VIDEO PREMIERE: EVAN WEISS “STILL RIPPING”
Evan Weiss is something of a musician’s musician—a lifer, you might say. He started with Wires on Fire and detoured into the very different yet still somehow recognizably connected outfits Slang Chickens and Junk between sideman gigs with Girls and the mighty Sparks, which is an achievement all its own. Now he’s ready to put out his first album as simply Evan Weiss—the solo debut, another milestone in a guitar slinger’s life—and here’s the first single.
“Still Ripping” is a signal shot into the sky from the intersection of melancholy, ennui, irony and the kind of honest self-deprecation that eventually gives you enough solid ground to make a change—all prime psychic real estate. Even without the visuals, the message would still come through, underscored by Weiss’ down-but-not-quite-out vocals and a backline that’s about as fundamental as a rock ‘n’ roll backline gets. Nothing fancy here because it wouldn’t fit the song—”Still Ripping” is less about showing off and more about facing up to things, and about realizing that still ripping is kinda staring to hurt. That gives us Weiss in the video as a guy who’s been around the block so many times that he can’t find his way out of his own apartment, and who has so many vivid memories crammed into his waking life that he barely made space for furniture more permanent than a card table and TV set.
It’s the complete picture of disillusion as Weiss—digitally aged for dramatic purposes a la The Irishman and decked out in hangover couture a la the cover of Nilsson Schmilsson—painfully contemplates how the old world was so different from the new over a nice soggy bowl of off-brand Froot Loops. Naturally, this fits the current moment far too well. Although he wrote it about the universal experience of growing older but not feeling wiser, “Ripping” nicely literalizes the unraveling effects of being stuck in the same place for far too long: ” … hide from the outside / in my lonesome downtime,” per one uncomfortably relevant line. And it also nicely literalizes the actual title with an aggressively rippin’ guitar break at barely one minute, delivered with the same searing blast of heat and light that hits as you finally strip the taped-up tin-foil from your windows. Says Weiss:
“While I didn’t plan on releasing this during a global lock-down, isolation is one of the themes so it seems kind of fitting. It’s a song about taking stock of the good and the bad, and shedding negative [and] destructive thoughts and behavior. Moving on—easier said than done, right!? I’m feeling like the silver lining to this quarantine is having unprecedented space for self reflection. I know the kind of life I want to live on the other side. I can’t wait to play shows again. I can’t wait to give hugs. I’ll stop being earnest now… I think the guitar solo rips, so fucking turn it up!”
The video—which is more of a video short, and which takes the spirit of both Spinal Tap and that scene in Boogie Nights where they’re stumbling through the power ballad from Transformers: The Movie to make something funnier for all its bleakness—was directed by the Giraffe sisters Nicky and Juliana, who showed up on L.A. RECORD a bit back with this similarly charismatic video for SadGirl. You can get “Still Ripping” at the usual digital places—here, for instance. Full credits below!
Evan Weiss – Still Ripping OUT NOW…
Produced by Giraffe Studios Emporium, Los Angeles
Directed by Juliana & Nicky Giraffe
Second Unit Director Eli Pearl
Produced and recorded by Sam KS at Gardner Studios
Mixed by Cian Riordan at Casita Recording
Mastered by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Services
STARRING (In order of appearance)