By Selena Puente
Brad Weatheread is one of the information techonology workers who pound away in the basement of Gorman, near the beloved and dreaded dwelling that is the print lab. He is a friendly man that laughs deeply, and has affectionately been called Brad Weatherstache by recent grads, and once people meet him they see he clearly lives up to the name. Weatheread is the artist, lead singer and gear lord for the band Sweatloaf, a cover group of the alternative-grunge-psychedelic rock outfit, the Butthole Surfers. Sweatloaf won Best Cover Band in Dallas from the Dallas Observer in 2013. Weathered had wise and encouraging things to say about being a musician, playing in Dallas and making the University of Dallas a home. We met on the deck by Gorman facing the Chapel of Incarnation, and the beautiful afternoon seemed like a crisp piece of paper for our conversation.
When asked what made him choose to start a Butthole Surfers band in particular Weatheread referenced his teenage years.
“As a teenager I was a huge fan immediately, and I never grew out of it,” Weathered said. “I’ve been listening to them everyday for 30 years. My whole life I’ve wanted to be in a cover band of their music. It wasn’t until six years ago that I found guys that all had the same ideas I did.”
The band he formed has been together for six years. When asked what it was like to be in a cover band, Weatheread looked away wistfully at the University of Dallas students strolling down the sun-drenched mall.
“Once you get past the stigma, it’s an easy way to get into being a musician,” Weatheread said. “A cover band is like a gateway into a real band.”
The chance to be in a Butthole Surfers-cover band has proved to be especially freeing for Weatheread, who gets to play music that he described as “random stream of consciousness lyrics pasted on top of nightmarish strangeness.” The Butthole Surfers have been rocking since their formation in the 80s but “people thought that the name of the band was so disgusting that they wouldn’t even use say it on the air, and then in the 90’s nobody cared about their name anymore — but their catalogue was still not accessible to mainstream fans.” The unique sound the band marked 30 years ago lives on via Weatheread, and when he and his band-mates perform they keep true to the classic Butthole Surfer style, performing all the classic Butthole acts at every show. This includes vocal effects, an interpretive dancer and a couple dozen of the actual Butthole Surfer films that used to be played at the shows and which were given personally to Weatheread and his band mates.
“I have a big black wig with 400 clothespins in it,” Weathered wryly chuckled when asked what he does to keep it original.
Weatheread discussed the other band he works with: Inferno Texino, an art band that fuses Texas slide blues with a psychedelic touch. He opened up about the importance of loving what you do and where you are.
“I like when you go to an art opening and there’s a band playing, whether that’s the whole time or if they’re rocking out later,”Weatheread said. “Artists mix well together.” As our interview drew to a close, the distinct kindness and passion for life Weatheread has was clear.
“I was not in rock bands before, number one because of my job, and because I thought my wife wouldn’t like it,” Weatheread said. “But it does not affect my job, and my wife is very supportive. If you want to be a musician, I can’t think of a reason not to be. Do it now, while you’re young. It’s very liberating.”
For anyone that wants to see Sweatloaf, the band has a show set for July 30, at the Three Links in Deep Ellum. It will also be touring with a Dead Kennedy’s cover band and a Clash