Interview with Singer Songwriter Dave Weakley (Roughhouse (Teeze), American Sugar Bitch)

By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Dave! Welcome back to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it’s a pleasure to be able to speak with you again.
Dave Weakley: I greatly appreciate you having me back! 

CV: Dave, there are so many artists today talking about how releasing full albums are not worth the time, effort or the financial payback. Yet you decided to go the album route with your debut solo release, "Weakley." Do you share this concern regarding album relevancy in the modern music world? Are albums a thing of the past like many believe?
DW: Single songs are available for this album. People can sample each song and pick the ones they like. I am not a big fan of that but it’s how it is now. An album for me is a project. Not only to make but to listen to. Choosing songs based on a 30 second preview lends itself to missing something wonderful if the song doesn’t grab you in those 30 seconds and you decide not to choose it.

CV: Back in the day, buying an album was a sight and sound stimulation…it was more than just music. Have younger music fans missed out on the significance and experience of what the "album" represented to both the artist and listener?
DW: Absolutely- the concept of an entire album is fading away but artists still keep cranking them out. The artists get it. Take Aerosmith for example- Suppose you only heard the hits?  You wouldn’t know how they got to the hit song or have heard all of the other awesome stuff they wrote!  A song can be iconic and still not be a hit. I think younger fans are smart though. I know many that get it and still buy entire albums. I certainly am not in the young demographic but for the record - I buy Albums.

CV: With everything now practically available at the click of a button, do you think physical album sales have declined partly because in today’s world not much is left to the listener’s imagination? Whereas, back in the day, the physical album helped better build an artist’s mystique with fans?
DW: Physical Albums were and are a combined work of art. I feel
fortunate enough to have made some while they still mass manufactured them. Then the CD and now …well now a photo. Take “The Wall” or “Diamond Dogs” – You could look at those all night. Now you can check them out online. It’s changed and we have to accept it. How about” Thick as a Brick,” “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”? I do miss that stuff. The graphics and a sneak peak at the band before you saw them when they came around.  The plus side is that you can click clack your phone and boom its there! It’s at home, it’s on vacation, it’s in every room in your house. C’mon man - that is just awesome…Some good, some bad.

CV: Unfortunately, it's no secret that modern physical album numbers don't rival its former sales volumes and figures as digital sales continue to dominate. Do you see the album ever making a comeback as both a cultural and marketable entity?
DW: It actually has made a small comeback. There are still Record stores out there and artists are making them as special editions. Hopefully it will always be around. I still play records. I love records and everything about them. Culturally you never know what’s going to happen.

CV: Dave, how did the experience of making this solo record differ for you in comparison it on to recording an album as part of a band?
DW: Good and bad points to doing it all yourself. I did everything myself. What I couldn’t play –I had to learn and play it good enough to record it. I did l learn a lot and spent many nights failing. Failing though is part of the process. I had complete freedom to do what I felt. It was like painting a picture or building a house…Anyway I chose. I do enjoy collaborating, but this was wonderful.

CV: Was this solo effort a lifetime in the making for you? Was a solo album always a goal?
DW: No it wasn’t always a goal. I have thought about it in the past because I write many songs and only certain ones are picked by the band(s). I thought…what is going to become of the songs I wrote, am I going to be the only one listening to them? So about two years ago I decided I was going to put out the songs that the band doesn’t choose. Then I just said, “I’ll put them all out”. The band can still do them anyway if they pick them. I just write songs and if only one person enjoys them then it’s worth it all.

CV: "Weakley" has an eclectic sound and style to it;to me, reminisce of Bowie, Elton John and early British New Wave…a bit of a departure from what fans of Roughhouse (Teeze) and American Sugar Bitch may be more familiar with. Do you consider this solo effort to be more in line to your musical aspirations…as an authentic way for you to express your deeper musical tastes and possibly preferred creative outlet avenues?
DW: I have always done it this way. My songs have never changed. It would be the bands adding their parts here and there to make them their own. Writing and bringing the song to a band requires the ability to let it go. Let it go to different beats, speeds, leads, harmonies etc…they all come into play. Even a change in melody if it makes it better… I would give it all away in an effort to better the song for the band. The core group I write with in ASB are just perfect for me. I am very lucky.

This Album is my vision for these songs. I am using outside players for the next one but I still won’t have it in the band environment. I still want control of where the song is going. I like fearless and interesting songs that have heart and emotion. I am heavily influenced by Bowie, old Genesis, etc. Then comes my Neil Young factor meaning- I lay the lyrics out their without regard to putting my soul on display.

CV: Are you concerned that fans will consider the solo material more of a departure than they would like?
DW: Nope. I think they know where I come from and that I have always written like this. They just heard my songs different ways. Look at Queen’s “Bicycle” vs “Death On Two Legs” – It’s still Queen but holy cow what a contrast. 

