

Cory: I was born in Burnaby, BC  Music was a part of my family.  My dad is a guitarist and there was always music in the house. My parents enrolled me in the Suzuki Method of piano which then went to Royal Conservatory but I'm the first to tell you I didn't exactly have a delicate touch on the piano.  I was a bit of a basher but I made it through to grade 5 Conservatory.  While all this was going on my dad was trying to hip me to jazz but it just wasn't working.  I was growing up trying to find my way and listening to heavy metal and basically anything that my parents hated, you know . . . just being a pain in the ass teenager. 

I had a cousin who I really looked up to, he was so cool and he played the saxophone and I wanted to be like him. I started playing in high school in the band but it was a little discouraging because the band program wasn't spectacular and I was miles ahead of everyone (not saying much).  I started listening to more pop music.  I remember the first solo I ever learned was Hungry Eyes by Eric Carmen..I think...made famous in the movie Dirty Dancing.  I started checking out the Rippingtons, even a bit of Kenny G but the guy who really turned my head was David Sanborn. I loved this guy and started copying every note from this tune called The Dream.  I can still play that tune!  This was all happening in grade 10 and 11.  Slowly I started understanding more of what my dad was playing me. He hipped me to Miles, Cannonball and some other cats and it all really started to come together for me in 1991 when I heard Wes Montgomery play Sundown. Man that killed me! 

I switched schools my graduating year to go to Van Tech which had a great music program and there was a teacher there named Glenn David who really steered me straight.  Bop was his thing and he got me on to Bird and Desmond and all those alto players. From there things really took off for me and I discovered this whole new world of music.  All that work that my dad did really paid off. He had to be patient but he was and it worked!  Now I hip him to most of the stuff!

In my first and second year college I got a job selling records at A&B Sound downtown and we got such incredible deals on CDs that my record collection really took off.  There was a running joke at the store because I once brought back John Coltrane's Interstellar Space and exchanged it for John Coltrane The Gentle Side.  The funny thing is that exactly as I write this Rashied Ali (drummer on Interstellar Space) is on my stage playing with his quintet.


You went to the University of North Texas, right? How long were you there? What was that like?

Cory Weeds
"This picture has come back to haunt me many times!  1991 while attending Vancouver Technical Secondary School. I thought that shirt was soooooo hip."

I got a scholarship to attend there in 1995. I only ended up lasting one year there for various reasons. a) I was a bit of a late bloomer and that was my first real foray away from home but b) the real reason is I didn't like the mentality of what was going on at that school. There were a ton of amazing players there but there was a lot of ego and a ton of attitude that really turned me off.  Guys were always trying to prove something to someone.  The school also advocated the more 'modern' style of playing so if you dug Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt or Kenny Dorham you were not "cool". Everything there started with Michael and Randy Brecker. I remember I had a roommate say, and I quote, "I don't really dig Stanley Turrentine, Hank Mobley and Dexter Gordon", which pretty much sums up why I left.  How can you  even begin to comprehend how silly that is?

Having said that however, it was a monumental year for me in terms of my improvement.  It was good being in an environment with no distractions and knowing that if you didn't practice you were going to get your ass kicked.  The big band experience was great.  Nine bands that rehearsed every day which was very cool. I made it to lead in the 3 o'clock which is pretty good and was pegged to play lead in the 2 o'clock but I came home.

Dallas was an interesting place to be. Not a lot of jazz happening but in Denton where the college is there was a ton of student band activity which was really cool.  I cherish my days there and think of them very very fondly. Leaving was also one of the smartest things I ever did.  A lot of good stuff happened when I got home....hmmm I wonder what your next question is going to be.


What good stuff? I want to hear more about your playing before we get into the other aspects of your adventures in music. Crash, for example.

