Meet Jerkweed: South Carolina’s Number One Mediocre Emo Band

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    Rank: Frozen Foods Isle
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    Meet Jerkweed: South Carolina’s Number One Mediocre Emo Band
    Published: April 8, 2024

    Jerkweed is a Charleston-based trio with an Extra Chill origin story. During the summer of 2020, I had a few friends over for a bonfire in my backyard. Two of those friends were Matt Zutell (Human Resources, Coast Records) and Dylan Swinson, who connected that night while jamming out to pop-punk and emo classics in my living room.

    Jerkweed eventually formed in 2023, joined by Ryan Hanifin on bass, and came out strong with a cover of a personal favorite, “Cute Without the E (Cut from the Team)” by Taking Back Sunday in September. Next up, they did “A Praise Chorus” by Jimmy Eat World, also in September. The group performs everything from Blink-182 to My Chemical Romance to Jimmy Eat World and Sum 41. Jerkweed performs live with drummer Marc Voyer.

    On Friday, Jerkweed released their latest video, featuring a mashup cover of “Memory” by Sugarcult and “Weightless” by All Time Low, filmed during a party at Zutell’s Coast Records Studio (IYKYK). The band will celebrate this Friday night with a show at Tin Roof, joined by fellow Charleston locals Never Any Ordinary. 7:30pm doors, $10 cover with a $5 surcharge for under 21.

    Enjoy the video below, and read on to learn more about the band.

    Jerkweed – “Memory” / “Weightless” (2024)

    Jerkweed: The Origin Story

    As I briefly explained, Jerkweed formed roots during a social gathering at my house in the midst of the pandemic. Zutell and Swinson have both been around Charleston’s music scene for quite some time — Zutell a member of the renowned local band Human Resources, and the founder of the successful recording studio Coast Records, and Swinson a longtime performer and recording artist with a pop-punk/emo catalogue of his own.

    Swinson on Origins

    “I think it all really started when Chris had a little bonfire either July or August of 2020,” Swinson says. “Me and Matt ran into each other, and we were more of acquaintances back then, having known each other for about 7 years. But that was the first time we really got to talk and realized we both admired each other’s work and were emo kids at heart, especially when we started a mosh pit in Huber’s living room.”

    Not long after that night, Swinson and Zutell got together and recorded a cover of “Memory” by Sugarcult that never saw the light of day, until it was re-worked when bassist Ryan Hanifin later joined the group.

    “Then Matt introduced me to Ryan, who had just moved from New York and was recording with Matt,” Dylan continues. “He was just like us. So all three of us got together and jammed and realized that we saw something in each of us that wasn’t just our prostates. I think that’s what inspired us to dust off the old Memory cover that we did, add Ryan on there, and also record a new batch of covers.”

    Zutell on Guitar

    Those familiar with Matt’s work know him as a drummer, but in Jerkweed he gets to stretch his wings on guitar, which he explains was actually the first instrument he learned to play.

    “Guitar was the first instrument I learned, and was what I played in my middle and high school bands growing up,” Zutell says. “These pop/punk/emo songs were the anthems of my childhood and teenage years, and have always stayed with me.” 

    Time went on, and he mostly put down the guitar and vocals in favor of a seat at the throne, and by now he has held down the drums with a variety of projects from Human Resources to Wolf Mask and more.

    “Jerkweed, for me, is an opportunity to reconnect with my roots and the magic that came from that feeling of playing in the garage with your friends as a kid,” he continues. “We’re running Jerkweed as DIY as possible with the goal of just having fun with it, and not taking ourselves too seriously. The shows still rock, but we’re having a good time with it while we do it.”

    Ryan on Joining Jerkweed

    Ryan Hanifin rounds out the recording side of the group on bass, and recalls how he met Matt when scouting out local studios to finalize some of his original music.

    “When I moved to the area in 2020, I was looking for a local studio to help me finish some mixes,” Hanifin recalls. “I was immediately drawn to Coast after creeping Matt’s instagram and realizing we had a lot of the same musical influences. Once he told me what he and Dylan were doing, I was super eager to be a part of it.”

    Check out Jerkweed’s other two videos below, and see them live at Tin Roof this Friday, April 12th with Never Any Ordinary and special guest Will Bragunier of Sad Son.

    Jerkweed – “Cute Without the E” (2023) [Taking Back Sunday]

    Jerkweed – “A Praise Chorus” (2023) [Jimmy Eat World]

    Rank: First Frost
    Points: 128

    I’m super excited for this show.. and I think it’s also important to note that Tin Roof is the perfect venue for the show.. and it raises the notion that certain venues have a vibe and pairing your show with the right venue is very important.. and are we pigeon holed to certain venues based on our genre/style? But… Now that I think about it.. I feel like this association was intentional and speaks to the brilliance of the whole theme .. playing emo punk music in the OG punk venue in Charleston and hanging your poster at Spencers or Zumiez.. hats off to JerkWeed.. A show you definitely want to remember being at

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