Mike Kinsella, Evan Weiss, Matthew Frank; photo by Ryan Russell
Their / They’re / There is a band with a supposedly meaningless name and a muddled origin story. There’s only one way to get down to the bottom of this groovy mystery…
Smile Politely: Who is the band? How did you meet?
Evan Weiss: Myself, Matthew Frank, and Mike Kinsella are the band. The original origin story has a few different beginnings depending on who you ask. The way I recall it was me wanting to start a band with Matt… trying to do something where I could turn his gnarly guitar playing into catchy songs. Around that time, I had also played a show with Mike (as Into It. Over It. at the Ghost Town record release) and got into a conversation about him drumming. Which led to me suggesting if he would wanna play with us. That’s how I remember it. It started slowly, but casual… has always been the nature of the band.
SP: Where did the name come from? I’m sure people have messed it up plenty! Any stories there?
Weiss: It doesn’t mean anything. It was a play on words which I wanted, but it’s also nondescript. A name is just a name. Wish we could just get a number like we were waiting at the DMV or something. Is this the kinda thing that only people who play in bands with bad names say? I think it’s a fucking awesome name, yeah that that!
SP: How does the song writing process go?
Weiss: Matt will write a song to where he feels it’s complete. From there, him and I will get together to fine tune it. I’ll write my bass and some vocal melodies. Then Matt and I will record our idea and send it to Mike. He’ll have some time to think about it. Usually months later we’ll finally get in a rehearsal space and flesh everything out. It’s pretty slapdash, but that’s also what makes it fun. We are all competent players so none of us get too stressed if we’ll be prepared.
SP: What are your major inspirations, musically and personally? What about people you collaborate with?
Wiess: I can only speak for myself. Inspiration is such a personal thing. These days (and for the last few years) I’ve only truly drawn inspiration from my friends and those around me. I have been super fortunate to be around some truly excellent humans who are filled with motivation. It really brings out the best in me.
photo by Ryan Russell
SP: What drew you to music in the first place? What grabbed you?
Weiss: My fathers turntable when I was a child. I’ve just always been enamored by it. Playing in a band is all I had ever wanted to do since I was a kid.
SP: Any fun/weird/horrifying stories from the road?
Weiss: Been on tour for nearly 11 years. There are too many to name. Too many near deaths, amazing meals, historic monuments, wonders of the world, and questionable sleeping quarters. It’s the most fortunate lifestyle in the world. I can safely say that.
SP: Questionable sleeping quarters, eh? Can you expand on one?
Weiss: They all blend into one giant dirty couch. That being said -most of the people who I would stay with have beautiful homes. I have a steadfast network of like minded (and aged) professional friends all across the U.S. and Europe who should really visit me in Chicago more often and let me repay the favor of a comfortable place to stay.
SP: You’ve been all over, but what are some of your favorite venues?
Weiss: A lot of places to see shows in Philadelphia were extremely special to me because that is where I grew up, seeing nearly every show I had ever gone to. The First Unitarian Church is absolutely one of them. Great vibe. No rules. No distractions. Just an awesome place to see a band. As far as nationwide stuff, I love Schubas in Chicago and I love the Sinclair in Boston. Those two places really stick out to me as just being super excellent.
Check out Their / They’re / There at the ILLIAC Spring Festival in Downtown Urbana on Saturday afternoon. They’ll be performing with Those Darlins and plenty of locals.