The Weekend Kids take a grown-up approach to punk rock
It’s safe to say that The Weekend Kids aren’t kids. The Weekend Kids are actually rock & roll renaissance men, and after having the immense pleasure of catching up with a ¼ of what is easily Alberta’s loudest family band, Pete Nguyen paints the picture both literally & figuratively.
If you believe yourself to be unfamiliar with Pete’s artistic resume then chances are good that you’re wrong. If you’ve ever taken a sip that was squeezed out of Edmonton’s Sea Change brewery, flipped through Avenue Magazine, perused the album covers of Edmonton’s pop punk catalogue, or watched any number of independently funded Edmonton music videos over the past 10 years, you’ve likely handled some of Pete’s handy work. There’s actually a chance that the restaurant where you’re sitting & reading this article has a Pete Nguyen mural on the wall.
It’s for this myriad of reasons that his last text to me before we actually spoke said “it’s good to be back” I couldn’t help but think… “Back where? You’re a fixture!”
I’ve been looking forward to this chat. I’m keenly aware of Pete’s artistic style, but the newest full-length release from The Weekend Kids, “End Of An Era” brings about more questions than answers. If I’m being frank, when a band falls off your radar for a number of years and then suddenly pops back into view with an album called “End Of An Era” with a decidedly different direction when it comes to album artwork, you need to know what era is coming to an end.
Q: Is The Weekend Kids’ punk rock era coming to an end?
A: Well… sorta.
As Pete describes to me the challenges of a young & hungry band spreading themselves too thin, timing the recording, releasing, and touring with razor-thin margins of error, and being broke on the road, and contrasting that with the current love of playing music because you just want to play
music (without the urgency to tour and ‘make a name’) I’m hearing more than just the words he’s saying. I’m hearing the therapeutic confidence of a man who knows how music is fitting into his already artistically expressive lifestyle, and it’s a refreshing non-career oriented approach to making music for self-fulfillment rather than for business and marketing, and music that’s crafted with that kind of honesty and conviction behind it tends to be much more relatable and pleasurable to listen to.
Ironically, that’s the very thing music careers are built on. The kind of integrity that comes out in that kind of writing is desirable, and trying to bottle that lightning COULD tip the scale in the other direction, and could end up negating everything The Weekend Kids are doing with music right now. But homogenizing and selling a pop-punk package is not the goal here, making a great record is.
Pulling back from live shows a few years back was the truest test of The Weekend Kids’ fortitude. They knew they’d either write newer, better songs, and make a record, or dissolve into obscurity. Whatever was supposed to happen would happen, and “End Of An Era” is what happened.
With this record officially released, will they keep playing? They’ll play when it suits them, if it suits them. As mentioned, all 4 members of the band are family. They’ll continue to be in each other’s lives and will ultimately always be able to pick up their instruments for the joy of playing – and if you’re lucky, it’ll be in public and you’ll be in the room when it happens.
“End Of An Era” is the album you want it to be. It follows a full 9 years behind The Weekend Kids’ full length debut (and subsequent EPs) and lyrically whisks away the 20-something problems and ushers in 30-something (or 30-nothing) problems – but that punk rock energy & angst still takes precedent. There’s a sonic push & pull of grown-up professional quality production and youthful angst and adrenaline, and that balance may have taken those 9 years to get just right for all anyone really knows.
Despite the decidedly adult view of how music fits into their lives now, it seems evident to me that deep down beneath the professional, grown up veneer, The Weekend Kids are still kids.
Maybe deep down, we’re all still kids.