Touring in support of his latest release, Going My Way, songwriter Randy Weeks has been playing shows in Los Angeles and Houston.
He’ll be playing several shows at SXSW including an official showcase at the Velveeta Room on the 18th.
He took our call before the album launch party at the Mint in LA earlier this week.
Q: How did you decide to become a musician?
A: I came across musical instruments when I was a kid and it just seemed real easy and natural for me and it’s easy to be drawn to something that you’re kinda good at. I started playing the drums when I was a kid, like in school band and I loved doing that, you know, I worked at it because it was fun for me.
And then when I was 16 I started playing in a band – it was like I was totally hooked. When I was 19 I started fooling around with the guitar, because my brother was and I got the feeling that I could excel at that too.
Q: Do you remember the first song you wrote?
A: They kind of came in bits and pieces for awhile. I think one of the earliest songs I wrote that was really fairly complete was a song when a friend of mine died and I guess I was inspired by that. That was a long time ago.
Q: How do you go about writing new songs?
A: I usually just strum the guitar and try to come up with little melodies and little ideas that sound interesting to me and sound like they have a little bit of meat on ‘em.
It’s easiest when I find some words that match with that pattern, then I can take off on it.
But sometimes I write a lot of music and then I have to fit the words in later.
Once in awhile I’ll have an idea that’s a word idea – a lyrical idea, or a song title or something that’s strong enough to build music around it. Every song’s a little bit different.
Q: Do you have any favorite songs from the new album?
A: I like them all, but I kinda like the title cut a lot, and I like “Summer of Love,” I like “Black Coffee and Lifesavers.” Those are some of my favorites to play.
Q: Has your recent move to Austin changed your style any?
A: I don’t think that it’s changed my style, but I immediately started writing a lot more songs than I think I did in California. California was great, but nothing like change. I love Austin – it’s really fun, there’s a lot of bands and musicians and stuff.
But also, just the fact that I had left where I had been for such a long time and living in this whole different environment. It totally was inspiring, it loosened up my thinking a little bit and I wrote quite a few songs in the last year.
Q: If you could pick any song that you wish you could have written, which one would it be?
A: Let me think about that one, there are a lot of great songs out there. What’s a good Bob Dylan song? A good Rolling Stones song? “Gimme Shelter.” And if I were to pick another one… all I can think of is “Gimme Shelter,” that’s safe. It’s an awesome song.
Q: Do you have any favorite venues to play at?
A: It used to be the Hollywood Palace, I played there a few times but that’s not around anymore. I like the House of Blues in LA.
These days I like playing the Mucky Duck in Houston because I’ve got a great crowd there – that’s like a great gig for me.
Q: Is there anything that you always take with you on tour?
A: My tape player, my little cassette player so I can record ideas.
Q: What kinds of music are you listening to now?
A: I listen to Todd Snider. I listen to Sam Baker. That’s what I’ve been listening to lately. I’m trying to think of a good rock ‘n’ roll record I’ve listened to, it’s been a little dry lately. Oh! Alejandro Escovedo. Those three.
Q: Anything else people listen to your music should know about you?
A: They need to know that I’m coming to Colorado and they need to be there when I get there. I expect we’ll be out there this year. I haven’t really experienced a lot of Colorado, mostly Colorado Springs and Grand Junction and Golden. I played there a long time ago but I haven’t really been through there and I’d like to play Denver.