MewithoutYou

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MewithoutYou
Genres Art rock, indie rock, post-hardcore, alternative rock
Years active 2000–present
Labels Tooth & Nail, independent
Associated acts The Operation, Norma Jean
Website www.mewithoutyou.com
Members Aaron Weiss
Michael Weiss
Greg Jehanian
Richard Mazzotta
Brandon Beaver
Past members Daniel Pishock
Ray Taddeo
Christopher Kleinberg

MewithoutYou, stylized as mewithoutYou, is an American rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The band consists of vocalist Aaron Weiss, guitarists Michael Weiss and Brandon Beaver, bassist Greg Jehanian and drummer Rickie Mazzotta. The band's music is generally dominated by spoken-word vocals and free-ranging drums, bass, and guitar.

History[edit]

The band was originally conceived as a side project. The Weiss brothers and former guitarist Christopher Kleinberg were playing together in another band called The Operation with current bassist Greg Jehanian (who released one album and one EP, 2001's There Is Hope for a Tree Cut Down & 1999's Invisible Man EP, on Takehold Records), but Aaron wanted to start another band to experiment with new sounds. With the help of Ricky Mazzotta, Ray Taddeo, and his brother Mike, Aaron formed what is now formally known as mewithoutYou. At first the band was a four piece, with Aaron Weiss on both bass and vocals. However, in only a few months Chris Kleinberg joined to play third guitar. The band released their first EP (I Never Said That I Was Brave) in 2001 and shortly thereafter signed to Tooth & Nail Records after a show at Cornerstone Festival the same year. Around this time Taddeo had moved on, and Daniel Pishock was recruited to be the first official and permanent bass player of the band. The Operation disbanded soon afterward, and mewithoutYou's debut full-length album, [A→B] Life, was released in 2002. The band garnered more attention for their second release, 2004's Catch for Us the Foxes, which was produced by Brad Wood (Smashing Pumpkins, Sunny Day Real Estate). In December 2004 Pishock had made the decision to retire as the bassist to pursue a career in teaching and explore other musical ventures, and former Operation frontman, Greg Jehanian, was selected to replace him. In 2005, mewithoutYou won mtvU's "Left Field" award for most original artist for their song "January 1979." Their third album, Brother, Sister, again produced by Wood, was released on September 26, 2006. In late 2007, guitarist Christopher Kleinberg left the band, to pursue a degree in medicine. Pete Syoum filled in for guitar in the fall of 2007, but later Kleinberg returned to play with the band on their 2008 Summer tour since school was not in session. Kleinberg also played some shows on their, It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright, tour in June 2009.

Aaron Weiss provides narration for the Forgive Durden album entitled, "Razia's Shadow: A Musical" which was released October 28, 2008. He also provides vocals for Norma Jean's "Memphis Will Be Laid to Waste" and Indie/Hip Hop project Bella Futuro's "70 X 7".

As of September 2008 the band has finished recording the follow-up to Brother, Sister titled, It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright. The title of the album is taken from parable 518 in the book 'The Golden Words of a Sufi Sheikh" by Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. In this he writes, "It's all false, It's all a dream, It's all crazy, It's all over, It's all right, Let's see what's next".[1] The latest album is a departure from Weiss' trademark shouting and the band's raucous grooves. The mile-a-minute rants, thick with lyrical angst, are traded for simpler melodies with lyrics about anthropomorphic food and animals. Similarly, the band has scaled back their edgier post-hardcore sound, at times trading riffs for chords and guitars for pianos and harp. Even a classical composer was called into their Fishtown, Philadelphia studio for various arrangements on several tracks.[2] The album was produced by Dan Smith (Danielson, Sufjan Stevens) and Brian McTear and was mixed by Brad Wood.

They tour in a 42-foot 1976 MC8 Charter bus that runs on vegetable oil. Before July 2009 the side of the bus read "Altus Bulldogs." The bus has since been painted in a light beige and marked with paintings of flowers and vines by artist Salihah Moore.[3]

In a June 2011 interview with Kick/Snare/Hat, drummer Rickie Mazzotta stated that mewithoutYou were writing for their fifth studio album.[4] The band booked studio time at the end of July and through August. They also added Brandon Beaver of Buried Beds to play second guitar, as stated on their blog by Rickie Mazzotta.