Well when I came home form UNT I was convinced that the way to go was to get my teaching degree and be a school teacher. It was tough however to go from the heated environment of UNT to Cap College and UBC. I say that with all due respect of course to my contemporaries at Cap, there were some burning players up there but the atmosphere just wasn't the same.  I also realized that I really had no interest in the academic side of my degree and wasn't going to be a good teacher even if I did get my degree. In mid October I walked away from Cap and went on the road with a band called People Playing Music.  This band was soooo good for me. In addition to getting to play music every night in front of a lot of people I got to travel. We toured across Canada twice and I got to really spend some time in Toronto which I have come to love very much. I got a chance to see all of Canada which I never would've gotten to see otherwise. We toured in Italy for two months which started a love affair with that country that has seen me return four times since that first tour.  We shot a video that played on Much Music, I recorded my first CD with them. Perhaps the thing that I enjoyed the most was learning about music other than jazz . . . James Brown, Maceo Parker, Spearhead, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder. The list goes on and on in terms of who I was turned on to. It was really a wonderful experience and in many ways I miss it.   Due to these new musical discoveries I formed the instrumental sextet Crash that recently, after eight years, played its last gig.  Crash did three records, toured the country playing some of the most prestigious festivals.  It was my first crack at leading a band and learning about that responsibility.  It was a lot of fun but time for me to move on musically as it wasn't really doing much for me anymore.


Aside from Crash's many appearances at the Cellar, were there other gigs in town? It was a pretty funky band. I'm wondering if it made any kind of dent in the local scene.

I don't know if it made a dent per se but we used to sell out The Chameleon and Cafe Deux Soleil all the time and I think if you asked musicians about Crash they would all know exactly who you were talking about.  The band was around a long time and over the years it involved a lot of local musicians: Brad Turner, Ross Taggart, Darren Radkte, Jerry Cook, Raphael Geronimo, Randall Stoll, Johannes Grames, Rob Hamilton, Tim Proznick, Kerry Galloway, Bernie Arai, Nino Dipasquale, Dave Robbins, André Lachance, Brad Ferguson, Kelly Becker, Mike Kenney, Ian Cox, Bruno Hubert, Dave Sikula, Chad Makela.  A lot of folks gigged in the band at one time or another.

When and how did you first get involved with promoting music other than your own? And why?

Good question.  I had aspirations of owning a jazz club for many years before it actually happened.  Things in Vancouver were really rough in terms of jazz in the mid 90's. There wasn't much happening at all and after spending the better part of three years on the road, I would get home and want to check out some great music.  It was hard to find in Vancouver, really hard and it frustrated me.  Towards the end of my tenure with People Playing Music I was thinking that I better start realizing I needed a Plan B and so with my jazz club idea in mind I went to the Venture Program at BCIT. A wonderful program that taught me a hell of a lot.  The biggest thing I learned while I was there was that I wasn't even close to being ready to open a jazz club because a) I wasn't ready to really give up playing and b) hadn't promoted even one night of music let alone 5 nights a week.  So in the middle of the Venture Program I switched from club ownership to independent promoter and that's when I started bringing in guys like Brian Lynch, Eric Alexander, and kept on promoting Crash and doing concerts like that.  I learned a helluva a lot doing that and it made me way more ready for The Cellar when it came time.


How did you make out with those shows? I know how tough it can be to present the kind of music you were doing. You must of done alright to get inspired to open a club.

Yeah, you know what, we did quite well.  The Eric Alexander was a huge success. I think I made about $300 which I gave to my friend Kory Burk to record the night. I will never forget it, he had an old McGavins Bread truck that he made into a mobile studio. It was killing.  That show was actually at The Cellar about 6 months before I bought it. In fact it was that night that I gave the owner my card and said "if you ever want to sell this place, I'm in", his response "not in a million years!"  Six months later I owned it!  The Brian Lynch show at The Cat's Meow was a success but I lost money only because I had to pay for a piano rental but other than that it was a success.  It was those two shows that made me want to keep doing more. I was also drawing a lot people to my shows (Crash). Still to this day I can't believe how many people come to my shows but it's cool that they do and I just try to keep building on it.  Promoting a show every night is a lot tougher than promoting a show once a month or once every two months.  I love it, though. I have the "presenting" bug in me!


