Student Spotlight Sam Weiss ’09

When it comes to music, Sam Weiss is one of the most well rounded artists on campus. He sings, plays both the drums and the guitar and writes most of the music for his band, Marshawn. “He is a Spaniard (spent a year in Spain), a vandal, and a love machine. You have to listen to his music to understand it. It’s soulful and it encompasses all aspects of his personality,” raved band mate Alex Kalil ’09. What was your first musical experience? When I was little, I used to listen to the radio like crazy, the Kiss 108 station in particular. I’ve played the drums ever since I was seven or eight. Then, when I was 13, my dad showed me a couple of chords on the guitar. I stole it, took it to my room and just started playing. I’m self taught on the guitar. Out of the instruments you play, which do you consider your forte? I’m most comfortable behind the drum set. It was the first musical experience I had. I was really serious about it until this year when I really branched out. Did attending PA affect your ability to branch out? Definitely. I had a band that was really serious in middle school, and I played the drums for them. We were pretty good. Coming to PA, I couldn’t keep up with them anymore. I had to find different musicians to perform with. In the end, everything worked out. How has your music experience at Andover been different from what you were doing before? I write more music now. Before, I was just happy playing the drums. I realized that I had something to say, and in writing the music, I [discovered] how important it can be to create something. Plus, the Andover community has been extremely receptive to my work. Do you ever get nervous before you perform? Absolutely. I’m getting more used to it now, but before Grasshopper [Night], I had only sang in small venues. I had spent Upper year in Spain. When I tried out my songs on audiences over there, it was okay because they didn’t understand what I was singing well. Before that, I had never played to an audience as big as the audience at Grasshopper before. What do you do to counter your anxiety before a show? It is great because many best friends are all in the band. We all get nervous, so we all huddle together. Where does the inspiration to your music come from? Well, I am a fairly anxious person, so for me, writing music serves as an outlet. I know it sounds cliché, but it is really a way to get my feelings out there. I also like writing a lot of poetry. Which artists do you look up to and why? I look up to Conor Oberst. He is a poet and his music is great because he is not just concerned about making a rhyme or something that simply sounds good. Also, Warren Zevon was the inspiration to the first song I wrote. He is a fantastic musician and someone who takes pop rock beyond what it is. Ted Leo is someone I look up to too for his super creative use of chords and melodies.