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Thread: Jeff Tweedy

  1. #1

    Default Jeff Tweedy

    I know I already made an official Wilco thread, and to many that's all Jeff Tweedy the somber front man from "that Wilco band". Many others would rank him with the very best of songwriters and in my honest opinion a very underrated guitar player. Anywho..

    Born in 1967 as the 4th child to railroad worker Bob Tweedy and kitchen designer Jo Ann Tweedy. Jo Ann bought Tweedy his first guitar at age six, although he did not begin to play it seriously until he was eight. In 1981, when Tweedy was fourteen years old, he befriended Jay Farrar in an English class at Belleville Township High School West. All of the members of Farrar's family enjoyed playing music, causing Farrar to already have knowledge of the musical elements of rock and roll. By this time, Tweedy was a fan of The Ramones and country music while Farrar enjoyed The Sex Pistols.

    Farrar was in a band called The Plebes with his brothers Wade and Dade, which Tweedy joined in order to qualify for a battle of the bands competition.Tweedy pushed The Plebes away from the rockabilly music that they had been playing, which caused Dade Farrar to leave the band. The band renamed themselves The Primitives in 1984, taking their name from a song by garage rock band The Groupies. Wade Farrar sang lead vocals and played harmonica, Jay Farrar played guitar, Tweedy played bass guitar, and Mike Heidorn played drums. In late 1986, the band decided to change their name to Uncle Tupelo, because a more popular British band was also using the name "The Primitives".The Primitives went on hiatus in 1986 after Wade Farrar left the band to finish his engineering degree at Southern Illinois University. While waiting for Wade to return from campus, Jay, Tweedy, and Heidorn formed "Uncle Tupelo"...

    At his parents' request, Jeff Tweedy enrolled at several universities, but dropped out of them so that he could concentrate on Uncle Tupelo. While moonlighting as a record store clerk at Euclid Records in St. Louis, Tweedy met Tony Margherita. After Margherita saw the band perform at an acoustic concert in 1988, he decided to become the band's manager. The band began playing regular shows at Cicero's basement bar in the Delmar Loop near Washington University with other bands playing in a similar style. Uncle Tupelo recorded a ten-track demo tape entitled Not Forever, Just For Now in 1989, attracting the attention of Giant/Rockville Records. The independent label signed the band, and Uncle Tupelo's first album, No Depression, was released the next year. The title song, originally performed by the Carter Family, became strongly associated with the alternative country scene, and became the name of an influential alternative country periodical.

    During times when Uncle Tupelo was not touring, Tweedy and Farrar played as Coffee Creek, a short-lived cover band with The Bottle Rockets' Brian Henneman and Mark Ortmann. Around this time, Tweedy began developing problems with alcohol abuse, leading to tensions between Tweedy and Farrar. While he never refused to play a gig, Tweedy was forced to sit out in place of Henneman at some performances. Tweedy quit drinking entirely after meeting future wife Sue Miller, although he replaced this habit with smoking marijuana. After releasing Still Feel Gone, the band formed a friendship with Peter Buck of R.E.M., who produced their third album March 16–20, 1992 for free. Uncle Tupelo left the Rockville label in favor of Sire Records (Warner) later in 1992 because Rockville refused to pay the band any royalties for their albums. After the signing, Max Johnston and John Stirratt joined the band as Mike Heidorn was replaced by Bill Belzer who was later replaced by Ken Coomer. The five-piece band recorded Anodyne, which sold over 150,000 copies and debuted at number 18 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, but was the last album Uncle Tupelo released.

    In January 1994, Farrar called Tony Margherita to tell him that the band was breaking up, saying that he was not having any fun in the band anymore and was not getting along with Tweedy. Tweedy was enraged that Farrar decided to break up the band without notifying him, and this led to a series of harsh verbal exchanges. Farrar and Tweedy agreed to a final Uncle Tupelo tour, but the concerts were marred by the two not participating in each other's songs. The band decided to play Tweedy's "The Long Cut" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, which further distanced Farrar and Tweedy Farrar began to assemble a new band named Son Volt with Mike Heidorn, bassist Jim Boquist, and his brother Dave Boquist. At the same time, Jeff Tweedy formed "Wilco" with Stirratt, Johnston, and Coomer:
    Last edited by vinnydictive; 10-06-2010 at 07:36 PM.

