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The Weakerthans

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Weakerthansmontreal2003.jpg
John K. Samson, Montreal 2004

The Weakerthans are an indie rock band well known for their melodic and well-written post-punk songs. The band was formed in 1997 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

The Weakerthans were formed after Propagandhi member John K. Samson got the itch to perform and record again after taking a sabbatical to write and start a publishing company. This band took Samson's music in a completely different direction. Propagandhi had been known for powerful, speedy punk and overtly political lyrics, but the Weakerthans went down a more melodic and introspective path.

The band originally consisted of Samson, drummer Jason Tait and bassist John Sutton. They took their name from a line from the film adaptation of Marguerite Duras' The Lover: "Go ahead, I'm weaker than you can possibly imagine." Samson has also cited Ralph Chaplin's union hymn, "Solidarity Forever" -- which contains the line "what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one" -- as inspiration. Incidentially, Samson borrows this line in his song "Pamphleteer".

The band prided itself on its high standards, both as political beings (shying away from large label or distribution contracts because of their connection to exploitation) and in their personal lives (promoting vegetarianism). Their debut album, Fallow, which was issued in 1998 on a co-operative label, G7 Welcoming Committee Records, received critical praise. Their second full-length album, Left and Leaving, issued in early 2000, featured the addition of new guitarist Stephen Caroll. Watermark followed a year later. By 2003, the band had signed with Epitaph and issued Reconstruction Site.

Sutton, who played on all three of the band's albums, left the band in August 2004 and was replaced by Greg Smith.

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