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An Interview With Bennett Weaver

Bennett playing with Killakee Kat at their first show last month

I'm going to be up front with you all here. I've known Bennett Weaver for about five years now. He is one of the friendliest, most talented guys I know. So yeah, this is going to be a little biased. But if I don't write about him now, somebody's going to beat me to it!

We share an appreciation for lots of different bands. I convinced him to join my terrible hardcore band Bad Mouth two years ago before he was disappeared to boarding school. Bennett returned earlier this year and he's back with some crazy stories and more music than any other 18 year-old I know. His stylings range from acoustic singer-songwriter tunes to scuzzy garage rock numbers. His new band Killakee Kat is recording their first EP as a group soon and playing shows all over Kansas City. Below is my very formal conversation with the boy himself.

What was your childhood like?
Pretty normal. I played soccer and video games and drank Capri Sun, all the normal stuff a kid probably does growing up in Overland Park. I liked watching a lot of movies as a kid. I guess I still do, maybe even more now.

What was your first real introduction to music?
My dad gave me two CDs when I was about 9 or 10. "Dookie" by Green Day and "Back In Black" by AC/DC. I didn't start going to punk shows though until a couple of years ago and that totally was another side of music that I never even imagined.

First songs you wrote?
First song I ever wrote and recorded was called "Turn Around" and I wrote it when I was 11.

Now tell me every single thing about Against The Generation.
[Laughs] Oh, Jesus. So, Against the Generation was this band I started with a couple of my friends around 8th grade. It was like a shitty indie pop Darwin Deez rip-off type bullshit band. We played at the fucking Refuge and shit. It was cool at first, just playing music with some new dudes, but the guys I played with were all kind of fratty dudes and I really never talked to them outside of playing music with them. The only guy I was fairly close with was our keyboard player, but his mom is a fucking sociopath. She was super controlling and would butt into our practices and try and tell us what to do and what to play. It was fucked. I eventually ended up quitting that band fairly soon after she told my mom I had weed at one of our shows.  Three of the guys actually just played their last show together under a different name.

What was boarding school like and what did you do/record while you were there?
Boarding school was fucked. It was in the middle of fucking nowhere New Hampshire. I went there because I got kicked out of the school I was going to here. It's a "therapeutic" boarding school which meant that we were all a bunch of fucked-up kids who were stuck there and we had to take a bunch of shit from the staff and our counsellors all the time. No cell phones, outside food, smoking, caffeine except for coffee in the morning, sexual relationships. You just sat around all day and talked to your therapists or you bitched to your friends about how much the place sucked. The staff and kids there were fucking crazy too. There was this one staff member who tried to convert kids to Christianity and bring them to church and shit all the time. He accused a staff member of raping a student and shit. A kid tried to poison him! He got fired eventually which was pretty awesome but there were a whole bunch of fucking weirdos there. I made some amazing friends though and that was pretty much how you got through that place, all the kids there become your family and you have to look out for each other. The first three Killakee Kat EPs were recorded in the basement of one the dorm houses and I just recorded them by myself. I also made an album with a couple of my friends called "Destroying Angels" and it's just a bunch of funny acoustic songs about doing drugs.
I also released three solo LPs of all the demos I made at school.

Any future plans for Hojo The Dragon Records?
Anything I make or am associated with will go on Hojo. It's just a page that has all of my music on it no matter what genre. There will hopefully be a release on Hojo by my friend Michael who lives in Boston hopefully soon. A new solo project EP is being made right now called Wilding, an unnamed band I'm starting with Jack is going to start writing and recording for an EP, and also just some good ol' Bennett Weaver acoustic songs are always being made and recorded. Hopefully there will be some physical copies of some of this shit next year too.

What was it like turning Killakee Kat into a full band?
Crazy! Killakee Kat was just a thing I did while I was bored at school and was sick of playing acoustic guitar. I made a bunch of KK songs and showed them to Jack. When I got home, Jack, Joe, and I were just jamming and started playing an old KK song. I brought up the idea of just going under the name that the songs were already associated with and it kind of just went from there. Having a band to play these songs with is absolutely mind-blowing to me. I'm super glad that KK worked out.

What is it like living with the legendary Jack Marsh?
When I was planning on getting a place after I moved back to KC, there wasn't a doubt in my mind about living with Jack. There's a war right now over trying to get Jack to do his dishes, but other than that it's been pretty cool. Jack was the first one to have sex in our new place!

Do you guys have any favorite house activities?
In house activities include a lot of smoking weed, shotgunning beer, playing with our kitten, and watching A LOT of movies. Usually if I'm at home I'm going to be watching a movie, probably an Italian mob movie. I've watched Goodfellas almost 50 times in the month we've lived at our house. We're trying to get through The Sopranos right now but we need seasons three and six.

What kind of direction is your solo music heading in? Another full band?
My solo stuff will always be going in different directions because I like to make a lot of side projects with different feels to them, but anything under my name will be acoustic stuff. I'm making some garage-rocky stuff, some dreamier sounding stuff, and some new raw hardcore shit. Hopefully I can get another full band together at some point. I'd love to front just a classic sounding hardcore band. That'd be tight.

What is it like having the most beautiful curly, brown hair on this side of the Kansas River?
The Bob Dylan comparisons are getting old people. Come on, get more original!

Listen to releases from Killakee Kat, Bennett solo, and some of his friends here:

See all of the photos from their first show here:

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