The Weakerthans Sign with Epitaph Records

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After releasing two critically-acclaimed albums with Winnipeg’s G7 Welcoming Committee, local punk poets The Weakerthans have signed with one of the industry’s oldest and most successful punk/indie record labels. Founded in 1981 by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz, Los Angeles-based Epitaph Records has released albums by a number of well-known artists such as The Hives, NOFX, Offspring and Rancid. The new deal increases opportunities for The Weakerthans to promote their work to a broader audience.

Vocalist/lyricist John K. Samson isn’t quite sure what all the fuss is about, though, noting that the move to Epitaph will not make a drastic change to the way The Weakerthans operate. They have already received rave reviews - particularly for their second recording Left and Leaving - a Juno nomination, and three Prairie Music Awards (for best independent recording, best rock video, best album design in 2000). While the move to Epitaph will make the Winnipeg band even more internationally visible, Samson seems puzzled with the all the attention to the new deal.

“I feel a little strange about some of the questions I've been getting this week, which lead me to believe that people see labels in an oddly paternalistic way, that a band is owned by a label, bought and sold like a used car,” explains Samson of the recent flurry of excitement around the Epitaph news. “In my view musicians should be seen as collaborators with labels. We will still work closely with G-7 and Sub-City to promote the work we have done with them, while working on a new relationship with Epitaph. So I guess I'm surprised that people think it is a huge deal.”

Guitarist Stephen Carroll seems a bit more excited about working with the Los Angeles-based label, joking “Have you been outside? Don't you want to be on a LA based label - palm trees, tank tops, driving with the top down all year round?!”

The recording process for their third album should finish up in the next few weeks. Produced by Ian Blurton – who produced Left and Leaving - in Toronto, it is slated for release in August or September, 2003.

Find out more about The Weakerthans at www.theweakerthans.org. For more information about Epitaph, please visit www.epitaph.com

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