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The National Credit Bob Weir with Teaching Them to “Not Sweat the Static”

Rob Slater | September 08, 2017


The National's excellent new LP Sleep Well Beast arrived in full today after a lengthy rollout making it National...National Day. A number of outlets have published interviews with the band, from GQ to Consequence of Sound, the latter of which the band touches on their time with Bob Weir, Day of the Dead and how the guitarist influenced their latest recording process. 

Both Aaron Dessner and Matt Berninger were complimentary of Weir's impact on the various members (Aaron as well as Bryan and Scott Devendorf toured as a part of Weir's Campfire Band), with Berninger saying that he kept hearing a mantra taken from their time touring with Weir. "One of the big things that they kept repeating around the studio," Berninger said. "Is learning not to sweat the static." 

He elaborated, "And I think that’s literally how he would put it. Time, like showing up a little late for something, or messing up a song during a show, that’s all static. None of it matters. For a band like The National. we’ve been uptight and just overthink shit and get so mad, things that are totally counterproductive to have an argument about. His vibe definitely rubbed off on those guys, and I think in a secondary way, me too."

Dessner credited the Day of the Dead sessions and their time with Weir for a more experimentation-heavy record. "it's less tightly wound," he said. "And it's less tightly constructed, so there's more open space and it allows for more interpretation....Maybe that's coming out of the whole Day of the Dead and working with Bob." 

For his part, Bryan Devendorf is probably the biggest Grateful Dead fan in the band and described his time with Weir. "He likes to play things on the slower side. Well, he doesn't like to rush. Let's put it hat way. He doesn't like things to speed up, so he's like: 'If you feel things speeding up, just breathe.' And it totally works. It totally affected what we're doing now and I definitely appreciate what we're doing now a lot more after learning all those Dead songs and knowing what can happen to bands." 

Watch Weir and the Campfire Band's show at the Capitol Theatre in full.