How old were you when you bought the Cellar? I suspect you might have been the youngest jazz club owner in history!

Could quite possibly be. I was 26 when I bought it. Still wet behind the ears so to speak.


I know you're not rich, unless you're holding out on me. Without going in to too much detail, how did you manage to buy a business at such tender years?

It was interesting because I had no money, nor did my partner. What I did have, and still do, are the most incredibly supportive and loving parents.  My dad put it all on the line for me, well not all but he basically lent me some bread and cosigned a loan for me. I don't think to this day he understands why he did this. He went through a business failure and suffered a great deal for it so for him to ante up for me is a gesture that I will never ever forget.  From there we had enough to money to open. Perhaps the better question, if I may, is "'with no money how did you manage to stay around so long?"  After our first year I met a wonderful individual named Raymon Torchinsky who expressed an interest in becoming an investor.  The catch was that I found 3 other people.  Well, I thought that was impossible so I didn't really think much about it but within three weeks I had those three other people and I can't express to you enough that without those four people we would've been long gone. Their financial and moral support if so special to me and something that I can't really put into words.  About three years ago we made some more shares available and brought in our fifth partner.  We are now six people who simply love jazz and are in this venture for no other reason. The six folks are characters and its an interesting mix  of people but we all share a common love and that's JAZZ!


I know that there have been some difficult times, when crowds were thin or other obstacles came up. The answer to this question could probably fill a book so maybe just tell us about some key things. There must have been times when you were ready to pack it in but also other great times that made you glad you kept going. Touch on some of both.

Yeah, wow, that question makes me seriously look back over six years.  There literally have been so many.  I mean its easy to say that when George Coleman and Eric Alexander played or Kenny Barron or David Newman etc. etc. I could go on and on but really the nights I cherish the most is when the locals, my friends: Brad Turner, Cam Ryga, Ross Taggart, Bill Coon etc.  The list again goes on and on.  When they are up there playing their music in my club and the room is packed and everyone is happy, that is really a high for me.  I also am amazed at how many people show up when I play. Its a real high when a band I'm in draws enough for me to get paid!  Night Crawlers, Weeds /Minemoto Quartet etc. I would be remiss however not to mention a few "big" shows that really had me spinning: Big G and Eric Alexander, Mulgrew Miller Trio, Kenny Barron, Charles McPherson, Benny Golson, and the second Monty Alexander show were all events that still give me the shivers when I think about them.  There is one musician however that make me smile more than anyone when he is gracing The Cellar stage and that is FINGERS, Oliver Gannon!

The lows.  When I look back there aren't too many lows. When we had our licensing issues in our first year, that was really tough on me but other than that there haven't been to many lows. I mean, sure I get stresseda lot but that comes with being in the jazz club business.  I guess the things that bother me the most is when people decide to call me out or criticize me without really having the facts at hand. I have been attacked on more than one occasion and I don't think the attacks were warranted at all.  As you know I can be stubborn and people always have something to say so I try my hardest to listen but at the end of the day I have to be comfortable with my decisions and if they are right or wrong they are my decisions.  In the end I will have run this club the way I wanted to. I believe that I have too many good people around me to let me get to far into my ego or my stubbornness etc.  I have good friends, people who care about me and care about The Cellar and they know when to give me a kick in the as,s so to speak. Sometimes I come across as cocky. You have to be that way at times in this business because it can really eat you up and spit you out.


Does Cory Weeds the musician take a back seat to Cory Weeds the club owner? I'm wondering how your music career might have progressed . . . how it would have been different if you weren't running the club?