  2. #2


    Jeff Tweedy's musical style has varied over his music career. Tweedy's vocal style is considered nasal, emotional, and scratchy, and has been compared to that of Neil Young. His first exposure to music was through gramophone records that his siblings left behind when they attended college, and he particularly liked The Beatles' "White Album". Tweedy would frequently read issues of magazines such as Rolling Stone, and began to purchase punk rock albums such as The Clash's "London Calling" and X's "Wild Gift". Belleville crowds did not respond well to punk music, so while Tweedy was a member of The Primitives they played covers of country songs at much faster tempos. When Uncle Tupelo formed, the band began composing its own songs influenced by Jason & the Scorchers and The Minutemen. Wilco's first album shared many musical similarities with the four previous Uncle Tupelo albums, but on Being There, Tweedy began introducing more experimental themes into his music. He claims that he wanted to rebel against the belief spread by the No Depression magazine that Wilco was primarily a country band. One of the most influential albums for Tweedy was Bad Timing by Jim O'Rourke, which helped to inspire Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born. Tweedy uses a 1957 Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar, as well as a 1965 Fender Jazzmaster, and three different Telecasters, but his primary electric guitar is the Gibson SG Standard. He has vintage SGs from ’62 and ’65 as well as a 2007 Custom Shop model and a 2008 Custom Shop Vintage Original Spec (V.O.S.) that are all rigged with Maestro tremolo bars. He also has been known to use a Breedlove 000.

    Tweedy has been prone to chronic migraines throughout his entire life, forcing him to miss forty days of elementary school in one year. These chronic migraines caused Tweedy to become dependent on painkillers. While he attempted to regulate his use of painkillers, he was never able to stop their use for more than five weeks. Tweedy attributes this to comorbidity with major depressive disorder and severe panic attacks. In 2004, he entered a dual diagnosis rehabilitation clinic in order to receive treatment for an addiction to prescription painkillers. Tweedy quit smoking the next year; John Stirratt claimed afterward that this significantly improved the focus of the band.

    Tweedy is married to former talent booking agent Sue Miller. Tweedy first met Miller when he was trying to get Uncle Tupelo booked at Cubby Bear, where Miller worked. Miller opened a club in Chicago named Lounge Ax in 1989, and booked Uncle Tupelo for sixteen shows over four years. Miller and Tweedy began dating in 1991 and they were married on August 9, 1995. The Tweedys have two children: Spencer Tweedy (born December 16, 1995) and Sam Tweedy (born December 22, 1999). Spencer has been the drummer for pre-teen rock band The Blisters, not to be confused with Chicago powerpop band The Blissters, since December 2003. Spencer has also recently formed a new band called Tully Monster with friends Hayden Holbert and Henry Mosher. They go to a Montessori School in Chicago,IL. The band has played major events such as Lollapalooza, which Jeff and Wilco headlined, and also at the opening of Millennium Park in Chicago. On December 16, 2008 Spencer Tweedy joined Wilco on stage at Madison Square Garden to play drums on their song "The Late Greats," while opening for Neil Young. Before the song, the entire crowd sang Happy Birthday to Spencer Tweedy, as it was his 13th birthday.

    In early May 2009, former Wilco member Jay Bennett sued Tweedy for breach of contract. Bennett died later that month of an overdose of the painkiller fentanyl.
    Last edited by vinnydictive; 10-06-2010 at 07:03 PM.

  3. #3


    (radiohead cover)

  4. #4



    Uncle Tupelo albums

    1990 No Depression
    1991 Still Feel Gone
    1992 March 16-20, 1992
    1993 Anodyne

    Wilco albums

    1995 A.M.
    1996 Being There
    1998 Mermaid Avenue
    1999 Summerteeth
    2000 Mermaid Avenue Vol. II
    2002 Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
    2003 More Like the Moon EP
    2004 A Ghost Is Born
    2005 Kicking Television: Live in Chicago
    2007 Sky Blue Sky
    2009 Wilco (The Album)

    Collaboration albums

    1996 Down by the Old Mainstream (with Golden Smog)
    1998 Weird Tales (with Golden Smog)
    2003 Loose Fur (with Loose Fur)
    2003 Down with Wilco (with The Minus 5)
    2003 Circles (with The Autumn Defense)
    2004 Arabella (with Laurie & John Stirratt)
    2004 At the Organ EP (with The Minus 5)
    2006 Born Again in the USA (with Loose Fur)
    2006 The Minus 5 (with The Minus 5)
    2006 Another Fine Day (with Golden Smog)


    2002 Chelsea Walls


    1991 Michelle Shocked "Arkansas Traveler"
    1993 The Bottle Rockets "The Bottle Rockets"
    1996 Dazzling Killmen "Recuerda"
    1998 Jim Cuddy "All in Time"
    1998 Tommy Keene "Isolation Party"
    1998 The Handsome Family "Through the Trees"
    2001 The Boxhead Ensemble "Two Brothers"
    2003 The Minus 5 "I Don't Know Who I Am (Let the War Against Music Begin, Vol. 2)"
    2003 Preston School of Industry "Monsoon"
    2004 Various artists "Touch My Heart: A Tribute to Johnny Paycheck"
    2005 Various artists "Down in a Mirror: A Second Tribute to Jandek"
    2007 Various artists "I'm Not There (soundtrack)"
    2009 Rosanne Cash "The List"
    2010 Mavis Staples "You Are Not Alone"


    1999 Man in the Sand
    2002 I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
    2006 Sunken Treasure: Live in the Pacific Northwest
    2009 Ashes of American Flags

  5. #5


    a poetry book by Jeff Tweedy...

