Interview: Spencer Tweedy of The Blisters


Chicago’s The Blisters are rolling through Ottawa on their way to the River & Sky Music/Camping Festival which is taking place about 4 1/2 hours north-west of Ottawa passed North Bay.

The Blisters play River & Sky Saturday at 4 pm, a couple hours after Ottawa’s very own New Swears, and the same day as PUP, Heat and The Lonely Parade. Before that we are lucky enough to have The Blisters in Ottawa at Pressed this Friday, July 21 along with Toronto’s Giant Hand (info here).

In anticipation of the show we had a chat with The Blisters’ drummer Spencer Tweedy (yes, he is the son of Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy) about the band, touring, and the new album.


What are the main inspirations for The Blisters as a band, musically or otherwise?

We started in 2002 when we were all seven years old. The main inspiration for the band was just that we all wanted to be in a band… We played and we thought it would be cool. I (Spencer) actually started with another friend of ours, who’s not in the band anymore, but Hayden and Henry joined shortly afterward. Tory joined during high school, and we’ve had that same line-up ever since. It feels pretty cool to have been a band together for so long.


For people who haven’t seen you live before, what is a Blisters show like?

We play some loud songs and we play some quieter songs. We don’t typically have moshing or anything like that, but it’s fun when it happens. Typically we see a lot of gentle head bobbing.


You guys are playing River and Sky Festival this weekend. Was this something you guys applied for or did they come looking for you?

Our friend Brett approached us with the offer. I told him that we’d love to play, but that we’d probably need to set some other shows up in Canada to make it feasible. He very kindly helped us do that, too.


How does it feel to be touring in Canada right now? Any highlights so far?

We’re only just arriving in Canada, but I’ve been here before and I love it. We’re all from Chicago and we love that city but Toronto feels like the closest thing to it outside of it. I think we all have the feeling that Canada is a kinder, cleaner America.


You are touring a new album, are there any cool stories or anecdotes from the recording or about the songs you can share?

We made Cured at our friends Liam and Sima Cunningham’s studio, with Dorian Gehring. We made it in about a week and it’s a pretty straightforward record. Henry wrote some of his most badass, roots rock material for it. We always experiment when we’re recording but this one ended up pretty straightforward.


Many people could guess what lead you to music, but what lead you to the drums in particular?

I don’t know what led me to drums. The first time I played was when I was two years old and someone plopped me on a kit in the basement of my mom’s bar, Lounge Ax. After that my parents bought me some sets over the years, and I kept on learning. I’ve played guitar for roughly as long, too, but at some point drums became my main thing. I like the James Brown story/myth about him telling his band that they’re all drummers—guitarists, bassists, etc., all drummers. I’m not a “drums supremacist” but I think that’s a helpful way for everyone to look at music.