I do think about that.  Its an interesting thing.  I see all my contemporaries like Jon Bentley and Chad Makela and all the young lions coming up like Evan Arntzen and Alvin Cornista.  I mean these guys are killing players and I often wonder if I had just concentrated on music if I could've played like those guys.  The truth is however the 4 guys I mentioned have had this incredible work ethic and were / are diligent practicers which is something I never was nor aspired to be.  I wanted to be a bigger part of the music. More of a creator and a impresario if you will.  As it turned out I think I am better at running a label and  a club and being a dj than I am a player.  I am however confident in my abilities as a musician and saxophone player.  I'm not chopped liver up there but when I hear some of these other cats it really blows my mind and there is always this thing inside me that says "what if.." Having said that I have no regrets. I mean I have shared the stage and held my own with Dr. Lonnie Smith, Fathead Newman, Hugh Fraser, Paul Anka, Charles McPherson, Jim Rotondi, Ian Hendrickson-Smith etc. and will continue to put myself out there and rely on what I think is good musical taste and a sense of swing.  Whether I'm as good as this guy or not really doesn't have any bearing on me as a musician. I do my thing and don't worry about that stuff.  I think a lot of guys would agree. In the end you make your own music and that's it. Period.

How do you think being an active musician on the scene affects how you run the club?

I have never really thought of that.  First off I think it allows me to be in other venues on a relatively constant basis to see what and how they do things.  I learn a lot from being in other venues.  It's a bit of a novelty for people when they see the owner of The Cellar playing at a different venue and it peaks their interest I think. I seem to do well when I play at other places. Other than that can't really think of any actual affects things.

You don't think that when booking, presenting, or otherwise dealing with the musicians playing your club that being a musician yourself makes you more aware or sensitive to their needs or whatever? The history of jazz is rife with horror stories of bad club owners. Aside from the fact that you're not a bad person to begin with, don't you think being a player makes you more sympathetic to the people you hire and their own particular concerns?

Ah, good point, I misread your question a little bit. YES, YES YES, being a musician certainly has allowed me to relate better to the people that I am booking whether they be big headliners or local cats. I think I can be  a lot more sympathetic and understanding towards musicians because I am one.  It was funny, when I brought George Coleman up I picked him and Eric up in Seattle and dealt with the show down there.  GC was cool with me but he didn't really know who I was or he didn't really make the connection but once I started talking to him about The Cellar and my life as a musician he really warmed up to me and was wicked the rest of the trip.  One way to get "in" with the older cats is to list off an obscure record they did with all the dates and personnel on them and then they know you're not just some hack from Vancouver but you really know your stuff.  As for the local guys . . . well you have to ask them but I think I can also be a lot more sympathetic to their needs financial and otherwise because most of them are my friends and I have developed a level of trust with them, and in this business there isn't a lot of trust.

Do you ever think you're job would be easier if you had no friends among the local musicians? I realize that sounds stupid, but I wonder how  personal relationships affect some of the tough decisions you have to make about who gets booked, for example.

I have been pretty lucky and haven't had to deal with many issues like that. I'm sure there are people out there who question what I do and who I hire but there have only been a few  occasions where someone has actually brought it to my attention.  The times that it has been brought up I thought they were way off base and I defended myself and my decisions based on facts.  Honestly, I think its to hard to run a jazz club without being friends with the local musicians.  I think that being friends and contemporaries of the local guys is why The Cellar has been so successful.  I couldn't imagine doing it any other way. I think it would be way too hard.  You need the support and trust of the local cats to make something like this go and to earn those two things from musicians is extremely hard.  When I started the club those two things were already there and so I had overcome the two biggest hurdles. 


I guess one of the fringe benefits of owning the Cellar is that you've been invited to sit it for a tune or two with some of the visiting jazz greats that have played the club. Got any highlights or interesting stories you can talk about?

Wow, now you're really opening a can of worms!  Stories and highlights! Yes! Lots!  Let me start by saying whether it's a visiting jazz great or local jazz great, I consider it a privilege and an honour to be asked to sit in and play a tune or two.  I don't think in the seven years I have owned the club have I ever asked or insisted to sit in. The bandstand is a sacred place and I would never want to compromise the integrity of what's happening on it by forcing myself on the music or the band. So again, the hundreds of time I have been asked to play has been an honour.

