Tunes of the Town: Heavyweights | The American Word

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Tunes of the Town: Heavyweights

Mary Hamula | 3/26/14 8:29pm

(Photo Credits: Ryan Smith)

Tunes of the Town“ is an interview series with local bands and musicians conducted by Mary Hamula. Fill out the contact form below with any questions or interview suggestions.


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Heavyweights is a pop-punk band from Maryland. The band is made up of Dave Heilker on vocals, Eric Navarro on guitar, Chris Cornwell on bass guitar, Sean Ryder on rhythm guitar and Kurt Spiess on drums.

Your band recently changed it’s name, how did you pick the new name? 

David: At some point relatively early on, we stopped liking Pretty Little Kennedy Curse, but we weren’t taking the band super-seriously, so we figured we’d change it whenever. Then we kinda settled on changing it to PLKC, but while that was easy to brand, it was a little too “insider”, think AFI or MxPx. It’s a cool way to give a shared experience to your early fans, but it’s not ideal to have a seemingly arbitrary acronym for a name.We went through about 4 rounds of voting within the band, and I drew up some sketchy logos for all of the potential candidates. The finalists were “Over The West,” a Fall Out Boy lyric, and “telltale heart”, an homage to Poe – because Baltimore. At some point in the 11th hour, when we seemed to be at a standstill, I said “hey, I hate to bring a new girl to the dance, but what about ‘heavyweights?’” Everyone kinda stopped for a second, and then Kurt was all “do you appreciate that people are just gonna make fat jokes about you?” and I thought that made it funnier, and I think all the guys were just waiting to hear that, because it was pretty much unanimous once I said I could take the heat of a few jokes about my weight. I think it’s a funny image to hear the name “heavyweights” and then see a band with a fat dude in it, and just imagine people on the other end of the screen with their hands on their chin going “huh. okay. yeah.”

How did you form?

Eric: A lot of us have been playing in bands for the past 10 years. I personally decided to form the band after my last band of 3 years had broken up. I figured this would be one of my last bands, so I decided to form a pop punk band since I had never been in one, even though it’s always been my favorite style of music. So I joined up with these guys, who we met at a Magic the Gathering tournament. At this point we’ve been together for a year and a half.

Kurt: Eric, Dave and I knew each other since the beginning and we started out with a guy we knew on guitar.

Sean: I run a website called and I went to a show with these guys

What genre of music would you describe your band to be?

Eric: Pop punk. Power pop, some songs but most of the stuff we’re writing now is pop punk.

Do you write your own music and what inspires you?

Eric: Yea, all the stuff we’ve put out now, we’ve done one album and a split with A Place In Time, and for that I wrote all the music and split the lyrics with Dave. But going forward these guys are going to start writing more music. When Dave and I started writing together, and sometimes we’ll write together or we’ll each write one, but one of the things we really wanted to do is to stay really honest and truthful even if that means writing about a relationship where we were the bad guy. We also found out that we share some of the same flaws, such as attention seeking.

Who or what would you say has the greatest influence on your musical style?

Eric: Fall Out Boy. A lot of the pop punk around that time took the blink-182 and Green Day model, but Fall Out Boy allowed it have deep meaningful lyrics and screaming and dark guitar riffs.

Kurt: I guess as far as drummers go, Travis Barker or the drummer of The Get-Up Kids.

What’s your favorite part about being in a band?

Eric: Hanging out with other bands, meeting people you really get along with and hang out with.

Kurt: I guess being in a band is my favorite part about being in a band.

Sean: Getting in a sweaty car and driving 5 hours to play a show for no money and having the absolute best time of your life.

What’s your least favorite part about being in a band?

Eric: Getting made fun of a lot.

Kurt: Lugging your drums around.

Chris: Driving two hours to band practice.

Sean: Getting messed with while being in a bathroom.

What is a typical band practice like?

Eric: We come in, make fun of each other, run through our set, maybe work on something new or work on a new cover, and then we’ll usually just sit around a fire pit and drink.

Sean: You’re either sweating your bag off or freezing your bag off.

Where is your favorite place to play in DC?

Eric: We really liked the Velvet Lounge, it’s a nice intimate venue with a great venue, it’s all ages and really cheap to get in. They book bands that they think are really good, so if you go to a show there it’s usually gonna be really good.

Sean: D.C. is interesting, it’s like a melting pot of different things. You have like really affluent areas and really ghetto crap areas.

Eric: We have to give our love to Baltimore though because that’s where we’re from and the first place that really gave us a shot to play shows.

What is the strangest venue or gig you have ever played?

Eric: We played this place called Jams Music with Eldersburg, MD. We got booked to play this show with this other band to open for them. The venue told us we didn’t have to sell tickets or anything. Our singer wasn’t even there that night so we had this other guy who used to be in the band fill in for us, we were basically doing this other band a favor. We didn’t even play any of our songs because our singer wasn’t there so we just played all Fall Out Boy songs. So when we got there in front of the stage there were chairs. At the end of the show the women who was booking the show grabbed me and told me that we didn’t sell enough tickets, even though she didn’t print any tickets for us to sell. So she ended up stealing ten of our CDs and we left a small drum piece there and they refused to give it back.

Kurt: On the plus side the sound guy records the set so you get a copy of your show which is kinda cool

Is there anything else you would like to share (i.e. merchandise, tours, new releases)?

Eric: We’re currently working on the initial stages of recording our next album. We’re basically recording demos of our songs and working on that. It’ll probably be out early to mid next year. We’re also booking two tours for next year and spring.

Help Heavyweights fund their new album by contributing to their kickstarter campaign here. Listen to their EP, The Sound of Time Running Out, on their bandcamp here

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