Interview with Weerd Science
Being a handful of dates into this summer’s Warped Tour, I thought today was the perfect time to both preview an incredible act that is on the tour and spotlight someone who you should definitely take the time to listen to while you’re out at your date. Lucky for you, you’ll have the chance to see Josh Eppard perform live twice a day with Terrible Things and as Weerd Science but for him, this is where his passion really thrives.
Through out Josh’s whole life, he has always been doing hip hop and recording music but it really started becoming something big while with Coheed and Cambria as their drummer when he released his first record as Weerd Science and this year dropping his second really six years later. During that time, he suffered from a major drug addiction which he opened up to us about quite a lot in this exclusive interview. Now sober, Josh has been killing it in both projects and hopefully we will be lucky enough to get the chance to meet up with him again this summer. Read on for the exclusive!
Artist: Weerd Science
Title: Sick Kids
Release date: 05/17/11
Label: Horris Records
Buy at: Amazon
You have the new record coming out for you and you’re going to be touring on it going to Europe and playing all of the Warped Tour. What are you most looking forward to this summer?
I’m just so excited about that and of course you know doing the whole Warped Tour with Weerd Science and just the whole playing live because in general we just love it. You know we opened up for Snoop Dogg on Sunday at Johnson and Wales college. Just the whole thing is so exciting. I’ve always wanted this Colleen. I’ve always wanted to do this and I gave it everything I had. Even back when the first record came out, it was hard to dedicate any time to touring because my back up MC was the merch guy for Coheed. My DJ at the time, Waitus, was the keyboard player of Coheed so here’s Coheed touring nine, ten months out of the year and we still did it. We would record for three weeks and tour for two of them which took a lot of guts. No girlfriends and wives were happy about that but now we have the time to really pour it all in and give it one hundred percent. It kind of feels like that’s the energy that we’ve adopted through it. I mean we are going harder then ever. Every day we’re just getting so much done and as cliché as it is, the people around me, the people in my crew are all my brothers that I’ve hung with since I was six years old. Some of these guys that do this with me like my back up MC, he’s been my best friend since I was six years old and we just collectively have always wanted this. We all are so excited and specifically I’m just much happier. It’s always what I’ve wanted.
Perfect and then it’s obviously something a little bit different then what you’re doing with Terrible Things and Fred. How did Weerd Science originally come about being so different from your other band? I know it started while you were still in Coheed and Cambria.
Oh where it started? Oh yeah, yeah okay. Well Weerd Science started when I was thirteen. You know just growing up in New York, not in the city, but in a small area where everybody rhymes. I wasn’t even weird for doing it. It was shocking for me when I got out in the world, you know when you walked up with your glasses on and you’re like this chunky nerdy white kid. Like ’Hey Man can I kick something?’ and the people were like ’Woah this kid is weird’ because it was just everyday life. I mean we would write rhymes all the time and I had many name changes but that’s really when it started. When did it become a real thing? When Coheed and Cambria’s first record label Equal Vision heard the Weerd Science demos, that’s with the first record that we put out in ’05 with Equal Vision. What it was was basically a series of demos. When they were interested in putting it out, I was really flattered and really excited and I knew that there would be some harsh criticism. For some reason, people can’t handle that you’re not supposed to be a drummer in a prog-rock band and there’s no way that you can want to do this. People were just acting like that was the craziest shit that they had ever heard but that’s when it became real. In 2003, I had about forty to fifty songs recorded and we would just sell them just on CD-R’s and people really liked it and I was like wow man what a contrast to do rock and roll and it’s so creatively fulfilling because you can do the most out there shit. I mean I love rock and roll music too. I mean hip hop is my favorite kind of music, just me personally, that’s my favorite kind of music but I’m a total metal kid too. Fucking Iron Maiden, all that shit but being like a rock kid and making rock records and being on major labels from when I was seventeen to indie labels, rock and roll for me had a lot of boundaries and a lot of rules. To me, hip hop just it was free and then it’s why I always did it but to answer your question with out going off on a whole thing here, it got real when Equal Vision said “Hey we want to put this out”. “We think it’s fucking amazing. We want to put it out” and I was like “Woah” and I had never really thought about it in those terms. It was just something I did and yeah being signed I had always dreamed. “Like oh my god man we’re going to put this out!” I had made a record called ’New Born’ for a little label and then the label went under and it never came out but that was my first hip hop record and that was when I was twenty. My first real thing that I did, because I have some hip hop songs from when I was thirteen to fourteen, fifteen that are just hilarious and pretty terrible, but that’s when it got real and I think it was clear to anybody that knew me creatively or personally that nothing was ever going to take the place. I mean I’m a grown drummer and I love playing the drums. I love it a lot but nothing could ever take the place of Weerd Science to me. I mean I want people to know me as an MC first. That’s just always what I’ve wanted and when it did become real, it was exciting and it all ties in to why I’m so excited with the new record. I mean it’s so important to me. Nothing in my life is more important to me then putting out Weerd Science records.