"yes!"  This was at at time when basically sitting in was the only playing I was doing. Practicing was a pipe dream.  I hadn't played for a few weeks but as is often the case adrenaline and excitement carries you through. We had trouble agreeing on a tune until I reluctantly agreed to There Is No Greater Love.  He said "cool, I'll play the A and Cory you take the B and we'll play it nice and medium." Well, he launches into the head at about 310 on the metronome which is FAST!  I proceeded to play like a total bum, I knew it, the band knew it and C-Mac knew it.  I got off the bandstand and that was the end of it.  I remembered that for a long time and when Charles came back I was ready for him and he, thankfully, gave me another chance. We played Blue and Boogie which he does super fast and although I wasn't thrilled with what I played it was a hell of a lot better than the first time and Charles whispered in my ear "ah, so you really can play!"  That was great!

 Sitting in with Lou Donaldson is right up there with the best for sure. He is the closest I will ever come to meeting a true bebop legend let alone play with one so that was pretty special.  I had fun with Scott Hamilton, too. He just swings so damn hard and to be up there right beside that great feel was something that I will never forget.  I always relish the opportunity to sit in with Cam Ryga, Oliver Gannon and Hugh Fraser. Those have been some pretty exciting experiences for me. Oh man, how could I forget MABES?  That was a huge thrill to play with Harold Mabern. He has played with so many people and has such an amazingly unique style.  He is such a propulsive comper which is great to play behind.

Sitting in is hard. I mean you get up to play with a band that has played and warmed up the whole night and you have to pull out your horn totally cold and try to say something.  More often than not the actual music coming from my horn in those situations has been disappointing but I look around and say "holy shit, I'm trading fours with Lou Freaking Donaldson!"


Getting up on the bandstand with the masters, like Lou Donaldson, McPherson, and others . . . even for one tune . . . these must have been great learning experiences for you.

To be honest with you, when I have gotten up there I have been so nervous it's hard to concentrate on actually learning something, per se.  I think the biggest thing is being right next to that sound.  Lou and Charles especially have these great big saxophone sounds and to be that close to it is amazing.  When I sat in with Scott Hamilton it was more his sense of swing that I fed off.  He really swings hard and to be right beside that as opposed to being in the audience is that much more powerful.


I know you're your own toughest critic. I've been at the club many times when you've been invited to sit in, then come off the bandstand disappointed in your performance no matter how well you acquitted yourself. After all these times has your self-confidence improved?


My self-confidence has definitely improved and more so in the last year or so.  As I mentioned earlier, it's a tough thing to get up on stage totally cold and play with a band that has been tearing it up for the better part of two sets.  I think I'm actually getting pretty good at it.  Mainly it has improved because I have actually committed myself to playing the saxophone again . . . practicing, taking lessons, writing, etc., and I feel like for the first time since I have owned the club my horns have not been neglected.  I also owe some of my recent inspiration to my decision to start playing the tenor saxophone. I will always be an alto player but it has been really fun playing a different horn and sometimes you need a little nudge or a little incentive to get you going again and the tenor has done just that. 


Obviously your self-confidence has improved to the point that you've decided to record yourself as leader. What led to your choice of sidemen for your recording debut?

