Hilo rock band Professor T and the East Side Shredders gets political with new EP and music video

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Professor T and East Side Shredders are back with a new EP and video entitled Ratshit Weasels. The record was produced by guitarist/songwriter Trever “Professor T” Veilleux and recorded by Rob Abe at The Spider House in Volcano, HI. The band includes Jesse Shatternick on bass and Zach Var on drums. Musically, Ratshit Weasels draws from a variety of influences from reggae to blues to funk all played with a heavy rock edge.   

Previously, when making a record, Trever would have all the songs written, demoed, and rehearsed prior to going into the studio. But this time when the band got together in the studio, he only brought some loose sketches: riffs, chord progressions, and a few lyrics. The actual song forms took shape while the band jammed in the studio giving the record a spontaneous live feel.  The improvisation and musical interplay of these accomplished musicians are evident throughout. 

A music video for the title track was directed by Derek Frey, whose recent credits include producer of Disney’s Dumbo (2019).  

Director Derek Frey’s comments

Trever shared the EP with me at the end of April.  I was struck by the ferocity of “Ratshit Weasels,” “Hesitation Frustration” and “Revolution Time.” It’s a rousing listen.  In mid-May, he messaged asking if there was any way to do a quarantine, low budget video for the title track.  The song fired me up and I was excited to have a creative outlet in the midst of the pandemic lockdown.  

 Trever’s songwriting has always transitioned well into the visual realm.  Each song I’ve had the privilege to create visuals for has been a gift, and the vignettes of social injustices presented in “Ratshit Weasels” provided ample creative fuel. 

Over the course of our many collaborations for Professor T and the East Side Shredders and Technical Difficulties, we’ve covered the genres of horror, adventure, comedy, fantasy, and romance.  A work focusing on the difficult challenges facing America seemed like a natural, and perhaps overdue, progression.  Aside from depicting these deeply rooted issues I was eager to showcase the sheer ineptitude, ridiculousness, and danger of Trump and his administration.  

 I was in the final stage of setting up for filming when news broke of the murder of George Floyd.  It was a surreal and intense experience creating this video as events were unfolding in real time around the country and world.  I channeled my energy and frustration with Trump’s continued failure to address these issues into the final cut.  It was challenging to lock the edit because the plight of so many continues to play out.  

 Our two previous collaborations were “Come in the Water’s Fine” which was set in and around Green Lake, followed by “Pangea”, which showcased a volcanic eruption.   Both works predated the 2018 lower Puna eruption.  Now with Ratshit Weasels, we have a nation seemingly on fire.   Just a bit of a warning if Trever next dreams up a doomsday song.  Hopefully, if enough people get behind songs like “Ratshit Weasels” we can help stave off the apocalypse.

 Veilleux on the new EP

Lyrically the EP includes themes of social injustice and power to the people. Songwriter Trever Veilleux says, “When writing these songs, I could not have imagined that this record would be released during a time of such civil unrest, but these songs were inspired by those same atrocities that inspired thousands to take to the streets.”

 

The EP is being offered for “name your own price” with all of the band’s proceeds going to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Veilleux says “With the Black Lives Matter movement and the pandemic happening now, it doesn’t feel like the right time to be charging for music.  Releasing it this way allows people to get it for free if money is tight, and at the same time allows those that are able an opportunity to contribute to a great cause.”

 


A digital download of Ratshit Weasels is available at https://professort.bandcamp.com/releases

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