Listen to Chris Gethard cover Weston (and joke about why he shouldn’t cover Weston)
Christian Lesperance is in the midst of rolling out his Jersey Interchange project, where musicians from NJ's long-running punk scene do covers of (mostly) other NJ bands, and participants include members of Catch 22, Midtown, Folly, Ensign, The Scandals, Wisdom In Chains, Tokyo Rose, Bigwig, Bedlight for Blue Eyes, Houston Calls, and more. We recently posted Mikey Erg doing Atom and His Package's "Punk Rock Academy" with Paulson's Alex Burton, and today we're premiering comedian and punk lover Chris Gethard's cover of Weston's "Just Like Kurt."
The song begins with a comedy skit where Chris-as-Jersey-bro tries to convince regular Chris Gethard to do a cover for the series. "I can't sing a song, what are you talking about? I'm not a singer," says regular Chris. "Bro, it's '90s pop punk covers. You ever hear those bands? None of them could sing," says Jersey bro Chris, who then tells him to cover "Just Like Kurt" by Weston and pleads, "do it for Jersey!" "Weston's from Pennsylvania," regular Chris replies. Well, as you may have guessed, he did it, and as Jersey bro Chris says at the end, "that was sorta okay, your voice only cracked seven or eight or maybe nine times."
Christian Lesperance (who played guitar and handled drum programming on the track) talks about how it all came together:
I originally asked Chris to come up with a comedy skit to complement another song in the Jersey Interchange collection, but he politely sidestepped my request and asked if he could instead sing “Just Like Kurt” by Weston. That totally caught me off guard, but was an intriguing ask from an experienced performer, albeit one who I had never heard sing a lick in my life. Joe (Pulito) and I got a quick arrangement recorded for the song, and sent it over to Chris to put his vocals on.
About four days later, Chris sent me back his track and I pressed play, not knowing what to expect. I immediately began to laugh as the opening bit put me into a space with an unconfident Gethard and his cocky Jersey Boy alter-ego (who may or may not be from Bayonne). Cue the challenge to sing a song written by a Pennsylvania band for the honor of Jersey and a well-placed shade throw at the disgraced singer of Screeching Weasel, and away we go into the unknown! When I heard Chris start to sing, I was floored! Gethard’s voice sounded really punk, even with the purposeful comedic inflections, which may say more about modern punk rock than the actual song itself. This song is just another reason why Chris Gethard makes all the Taylor Ham eaters of the world (including myself) extremely proud.
And Chris talks about why he chose Weston:
Weston meant everything to a whole bunch of us Jersey kids. I saw 'em so many times. I remember a great show in Boonton, and another in Wayne where my friend pooped his pants halfway through their set. He had the dreaded "I am at a urinal and thought it was just a fart" scenario. Anyway, on to the important stuff: First of all, those first two albums made a lot of shy, nerdy, angry kids in the northeast feel seen and heard. Secondly, as they rose above local status out of Pennsylvania, and then as we embraced them as our own in Jersey, and as you saw them grow and play bigger shows, it was this proof for all of us that this shit was worth trying. Worth fighting for. I mean, they were named Weston because the band member whose garage they practiced in was named Weston, and we watched them go from that to VFW halls to Maxwell's to touring nationally, and it seemed for a minute like the sky was the limit - and they were just a bunch of goons like us. Thirdly, as a comedian... there was no band with better between song banter. None. They played in their underwear with a straight face and had great jokes in between the songs. I think of those shows often. For a lot of kids who discovered punk they saw bands and said, "Man, if they can play music I can too," and they started their own bands. For me, Weston was a band I saw that made me say, "I wonder if being funny is a thing I can do." So they were like my Ramones in a way and I was like the Clash in the analogy, you could say, except they were pop punk dorks from Pennsylvania and I went on to tell jokes on HBO about how I used to ejaculate water. I could go on and on. They just meant a lot. To me, and my friends, and Jersey in general.
Break Away's Joe Pulito, who played bass on the track, adds, "Honestly, I was never really a huge Weston fan, but their influence on this scene, particularly in the tri-state area, was undeniable. I am stoked to be included in this really fun project, especially on a track with the illustrious Chris Gethard."