Recording as a leader is a much bigger statement than recording as a sideman. I have really enjoyed being a sideman and being involved in recording projects where I'm not really responsible for anything other than just playing.  Whether its Crash, The Night Crawlers, B3 Kings, or Melody Diachun, I am a sideman or part of a collective in these groups and my say only counts for a certain percentage of the vote, if you will.  When you record as a leader you are in control of absolutely everything from booking the studio, to picking the tunes to picking the musicians.  It's a lot more responsibility and therefore a much bolder statement. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge B3 organ fanatic. I am totally obsessed with the instrument.  I realized a few months ago that I have not really recorded with anything other than the B3 organ, which was not planned, its just the way it worked out.  My favorite project that I'm involved in is The Night Crawlers with Jesse Cahill which is a band basically dedicated to the organ music of the 60's.  Its a gas and for some reason I feel that I excel when playing with the organ behind me.  I had been thinking of recording as a leader for some time and was planning to do it with the Weeds / Minemoto Quartet but for some reason I just didn't feel like I was ready to do something with that group. I love that group and recording with that quartet is still something that I plan on doing.  Last year I had the pleasure and honour of sitting in with Lou Donaldson at the club.  Mike Ledonne was the organist on the date.  I know Mike from my numerous trips to New York.  In my many trips there I have never missed a Tuesday night at Smoke in Upper Manhattan. Its a great club and Ledonne has the house gig there with his group: Eric Alexander - tenor sax, Peter Bernstein on guitar and Joe Farnsworth on drums.  This has become my favorite band. They have two great CDs on Savant called Smokin' Out Loud and On Fire that are just killing.  Listening to the latter made me think, "that's how I want my record to sound!"  After playing with Lou I said to Mike that it's my dream to record with his group.  Without batting an eye he said, "let's do it!" I said "you would do it?" to which he replied "you sound great, of course I'll do it. You have to pay me but I'll do it."  So from there it was just a matter of contacting Pete B who I played with with Dr. Lonnie Smith's Trio and whose career I have followed for a long time.  Pete quite simply put is the finest guitar player on the planet. He's got everything; the great big sound of Grant Green and the technique of Wes Montgomery. Having said that he has his own beautiful touch and sound and I can pick him out immediately.   Joe Farnsworth who I have never played with but have met several times and who has played the club seems to be playing drums on every record I pick up these days.  He plays in Cedar Walton's group and is such a hard swinging drummer.  His drumming reminds me a lot of Louis Hayes, who I love.  I contacted them and they said yes and so now we're making a record.



PART TWO

So, how'd it go?

Mike LeDonne, Cory Weeds, Peter Bernstein, Joe Farnsworth
The "Big Weeds" band. L to R, Peter Bernstein, Cory Weeds, Mike LeDonne, Joe Farnsworth

Well, considering I was doing a recording at my own club with three of the greatest musicians on the planet I think it went

pretty well. The first night was a bit tough. I was kind shell-shocked to be up there on stage with those guys and it took me the night to finally get comfortable and then of course it was over; but the next night it really started to feel good in all aspects.  The guys were comfortable with the tunes; they had acclimated themselves to their equipment, and the crowd was better, so everyone just kind of relaxed and the results showed. The third night was also very good but not quite as "up" in terms of vibe but it was definitely the most "together" of the three nights. It makes it tough to choose takes. Do you pick the take that has the most energy and sacrifice some tightness, or do you pick the take that has the most tightness and lacks a bit of energy?  These are tough questions when assembling records.  I think I made the right choices though and am really excited about the way it turned out.


I was there for one of the nights you recorded and was pretty impressed by your originals. Have you done much writing?

Well, writing has not been a huge part of my arsenal.  Its a tough thing. Writing is very personal and to put yourself out there like that is a vulnerable position to take.  I haven't always been in situations where its been comfortable.  This, for whatever reason, was different. I think this is where Bill Coon, who produced the record, really came in handy.  I could brings these ideas to him and with his vast harmonic knowledge and his knowledge of the organ idiom and he would just push my ideas a little further along and voice the chords on his guitar in a way that made me realize what I had written was actually a lot hipper than I gave myself credit for. Having said that, I'm not implying that my writing on this album is breaking new grounds in hipness!  I just wanted to write hip, swinging, memorable melodies that were fun to blow on and I think I did that.


I noticed Bill was very busy the night I was there, making notes and conferring with you between sets. You've already partly answered this question but I'd like to know more about how, and how much, Bill, as the producer, shaped the final product.