I’ve written some aggressive songs and I am sure I’ll write more of them. I don’t concentrate on a genre or specific style. The song takes me where it needs to go. Either in your face or scratching your head- It’s up to the song really and how I am hearing it. So I have quite a bit into this group of songs. Most of them are personal and what I find to be interesting to listen to. I have not been able to put it up against any other artist and make a comparison at this time but I am truly flattered by your Bowie comment.

Max Norman once told me that I should be a country and western writer. He said everything I write has a country and western feeling to it. So yeah- it’s all over the place. 

CV: Some artists do solo albums as an opportunity to stretch their legs, prove a point, to try different things musically or even gain peer recognition. Did you find any of these your reasons for doing the solo record?
DW: I just love songwriting. I have been recording with the band but started recording on my own 8 years ago. Having the technology to record your ideas whenever you want wasn’t a luxury back in the old days. Having this ability has opened up the floodgates and changed life. It has made songwriting for me and I am sure everyone just wonderful.

CV: Today it seems everything needs to be validated and qualified for people to give not only their support but their attention. Does an artist need a reason to pursue a solo endeavor outside of just wanting to make music?
DW: I did it because I have so many songs that are sitting around and not being listened to simply because I never let them out. I didn’t have a specific reason. It certainly isn’t for the money or for someone or something to validate or qualify my music.  I’ve already validated it and qualified it. Haha.

I did it simply because I want to share my art. You have a culture that follows a test marketed song and you have a culture that walks to the beat of its own drum.  To me - test marketing a song and deciding its fate means the song is in the wrong hands.  Do I want it to sell? Do I want people to like it? Of course! But I’m not going away and the label isn’t going to kick me off if I don’t do well on the first record.

CV: Dave, what do you hope fans will get out of the album...what do you want them to come away with after hearing it?
DW: Great question!
I would hope that people enjoy listening to it and relate to the songs. The songs as I said are personal and I would think that “my personal” isn’t that far off from other peoples “personal”. I didn’t look to compare or follow trends or anything. I would really hope that people would come away thinking “Man…that was real”… Only because it is.

CV: Are you planning to support the album's release with a series of live dates in the coming months?
DW: I am not entirely sure of that at this point. That’s still up in the air. I have had offers from musician friends eager to do this live. I haven’t made that commitment yet though. It would be fun for sure.

CV: What's next for you?
DW: I’m still very busy with ASB. I think we have shows in Aug, Sept, Oct and Nov. We have a great time playing and writing together. Teeze-Roughhouse has a show on Oct 5th right in Sellersville at the Forrest Lodge that should be a great time. So I’m still performing live and writing just as much as before. I hope to get another ASB record off the ground and at the same time another solo record.  ASB is a slower process so maybe the second solo will be out before it - who knows? This next solo record I will be adding additional musicians. It should be a blast! I am in a good place musically and mentally now. I get to do my own thing and I also get to collaborate.

CV: Thank you again Dave for spending some time again talking and sharing with our readers. I wish you all the best with the new album and continued success.
DW: Thank you for having me! You ask great questions!

Check out Dave at:
Weakley Music:
American Sugar Bitch Facebook: 
Roughhouse (Teeze):

"WEAKLEY" Album Review

More than just musical tastes, this album represents songwriting influences. A rock album in the most traditional sense - not hard and heavy - as is the norm today - but that of solid arrangements, deceptively catchy hooks and a nostalgic presence that reminds us where it all came from...The Beatles, The Kinks, Bowie, Kiss, The Sweet...these artists pushed the boundaries and laid the foundations of modern Rock. They gave the green light to artist experimentation and going with "that song that's in your head" approach.

"Weakley" does just that - rolling it all together in a modern interpretation of style, grace and authenticity, which proves to be a welcomed changed of pace.  Songwriting is an expressive art form and "Weakley" has expressed it well. 

Several highlights on this, in my opinion, very British, New Wave sounding debut solo album include:

"Amazing"; a Bowie Beatles piano laced meets the Boomtown Rats song.

"Kissed By A Ghost"; a soulful ditty that provokes thoughts of what Peter Criss should have included on his '78 solo endeavor.

"Taller Than the Trees"; think of...if The Kinks and The Sweet joined forces... the vocal harmonies alone had me sold.

"Little Reds"; this Bowie-esqued guitar ballad stands as my favorite track on the's deep.

"King of the World"; An early Kiss Dave Clark Five sounding tune...a lot of appeal.

"Weakley" makes no bones as to his songwriting influences, he wears them on his sleeve proudly, but offers just enough originality to call them his very own.  Quality is measured by the inclusion of several pertinent ingredients and all good songwriters are a mixture of those who influenced and inspired them. "Weakley" has the ingredients and with those ingredients  has concocted one eclectic mixture of savory tunes worthy of a second helping. 

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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