That’s so good and then it has been almost six years since the first release. Maybe how do you think you’ve truly grown as a person since that first record?
How did I grow as a person?
Yeah I know you’ve had some rough times in the past.
Yeah well that’s why I’m so happy this shit is coming out. I mean honest to god I did not expect to be alive. If I was a little bit more brave, I wouldn’t be alive. Just ended it and to say depressed is a little bit of an understatement. I was an addict and going through what a lot of people are going through right now. I mean drugs are everywhere. I mean literally it’s fucking amazing to me. You got the meth in California and there’s meth in New York too but you got like high school kids shooting dope and I mean America in a way it’s crumbling and just the drug culture is bigger then ever. I’m not talking going down the street and smoking blunts like my whole crew does. Just the kids that are throwing their lives away with drugs and that’s sort of what I did. I was in a famous rock band and what a lame, and Claudio said this in a interview where we hadn’t spoken in years and I was like god he’s so right, rock and roll cliché but I think that maybe had something to do with it but what a person. I think there’s a tremendous growth when you get back to doing you and when I say get back to being you, I mean when I got back to being Josh Eppard again and everyone has things to make them special but things that made me special were gone for years. So when I got back to being myself, I’m proud of myself for the first time in years. It was so dark and so bad. I mean I was shooting literally a thousand dollars. Maybe one day eight hundred dollars, maybe a slow day six hundred dollars but maybe on a bad or good day depending on how you look at it maybe twelve hundred dollars worth of dope in my arm every day and I just didn’t think I’d live. I didn’t even expect to live. I didn’t want to live so to get to a place where like I enjoy life and I have family and the people that I love around me there’s tremendous growth. I mean I couldn’t even put it into one or two sentences. I’ve just come really far and for the first time in a long time I’ve gotten some things to be proud of. That’s important, you know! As a human being, I wasn’t proud of myself for years. I was mad at myself. I let down my best friends, the guys in Coheed, and I fucking hated myself for it. I literally hated myself for years and I joked what a long road. I think back that I never thought I’d be a guy that got to say that I was done with drugs. I mean even when I was six or seven months sober I still was Junkie Josh and to put that behind me, that with in itself, is a tremendous step and tremendous growth process so there’s just been so much personal kind of evaluation and growth that it’s hard to put into one answer but you know just the fact that I’m me again because a lot of junkies come back and they’re not themselves anymore. They’re like these deviled out versions of themselves and that always scared the shit out of me. I remember sitting there still deeply immersed in the addiction with heroin and everything. I mean I did coke just because it was around and I didn’t even like it. I just did it because you could get it easier then dope but I remember thinking to myself what’s the point of cleaning up if I’ll probably never be the same anyway? What was the point of fucking living? Being down two thousand dollars and I used to be well off. I could have went and bought a house. I ruined everything by making really stupid, really really bad mistakes and I never thought I would get to sit here and do an interview and talk about those things like they were in the past. I thought I had to live in that hole that I dug for the rest of my life. To crawl out is beyond morose, it’s beyond any kind of words in my vocabulary. It’s a tremendous feeling and I’m really lucky. I feel really lucky. If I’m talking a lot, I mean a friend of mine OD’d today and its’ just been a really rough day and that just makes me feel even more lucky. More lucky that I’m not there with him. I don’t know how I’m still alive but it’s just been a crazy day. It’s been a really rough day and..I don’t know! Just a lot of reflection for me. I just feel lucky and if that answers your question, I realized I just talked for five minutes straight.
No and I’m really sorry to hear that.