Well, actually as far as shaping the final product, Bill wasn't involved at all.  His work ended after the recording. His work in the preparation process and the actual recording was invaluable.  At times he was more of a therapist than a producer.  He was taking notes about all sorts of things; what he felt about certain takes, how arrangements sounded, what were good solos, when and/or where heads got messed up etc. We would talk on the phone the next day and make any necessary changes or adjustments. As it turns out he didn't have much to say which is a compliment to his work and my work.  Both of us worked really hard before the sessions and felt totally prepared.  We only made minor tweaks.   It was also a bit nervewracking having Bill Coon taking notes.  I mean, I have so much respect for him as a musician and it was kind of weird to look out and know that he was literally listening to every note. I got over it though because I quickly realized how important his involvement was going to be.


I think there are something like forty albums out on your label, Cellar Live. How many of these did you produce?

Well without looking through the catalog one by one, I would say I produced the majority of them.  We have licenced a few records which I didn't produce but most of our records have been produced or co-produced by me.  There are a few in particular where my role as producer were more significant such as P.J Perry's Joined At The Hip, Oliver Gannon's Live at The Cellar, Charles McPherson's Live at The Cellar, Night Crawlers' Presenting.  Those ones I pretty much did from start to finish.

Do you think that your experience with Bill producing your CD will have much of an effect on your own role as producer on future Cellar Live recordings?

 As I think about it, however, I realize that Bill was maybe more of a musical director rather than a producer.  Being a producer is really tricky sometimes. I don't like telling musicians what to do, what to play etc.  When I decide I want to make a record for Cellar Live I am pretty comfortable with what the band sounds like so I know exactly what I'm going to get.  I don't go in blind. I choose bands that sound good so my job is pretty easy.  I try to stay out of the material choice  as much as possible unless there are certain tunes that I really like. Take Jodi's record, Foundation, for example. I said "you can do whatever you want but RB's Line has to make the record." They obliged. For Joel Haynes'  new album  I said "look, Champagne Supernova has to make the record!"  I also make some editing decisions in terms of shortening tunes. With most of the stuff being live the tune tend to be on the longer side so we have to make edits to shorten them down in hopes of getting radio play.  That can be really tricky because it can really interrupt the flow of a solo or a tune but sometimes it just has to be done.

With my album I told Bill that I was hiring him to tell me when I suck, when to get my act together and when my tunes aren't really working.  Basically I told him not to pull any punches.  Thankfully he never said any of those things but my point is we had some boundaries set up in terms of what I wanted from him and that I was okay with him being super honest with me.

The role of producer is more relevant in studio recordings as opposed to live recordings.  With live, there is so much less to worry about as a producer than when you're in the confines of a recording studio.


Are you thinking about future recordings of your own?

That's a good question.  I spent a lot of time and energy on preparing for this recording.  It shouldn't seem like that big of a deal but with all the other things that I do it took a lot of work and dedication to make sure that I was prepared. It took a lot out of me.  Having said that, I have plans to record with Red Holloway and the Night Crawlers in July as well as with Jim Rotondi in August (although this one is just for posterity purposes).  Nothing planned as a leader though.

Just for posterity purposes?

Well, what i mean by that we're going to record and see what we get, its not guaranteed to come out whereas with Red Holloway its definitely going to be a record.

You're a musician, club owner, record producer, and radio show host (dj) . . . so i have a two part question: Does one of those roles dominate? Secondly, is there something else, some other goal, dream, etc, whether in music or not, that you think about or look forward to?

It's pretty crazy to sit hear and think that I'm 34 and have pretty much done everything that I wanted to do so it's a constant struggle to come up with new goals and desires . . . at least career-wise. I'm now focussing on goals for my personal life. I got married one year ago and am working on being the best husband I can be. My wife, Alana, is amazing and I feel so blessed to have met her. We are hoping to start a family soon which is going to really change my life and I know it's hard but I can't wait to be a dad. So my goals are more family oriented now.


LINKS:

Cory Weeds blog

The CELLAR

"Big Weeds" CD at CELLAR LIVE

Photos (except school shot) by Steve Mynett