    In turns complex and surreal, playful and painful, puerile and poignant, Adult Head rewards readers with a unique, mature and sophisticated prosody and deep wisdom. These poems prove that some songwriters are also poets on the page (one thinks of Robert Burns) and at least one of these hybrids is alive, well and writing poems that are among some of the best poetry in America today. Adult Head is the first book in the Nightingale Editions series and the first book by Jeff Tweedy.

    here is one of the poems..

    "Singing Combat"

    just as you approach ... a package
    pulling at its bow, I see your face
    retreating from singing combat
    from falling down a flight of stairs
    our good days, our parents old, radiant beauty
    back there behind the sunshine

    I believe your sorrow was sunshine
    murdered for longing, your broken package
    a crushed open can of a pure bug's beauty
    crawling up lip and lash on your face
    before afternoon smiled for climbed stairs
    all because your laugh suggested combat

    it seems worthwhile to wish for combat
    steadying knees knotting in the sunshine
    bracing knuckles unskinned on stairs
    where the tree-lit pattern and wrapped package
    conceals no thoughtless purchase of your face
    and kills no surprise of beauty

    attacked by love laughing with beauty
    the four winds blow and the brave combat-
    ants have no weapons, no face
    no fear, no mirror to hurt sunshine
    they pry to know this ticking package
    but none can climb so many soft stairs

    they fall in heaps at the bottom of these stairs
    wounded and comforted only by beauty
    they come tangled in twine to tie this package
    and limping away whisper combat
    and say later it was a somewhat shaded sunshine
    approaching along with your face

    and the starlight we're running to face
    scales slowly twisting the stairs
    how love stops blood in sunshine
    not worth the fight but for beauty
    we will go far away from this singing, combat
    and become ourselves armored packages

    to face sunlight, starlight, sunshine
    packaged with beautiful notes scaling stars
    you are not above saying combat

  6. #6


    mott the hoople cover..

    sound is off a tad..still awesome..

  7. #7


    Wilco's Jeff Tweedy -- who grew up 20 miles or so outside St. Louis, in Belleville, Illinois, before moving his band to Chicago -- played a solo set at LouFest in August. Beforehand, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay declared the day (August 29) Jeff Tweedy Day in St. Louis.

    Onstage later in the evening, Tweedy mentioned the honor and somewhat jokingly called it "the stupidest thing I've ever heard." Then he said that nobody would have to go to work tomorrow, because "traditionally 'Jeff Tweedy Day' is a three-day weekend...or kind of a 30-year weekend." ...

  8. #8
    ...It's a spade.... Yossarian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Great North West of England


    Interesting stuff Vinny, Ive been a fan of Wilco for a while now I got into Wilco and The Eels at the same time. I still listen to Summerteeth and Being there often, I should listen to some of the other stuff he's done.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Yossarian View Post
    Interesting stuff Vinny, Ive been a fan of Wilco for a while now I got into Wilco and The Eels at the same time. I still listen to Summerteeth and Being there often, I should listen to some of the other stuff he's done.
    Summerteeth, Being There and Sky Blue Sky are my personal favorites as far as Wilco albums, though they're all great in their own way. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is their most recognizable to most, their most "critically acclaimed" to say.

    As far as Uncle Tupelo goes, I honestly believe every music fan needs a copy of No Depression, it's just amazing.

    If you're interested....

  10. #10
    ...It's a spade.... Yossarian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Great North West of England


    Cheers Vinny

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    In a complicated relationship with EvilChuck


    Good read.

  12. #12


    Quote Originally Posted by vinnydictive View Post
    Tweedy's vocal style is considered nasal, emotional, and scratchy, and has been compared to that of Neil Young.
    nasal?...yea. scratchy?...of course. emotional?...sure!

    neil young? i don't hear it...whatsoever. in the style of music, sure, but vocally? i don't think that's a good all.

  13. #13


    I love Uncle Tupelo, especially their Still Feel Gone album. I don't mind Wilco, but they don't do as much for me as UT. Farrar's Son Volt are also pretty good.

  14. #14


    yea Wilco definitely steered in a different direction than Uncle Tupelo, it depends on my mood, some days i'm a bigger Uncle Tupelo fan, some days when craving a little more atmosphere, it's Wilco.

    I also really enjoy Son Volt as well, I need to get on making a thread for them.

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