Aural Fixation: The Year Of The Weedrat

Band Equals Social Justice, Cats

Maggie Grimason
3 min read
The Year of the Weedrat
Weedrat (L-R): Adrian Burke, Becki Jones and Greg Yazzie (Hotvlkuce Harjo)
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The last time I saw Weedrat at Launchpad, the front row swayed to the layered melodies and distorted guitar, singing along to the tender words of “I Remember You,” a song about commitment, about feeling complete, crooning, “You came into my life/ and it became clear to me/ that you’d always be by my side.” “That song is about Ginger,” says guitarist and singer Becki Jones, gesturing to the petite tortoiseshell cat sleeping on the couch next to her partner and Weedrat drummer, Greg Yazzie, “That’s my only love song, I think.” Adrian Burke, who rounds out the trio on bass, laughs.

Listeners shouldn’t expect many love songs from the band. “I’m influenced by my experience as a woman of color and for that reason being told, ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that,’ and proving that I can,” says Jones, who handles lyrics for Weedrat, “the songs are about social issues. We have a song about an abusive relationship (“Poison Meatballs”), and one about people telling me I shouldn’t be so sensitive about certain things because of my color, because I’m a woman (“Don’t Tell Me”). Standing up for myself and other people of color is important.” She pauses, then reiterates the sentiments of one of Weedrat’s songs, “Don’t tell me how to feel.”

“I want to keep writing songs about social issues,” Jones adds. Yazzie echoes those thoughts saying, “A lot of our politics are reflected in our lyrics, we all agree on those.” The band has played a number of benefit shows, including the recent Honor Our Water event at UNM. They hope to continue to use their public platform to address timely issues. “The way the EPA responded after the Animas spill was upsetting. When stuff like that happens, it shouldn’t be ignored,” declares Burke.

The three met at Window Rock High School in the Navajo Nation. That circumstance informed their creative process and unifies their sound. “We’ve played music together for a long time,” asserts Burke, “we’re already clicked in with each other.” Jones and Yazzie first collaborated on Midnight Stew, an alt-country project. When Burke joined them on bass, the band evolved and became Weedrat. “This was the next incarnation … it kind of shaped itself,” imparts Yazzie. “Playing bass was new to me at the time,” Burke adds, “drums were a new instrument for Greg and Becki had just started playing guitar.” Since then, the trio has recorded their first full length album,
The Rat Cometh, and an EP too.

Weedrat is writing new music and hopes to get back in the studio before year’s end. Wide-ranging musical influences inform their sound, keeping them engaged and inspired. When I ask what’s currently in their personal listening rotation, Jones mentions G.L.O.S.S., The Growlers and Screaming Females. Yazzie talks post-punk. There’s a long silence before Burke adds, “For me it always comes back to Jawbreaker.”

“I think it’s our responsibility … it’s important to address real issues,” says Jones, “These songs are really fun to play, too.” It’s Weedrat’s ability to address heady social and environmental justice topics through addictive hooks and their own bright brand of punk that makes these issues accessible. Chime in at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) on Saturday, Dec. 19, when Weedrat performs with Slow Jeremiah, Hydrant and Marma.
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