Weird Security refuses to twiddle its thumbs on 'Clear the Area'

Andy Downing
Weird Security

One of the first songs Weird Security jammed on after forming was a cover of Fastball’s “The Way,” though it might not have been immediately recognizable to anyone who happened upon the performance.

“I would take the guitar solo and then just crap all over it,” said singer/guitarist Adam Woelfel, who has long played bass in Gelatinus Cube but is making his debut as a frontman in the new quartet. “And then we’d take the song and do a bunch of stupid [guitar] feedback and then maybe loop it around.”

A cover of Weezer’s “Hash Pipe” received similarly roughshod treatment, the band members breaking it down into its chunkiest, most basic elements and then corrupting them, owing to a general inability to play anything the way it’s written, Woelfel explained.

“I’ve always thought it was more fun … to do something different with the music,” he said. “You have this idea of the song, sure, but then … I’m going to take it and just throw up all over it.”

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A similarly chaotic, anything-goes feeling drives the five tracks populating Weird Security’s debut EP, Clear the Area, which the band will celebrate with a release show at Dirty Dungarees on Thursday, Dec. 12. “Healthy Dose of Shame” finds unhinged drummer Mike Daull bellowing more than singing (“Used to be I didn’t have a handle on my bullshit,” he yowls like a man still struggling to maintain his grip). Daull delivers his words atop loping, slapdash guitar that eventually drops out, making space for an outro that plays like a banjo-fueled hootenanny. The grungy “My Name Is Squidworth,” in turn, finds its central character, taken from the animated world of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” struggling with crushing depression, openly wishing for death between shifts mindlessly flipping burgers, its darkly comic overtones inspired by the Adult Swim cartoons Woelfel absorbed while growing up.

Other songs have comparatively human roots, such as “WMMS: The Buzzard,” which started to take shape as Woelfel watched a documentary about the 1992 Los Angeles riots. “I have a big fascination with … Civil Rights issues, or any time where it seems like someone is getting screwed over for a reason beyond their control. It brings a lot of emotion out of me,” he said. “So I was watching this documentary, and within seven minutes of starting it … I had to pause it and go and get my guitar, like, ‘I have this idea for a song.’ And then I fleshed out a majority of it right there.”

Throughout the EP, the music feels loose and spontaneous — the band scrapped anything that felt forced or labored, including a bizarrely straightforward song about actor Val Kilmer — its easy chemistry driven by the players’ long musical association. Woelfel and Daull are joined in Weird Security by Brad Noble and Jack Jasilionis, all of whom are part of a collective of a dozen or so musicians who play in multiple formations across myriad bands. In addition to Weird Security and Gelatinus Cube, Woelfel, for one, also contributes to Such Fuss and the Best Westerns. (Think of the collective as a musical version of the Judd Apatow universe, where the same players repeatedly surface across different projects, often in different roles.)

Growing up, there was little doubt Woelfel would pursue art in some form. His father is an abstract painter who works in acrylics, and when Woelfel was in high school, he and his friends would take mushrooms and laugh at his dad’s “weird, trippy” paintings when left alone at home.

“I couldn’t exactly elaborate on how, but [my dad] and I are very similar,” said Woelfel, who got his first guitar at age 15, inspired in part by groups like Weezer, Green Day and the Offspring (“All of those 1994 bands”). “He was always very encouraging of me and my brother, telling us to do whatever we could to express ourselves artistically. … And I needed that direction. I needed that outlet. Otherwise, I was just going to sit at home, and I like to think I’m the creative type, and us creative types can’t just sit around at home twiddling our thumbs. That’s how we get into trouble.”

Dirty Dungarees

7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12

2586 N. High St., Old North

ALSO PLAYING: Death Proof, Victory Lapse, Danny Lemmon of Big Adult

Weird Security “Clear the Area” EP release