Eric Weiler

Greenville Online

Singer Eric Weiler, leader of the Eric Weiler Group, fell in love with music as a child, and he’s been playing ever since. Weiler, who performs Friday at Rendezvous, took some time to answer five questions about his history and his musical influences.

Q. How do you describe your music?

A. In the past, I would get tongue tied when people would ask me that question because I did not have a good answer. A few years back, I began recording my own albums and started to wonder where I fit into this whole thing as an artist. As time progressed, my goal has been to try to evolve as a songwriter, and my own writing style has changed drastically because of this, from the last album to the current one that is being recorded. My best answer now is that my music is a mixture of blues, rock and pop that is driven primarily by the guitar. Sometimes it is more blues, or sometimes it is more rock, but the guitars have to be great or I lose interest. As for our live shows with the band, I would say we deviate into more upbeat pop/rock tunes for the crowd and sprinkle a little blues on top for good measure.

Q. When did you know that music would be your life?

A. There was an old-fashioned department store in my hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, called Mack & Dave's. They had everything: jewelry, stereos, furniture, appliances and a musical instrument department. My uncle was Mack, so my family always shopped there to support his business. I guess I was 3-4 years old, mobile and very inquisitive. I heard a noise and snuck away from my parents one day while we were there, and they eventually found me sitting with the guys in the music department, behind the counter, and they were showing me all the cool guitars. I remember all of their names to this day: Don, Cap, and Eric. From that point on I made my parents take me into the music department every time we stopped at the store so I could talk to the guys and look at guitars. It wasn't very long after that I received my first guitar as a Christmas present. If you ask any of my childhood friends, they can tell you that a guitar has been attached to me from that day forward.

Q. Who are your biggest influences?

A. Being born in 1980 and starting to play guitar at a young age, my list of influences is very broad and might confuse some. When I started, I wanted to be Slash from Guns N’ Roses, but then Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and The Allman Brothers came along and I went more towards the blues. After reading interviews in magazines with Slash, Joe Perry, Eric Clapton, and Dickey Betts, I noticed that even though their styles were all different, they had a lot of common influences. These included B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Robert Johnson, and all the blues legends. As time went on, I was introduced to Stevie Ray Vaughan through a friend, and everything changed for me. It was like a slap on the face that this was it! Other artists that have made a huge impact include Ben Harper, Bill Withers, Van Morrison, John Mayer and The Black Crowes. They came around later in my life, but the influences are just as important as my early ones.

Q. What song is your go-to when you need a blast of energy or a pick-me-up?

A. This always changes for me. I lost my father this past December, so I find myself listening to songs that we listened to together as we would hang out or go on road trips. Right now on my iPod I have a big playlist of most of the Eric Clapton songs that he and I liked. When I need a pick-me-up, I turn on that play list, put on my head phones and remember the good times with my dad.

Q. Where can people hear you?

A. We are constantly adding more shows to our schedule. My website www.ericweilermusic.com always lists our schedule and news on different projects. There are also links to buy the current album and other merchandise. Some of the great shows coming up in the near future include: June 17 and July 23 at Rendezvous; July 9 and Aug. 13 at Smiley’s; July 15 at Rhythms on Trade in Greer; July 16 at Parkway Bar and Grill; and July 28 at Piedmont Natural Gas Downtown Alive.

WSPA-Scene On 7

The Eric Weiler Group is putting together their own unique mix of pop, blues and rock. Vanessa de la Vina introduces us to the band in today's music scene. You can watch them play live this Saturday and the 2nd Saturday of every month at Smiley's in downtown Greenville. They take the stage at 10 p.m. WSPA.com

Spartanburg Herald Journal

For more than two years, guitarist Eric Weiler has had a weekly gig at Smiley's Acoustic Café in downtown Greenville, where he slings molten blues riffs with skill and enthusiasm.

Weiler and his band, bassist Kebin Ahrens, drummer Kevin Mavis and guitarist Matt Morgan, can churn out classics such as "Texas Flood" and "Hey Joe" with the best of their bar-band brethren, but his debut album, "New Day," which is set to be released Saturday might surprise some people who've seen Weiler's show. The album is light on blues theatrics and heavy on melodic rock and thoughtful lyrics.

Weiler, who was born in West Virginia but moved to the Upstate in 2007, will play a CD-release show at Smiley's this weekend, and we spoke with him recently about his music.

Question: Tell me a little about the "New Day" album.

Eric Weiler: It was recorded here in Greenville, at Sit N' Spin studios. The songs are all originals. I started writing it about a year ago; I kind of took my time with it, and really made sure it was ready before I released it. I started recording the album at home on an iMac. Then once I'd written and arranged the songs, I took them over to Sit N' Spin. Tez Sherard came in and laid down the drum tracks, Matt Morgan played bass, and I laid all the guitar tracks and vocals.

Q: You really seem to move away from the blues on this album.

EW: I wanted to throw people a curve ball with the album. I didn't want people to listen to it and think, "Yeah, that's kind of what I expected." So on this album there's a lot of other kinds of stuff. It's not just straightforward blues song.

Q: Was it important to you to write the entire album?

EW: It's funny, because I originally had planned to include a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary," as kind of a tip of the hat to one of my biggest influences. But I couldn't get the rights to use the song in time. And I think that having all originals on the album ended up making a bolder statement. If there had been that one cover on there, it would've been like a security blanket. Now it's just the songs I've written. There's no hiding behind anything.

Q: How important has that weekly gig at Smiley's been to your development?

EW: It's been huge. When I first moved to Greenville in late 2007, I didn't know anyone. I just took my guitar around to a few places, and I just happened to stumble into Smiley's one night looking for a jam. And David Smith, one of the original owners, kind of gave me that stage for once a week for 2½ years. And I was able to hone my craft. That weekly reinforcement helped me build a following, helped get my name out there, and it helped me polish my performance. If it wasn't for Smiley's, I don't think the album would be here today.