It’s just fucking crazy you don’t even know. We’re doing like this video and in the video, it’s supposed to be like a day in the life of an addict so I’m like shooting water into my veins and just the process of putting the needle in my arm again. It’s very moving in a way because with that comes this kind of like reflection on yourself being like wow I’m really past this thing because who the fuck knows I could relapse tomorrow. I don’t think that will happen when I have everything in my power to not but to be sitting there and be shooting in my arm in this video and then to get a call that the cops need pictures of my man Corey because it’s going up on the news and just no one can find him and it’s just been a really bad day but in a lot of ways it just makes me say to myself like ’Wow I’m so lucky’. You know everyone in their life that kind of sticks out more then all the other moments and I guess life is just a bunch of moments put together. Everybody has like these things that stick out and I just know today is going to be one of them because maybe I never had it kind of drilled into my brain so much that, you know, on one level I need this thing. I want to be doing this till I’m an old one but I just know I’ll never have the urge to do drugs again and I just feel so lucky that I get to be here and not in my mom’s heart and not break my dad’s heart and die on him and not let everyone down. You know I let enough people down so I’m kind of crawling back to the old. In a way, it’s a good feeling rather inside this awful tragedy.
Well I’m so sorry to hear that.
Well yeah I mean I’m still here. It’s just wild. I mean unfortunately I’m getting used to the sting of it. This is literally like the fifth. I counted today it’s five people in the last two years and two months or something like that. Five friends of mine that are dead from drugs. Everyone of them. How sad is that? I mean what about that dude’s mom. Like common everybody’s got somebody for them, somebody that loves them. Even when you feel like nobody does. Even when you let those people down. Can’t imagine the family and some of my other brothers even closer with in this guy’s world. I can’t imagine the hurt. It makes me really sad for them. So yeah it’s been a hectic day. It’s been kind of crazy.
I just wanted to ask one more thing. I know like you’ve said you’re pulling kind of double duty this summer with MC Lars everyday and Terrible Things. What are you most looking forward to from the experience with each of them?
Well you know it’s something new. That’s really cool. I’ve been touring for a long time you know since I was a kid and I’ve been making music literally since I was a little kid so it’s something new to do two sets on Warped Tour. I’m excited to bring Weerd Science and be part of the Warped Tour package. I’m on two different songs on the Warped Tour compilation. I’m on the Skullcandy stage with MC Lars and I’m doing my show with Lars but we’re splitting it in half. Half of the time it’s MC Lars, half of the time it’s us. I think, you know, it’s not like I’m going into Warped Tour blind. I’ve done it three other times so this will be my fourth time doing it. The worse part about Warped Tour is sitting around in a hundred and fifteen degrees being like ’What am I going to do today?’ I’ve seen every band ten times. There’s just nothing to do so shit I say let’s fill it up with things to do. We even booked the off dates. Like sometimes on Warped Tour, you really need an off day. I’ll tell you what, maybe don’t put this in, but Lars has never done Warped tour. I told him he was fucking crazy. I was like ’Dude you’re going to book the off dates? You’re going to die, it is insane to be in that heat everyday’ but I say let’s not waste time let’s go for it. Let’s book every off day. Let’s never have an off day. If we’re all reconvened on the bus at five o’clock, let’s go put on a show in the parking lot. I just want to go, all my dudes do, just go after this thing with every bit of feel and every bit of passion we can muster and lord knows we have it in droves. This is what we want and when I say we, that’s one of the great things to me about hip hop. It’s not just about one dude. Like we got guys that we work with and it’s such a communal thing that you don’t get in rock and roll. You don’t get that. Every band in rock and roll, even the bands that are friends with each other, shit on each other. No matter who they are, ’These are my great friends blah blah blah’. they get in the band and they’re like oh that band sucks. In hip hop, while it can be so competitive, even more competitive then rock and roll, there’s also a community and yeah everybody’s trying to kill each other on the tracks but you know that you’re brothers. It’s this communal vibe so that’s what I mean when I say we but we’re going to go with me, MC Lars, just everybody that we’re involved with. That’s why we’re going after this thing. So I just look forward to that the most on Warped Tour. I mean I’m just so excited to be part of Warped Tour. It’s something I know. It’s something I’ve been part of it. In the punk world. In the prog-punk thing that Coheed and Cambria did and now to do it as an MC, that’s what I want. Mission accomplished. Now we’re ready to move to the next level.
"Sick Kids" by Weerd Science - release date: 05/17/11..