On August 10, 2011, Chris Kleinberg and wife Nikki had a baby girl, Jubilee Kleinberg.[5] Because of this, the August 13 show in Philadelphia, PA was one of the first local shows where Kleinberg did not join the band on stage since his departure in 2007.

Later in August, Mazzotta stated in an interview that the band has parted ways with Tooth & Nail Records due to perceived restrictions placed on them by the label. They hinted at starting their own label as they prepared to release their fifth album.[6] Other band members, however, expressed satisfaction with and gratitude and affection toward their old label, citing different reasons for ceasing to work with them: namely, having completed their contract, the declining relevance of record labels in the current music world, and simply the excitement to try something new.[citation needed]

In February 2011, Alternative Press announced that the band's fifth album is due spring 2012, and will be produced by Daniel Smith. Thirteen songs were recorded in the studio sessions with eleven planned for the album plus one or two b-sides.[7] On March 1, 2012 the band announced that their new album, titled Ten Stories, was released on May 15, 2012.[8] One fan has reported that through conversation with Greg Jehanian and Mike Weiss, it was revealed that Hayley Williams of Paramore provides guest vocals on one new track, rumored to be "Fox's Dream of the Log Flume."[9] The album art, created by Vasily Kafanov, is to be revealed as a series of puzzle pieces through the band's Facebook page.[10]

On May 8, 2012 the band announced on their blog that a pre-release of Ten Stories could be streamed in its entirety on Spotify.[11]

Lyrical themes[edit]

The Weiss brothers are of Jewish descent and their songs use Jewish, Muslim and Christian imagery to explore spiritual themes. The Weiss brothers were raised in a Sufi Muslim household: their mother had converted from the Episcopal church, and their father from Judaism.[12] Due to the Christian imagery in some of Aaron Weiss' lyrics, they have been categorized as a Christian band, although in interview, A. Weiss has stated he doesn't think they are a Christian band.[12] Their lyrics reflect a personal relationship with God, and are not evangelistic. Other lyrical themes explored include suffering and self-doubt.

Many lyrics are taken from the Sufi poet Rumi including the song "The Cure for Pain" from [A→B] Life and a line in the song "Seven Sisters" from Catch for Us the Foxes.[13]

In the song "Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt" from their album [A→B] Life, Aaron Weiss' lyrics are based on a poem from the metaphysical poet John Donne called "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning". John Donne wrote the poem to his wife to explain that there is no need for dreading their physical separation or distance because their spiritual love will always keep them together. The lines of the song "thy firmness makes my circle just, and makes me end where I begun" are directly from John Donne's poem where the conceit is revealed as a compass (Stanza 9, ll. 35–36). The title of the song itself is a Kurt Vonnegut quote.

The title of their second album Catch for Us the Foxes is taken directly from Song of Songs 2:15: "Catch for us the foxes, / the little foxes / that ruin the vineyards, / our vineyards that are in bloom" (New International Version).[14] This passage is also used in the song "The Soviet": "Good God, please! Catch for us the foxes in the vineyard—the little foxes". See lyrical themes of Catch for Us the Foxes for the themes explored on the album.

The title of their third album, Brother, Sister, is thought to be derived from St. Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of the Sun".[15] However, in a 2007 interview[16] Aaron Weiss said the title of the album came from a verse in the Bhagavad Gita.[17]

Their fourth album, It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright explores many of the teachings of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. The Sufi teacher's story of "The Fox, the Crow, and the Cookie" from My Love You My Children: 101 Stories for Children[18] is told as well as his story about the "King Beetle" from The Divine Luminous Wisdom that Dispels Darkness.[19] Other concepts from the teacher are explored in "Allah, Allah, Allah," about seeing God in every blade of grass and in "Fig with a Bellyache" dealing with sexual temptation from The Divine Luminous Wisdom and The Golden Words of a Sufi Sheikh.[20] Guitarist Mike Weiss has been quoted as saying that the themes of the album reflect a time in vocalist Aaron Weiss' life where he is "sort of revisiting [religion] and holding himself up to those teachings that there's no one religion that's going to be the only way to God [...]," reveals Weiss. "If you really want to just try to follow a path to God, I don't believe you need anything beyond [Jesus Christ], but it's just the idea that you're fixed on the only way and that everybody else is just completely misguided [...] that is a sort of obtuse attitude that can hurt your own spirit."[21]

