Weapons of Anew’s ‘Sick Boy’ gives hard-rock twist to Chainsmokers song

weapons of anew sick boy

ELENA JASIC

Weapons of Anew (from left, Freddy Ordine, Stefan “Reno” Cutrupi, Ray West and Chad Szeliga).

Guitarist Freddy Ordine says he and his bandmates in the North Jersey-based Weapons of Anew are currently “sittin’ around twiddling our thumbs and wanting to go on tour.” Last we left this four-piece hard-rock/metal group, they had released their debut album, The Collision of Love and Hate, and were touring with former Creed frontman Scott Stapp. And they have not been at all idle despite the thumb-twiddling caused by the COVID climate.

A new single, new drummer and a new album to be released show that the boys have been working feverishly to remain in the public eye and get their music out there.

Ordine says the album was finished around June. “Originally we were planning on releasing it in September that just passed, but with everything kind of being shut down, our management and our label kind of sat on it … they decided to go with a single to see how we do, and it’s been a godsend, it’s been unbelievable.

“We are charting on Billboard, there’s been a whole bunch of craziness. Every time they call me and say, ‘Hey, you guys are like … No. 30 on this chart,’ I’m like, ‘You’re calling Freddy. You’ve got the wrong number, I think.’ (laughs). We’re just like, ‘What?!’ It is unbelievable. They’re going for a big push in January or February because they think it’s going to stay on the charts.”

The single, “Sick Boy,” is a cover of the Chainsmokers song. (see video below) “We have been throwing around the idea of doing a cover forever, because when we’re at soundcheck, we will play Michael Jackson tunes or Stevie Wonder tunes or Van Halen, and we just wanted to do something that nobody would expect us to do,” said Ordine. “This is a cool song. It’s completely out of our genre.

“To us, it’s a massive song. I think it has like 260 million views or streams or something like that (laughs), and for the Chainsmokers it wasn’t a big song. We decided, ‘Let’s give it a shot and see what happens,’ and (the Chainsmokers) are 100 percent behind it. They wanted to take it to radio and their label kind of shot it down. So they’re happy that we are doing all of this. They are 100 percent aware that we are doing it and they dig it, so it’s cool.

“It’s weird, none of us were really Chainsmokers fans. It was just a song that we kind of picked up. I heard the song and thought, ‘This is kind of cool, with everything going on in the world right now.’ I came up with a whole arrangement before I even showed it to the band, because I thought for sure that they were gonna say no! Sure enough, Reno and Ray both loved it and I was like, ‘Holy shit!’ (laughs)

“I wouldn’t say that we were fans (of the Chainsmokers) but it was a cool tune and I connected with it. So since all of this has been going on, I’ve kind of went back and listened to their stuff, and they’ve got some really cool stuff going on. It’s a total cool vibe you get from those guys.”

The finished, 11-track album will be titled The Art of War. “We’ve got four or five radio singles on it so I think you’re going to be hearing a lot of it. God willing, hopefully,” says Ordine. “Hopefully sometime around February or March we’ll have another single out, and the second we’re allowed and touring opens up, that’s when the new record will come out.

“I mean, you know how we are: We’re nuts. We get together twice a month still and rehearse. We haven’t stopped, we’re like caged animals, we want to go out and play. We have a new drummer in the band: We have Chad Szeliga, who used to play with Breaking Benjamin and Black Label Society. He came in and learned the whole old record and did the new record with us.”

The cover of Weapons of Anew’s 2017 album, “The Collision of Love and Hate.”

Ordine, Szeliga, singer Ray West and bassist Stefan “Reno” Cutrupi have taken what was a tight-knit group and turned it into an impenetrable fortress. Ordine says the band is like family and that Szeliga fits right in and has already left his mark on the band’s makeup — a makeup that includes a disdain for taking time off.

“We’re happy to be able to get up and do anything that we can still do nowadays,” laughed Ordine. “Ray and I have been doing this long enough that if we go on hiatus, we know it’s over. We know we have to just keep banging it out. It’s crazy: As we get older, me and Ray, we’re so similar … we butt heads and argue all the time but it’s like arguing with your brother. It’s over in two seconds. So, we don’t want to take time away from it. We were kind of miserable because we took the month of December off for the holidays and we were like, ‘Alright, let’s take the month off and we’ll do the family thing.’ And it was like, ‘Shit! You guys are my family.’

“It’s crazy how we happened to get Chad. We changed management companies probably back in February. Chris, our old drummer, kind of tapped out. He was just going through some stuff. I mean, you’ve really got to be built for this, and over the years he was kind of fighting with it and it just came to a point where he couldn’t do it anymore. And we needed to finish the record, and Chad’s name kept coming up to us from our manager and producer. Amazingly enough, we had just signed a deal with Jason Jordan, who used to run Hollywood Records, who had signed Breaking Benjamin. This was like the small world scenario where Chad’s name kept coming up to us. So we gave him the stuff and let him lay a song or two down, and I was blown away by how well he can groove and how well his pocket was. We gave him a couple of more tunes and then we brought him in and we hung out and jammed.

“We really connected. It was like we had known each other forever. Honestly, he was the perfect fit; he’s like the nicest guy ever. There is no ego. He just wants to play his drums.”

The band is really pumped to get their new material out to the masses and they are working on new songs for a third album.

So what does he think it will be like when they’re finally able to get back out on the road and what are they doing until then?

“We just put a new website up,” said Ordine. “We will hopefully tour for this record until we can’t tour for it anymore. It’s crazy because we’re already working on material for another one and it’s starting to stockpile. Our management is saying, when we can go out, that they are going to keep us out on the road for 18 months to two years on this record. So that’s what we are hoping.

“I can’t wait to get out there again. I think the first couple of shows are going to be a little weird. I think people are going to kind of wait for the first guy to jump in the water, and I think once it breaks open, that it’s going to be awesome.”

For more about Weapons of Anew, visit weaponsofanew.com.

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