When Dana Snell (Drums) and Laura Barrett (Bass) were driving home from a show listening to Weezer, they got to talking about how much fun it would be to put together an all girl Weezer cover band.
They hooked up with some friends who were all playing in different bands around the Toronto indie scene – Alysha Haugen (Lead guitar), Magali Meagher (Rhythm guitar) and Robin Hatch (Keys, guitar, harmonica) – and the band was born.
What to name such a band? Sheezer, of course.
We caught up with Dana for a quick chat – here is what she had to say.
First of all then, tell us how (and why) Sheezer started.
Sheezer started as a ‘what if’ and ‘wouldn’t that be fun.’ And then it was, and is.
Laura and I were driving home from a show listening to the Blue Album and thinking about how much fun it must be to play music that was so powerful and triumphant, so assured and catchy and creative. Then we thought about how fun it would be if it was an all girl band. Then we came up with the name Sheezer. I’m pretty excited that this idea has become a reality.
So how long did it take you to learn enough songs for a show?
I believe that in classic musician fashion we had the show booked before everything was finalized. But I guess it was a couple months with practices once a week.
How come you only play songs from the first two records?
Those are our favourites and in my opinion they stand alone as a specific phase of Weezer’s career. The long break before the Green Album, and the departure of Matt Sharp, make these early records kind of their own thing.
And do you stick strictly to that or have you ever sneaked in a cheeky verse of ‘Island in the Sun’ or ‘Hashpipe’ or something?
Just for jokes. Sometimes we make a dummy setlist to throw people off, which contains ‘Dope Nose’ and the like.
When you play do you try to keep the songs as close to the originals as you can or do you play them in your own style?
We try to keep them identical to the original but of course, things like way less powerful amps and less slick gear – and the fact that our voices are much higher – make them sound different despite our best efforts.
Most cover bands just play in pubs at the weekend, but you guys have been on bonafide tours, right?
Yeah, we’re pretty lucky that we get to do regular tours with respected original bands.
Is it strange touring as somebody else?
Sometimes, but so far everyone has gotten into the spirit of what we’re doing and it’s just been really fun.
Which show have you played that stands out the most for you?
I really enjoyed a lot of the Born Ruffians shows we played – getting out of Toronto and playing for total strangers, often young girls who were there to see the Ruffians, it was a bit intimidating but then we’d get out there and the response would be so warm and welcoming and we’d just all have a great time. Band and audience, singing along to the songs together. That and playing a lunchtime gig at Girls Rock Camp in Toronto, with 8 year olds dancing around.
Now then, Weezer are aware of you and have given you their approval – mentioning you several times on Twitter and their website. What was it like when you realised you were on their radar?
Super exciting. Once again Laura and I were on tour and I ran at full speed down a Chicago street to catch up with her and show her the text from Lysh. A really memorable moment.
It seems like it’s been a relentless wave of affection for you girls since you started, but it can’t have all been smiles and love. Have there been any haters and what is the unkindest thing someone has said to you?
Oh for sure. Some people just straight up say we’re bad. Never to our face, just on twitter and what not. They’re welcome to their opinion, not everyone has to like it. The only tough part is that we have to sing totally out of our range to hit the low notes, and sometimes I feel bad because people think we can’t sing…but we can! Come see our other bands and you will know. (Convenient links to all of these other bands are on Sheezer’s Facebook page.)
What are the chances of you ever making it over here to the U.K for a couple of shows?
Man I hope so! Who knows – costs money, y’know?
Now lets play a little game. You’re aware that you have probably the best name for an all female cover band ever, right? Well what other good names can you think of for female cover bands. I’m rubbish – the best I can come up with is Nirvanher (Nirvana) and The Bee Shees (The Bee Gees)!
A lot of these are stolen but they are my favourites:
Nine Inch Heels
Hirvana (sorry it’s better)
A Tribe Called Breast… and so on.
Finally then, this is the part where you get to say whatever you like (Weezer related or not) to our readers – go for it!
Weezer, we want to open for you!
Thank you, bye!
No, thank you.