Members[edit]

Current[edit]

Mewithoutyou 2005
  • Aaron Weiss – Lead vocals, acoustic guitar, accordion, trumpet, keyboards, percussion
  • Michael Weiss – Guitar, keyboards, vocals
  • Rickie Mazzotta – drums
  • Greg Jehanian – Bass guitar, vocals
  • Brandon Beaver – Guitar[22]

Touring[edit]

  • Kris Klein – Guitar
  • Pete Syoum – Guitar
  • Stephen Smoker – Bass

Former[edit]

  • Christopher Kleinberg – Guitar
  • Daniel Pishock – Bass guitar, vocals, keyboards
  • Ray Taddeo – Guitar

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Timbre Cierpke – harp
  • Lauryn Peacock – piano
  • Matt Chapin – trumpet
  • Derek Paquette – trombone
  • Kim Tice – accordion
  • Scottie Kruger – vocals
  • Jay Beck – Percussion

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

EPs[edit]

Vinyl[edit]

Compilations[edit]

  • Songs from the Penalty Box: Tooth & Nail Volume 6, 2009 "Every Thought a Thought of You"
  • Come As You Are: A 20th Anniversary Tribute to Nirvana's Nevermind, 2011 "In Bloom" (Nirvana cover)

Videography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Google Books. Google Books. Retrieved February 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ US (February 23, 2010). "Please support our composer, Joshua Stamper. van mewithoutYou op Myspace". Myspace.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  3. ^ Synthesis Interview Jeremy Enigk and Aaron Weiss Catch Up as the World Waits, December 7, 2006
  4. ^ "Rickie Mazzotta of mewithoutYou". Kick/Snare/Hat. June 17, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ Announced at the 08-13-11 show in Philadelphia, around friends and family, after the naming ceremony held that day.
  6. ^ [1] mewithoutYou leaves Tooth & Nail
  7. ^ "In the Studio: mewithoutYou". Alternative Press. February 2, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  8. ^ "mewithoutYou announce new album, "Ten Stories"". Alternative Press. March 1, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Fans Report In: Hayley Williams Guests on New mewithoutYou". AbsolutePunk. March 9, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  10. ^ "TEN STORIES Puzzle Pieces and Prize". mewithoutYou.com. March 6, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  11. ^ dsq_thread_id:. "Ten Stories Streaming on Spotify". mewithoutYou. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Fink, Matt (2007). "Busted: mewithoutYou". BustedHalo.com. p. 1. Retrieved September 4, 2008. "
    • "So my dad was raised Jewish and became Sufi, but he still identifies himself as a Jew. My mom was raised Episcopalian and she converted thoroughly to Sufi Islam."
    • "It’s not like I’m offended if someone says we’re a Christian band. I just don’t think it’s true. I don’t think we live up to that calling, so I’d be reluctant to go saying that" 
  13. ^ "Rumi – Wikiquote". En.wikiquote.org. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Song of Songs 2:15, NIV". Biblegateway.com. Retrieved February 6, 2012. 
  15. ^ St. Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of the Sun" at prayerfoundation.org, "We praise You, Lord, […] especially for Brother Sun, […] We praise You, Lord, for Sister Moon and the stars".
  16. ^ "(question asked by audience member at 4:31)". Youtube. Retrieved March 2, 2012. 
  17. ^ Bhagavad Gita 11:19, "You are without beginning, middle, or end; you touch everything with your infinite power. The sun and moon are your eyes, and your mouth is fire; your radiance warms the cosmos."
  18. ^ "Children’s Stories : Sufi Books, Audio and Videos by M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen | Books on Sufism : Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship Online Bookstore". Bmfstore.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  19. ^ M R Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, The Divine Luminous Wisdom: That Dispels the Darkness
  20. ^ "Q&A With mewithoutYou". Magnetmagazine.com. May 1, 2009. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  21. ^ "REDEFINE magazine Interview With mewithoutYou, July 2009". Redefinemag.com. Retrieved February 6, 2012. 
  22. ^ US (November 30, 2012). "mewithoutYou announces on Twitter that Brandon Beaver officially joins band". Twitter.com. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  23. ^ Bryne Yancey (March 1, 2012). "mewithoutYou announce new album, "Ten Stories"". Retrieved March 2, 2012. 

External links[edit]