Abby Weems loves dogs. The 19-year-old songwriter, who plays guitar and sings in the Western Massachusetts punk band Potty Mouth, doesn’t always have a ton of excess time to spend with her favorite animal. So for this installment of Brooklyn Bound, we hung out with Weems and a pack of canines on a sunny day in the borough. Here, she talks about rescuing her childhood Collie from abuse, scouring the web for funny animals, and why dogs are an awkward girl’s best friend.
Stay tuned for video and a free download from Potty Mouth’s trip to Brooklyn, and check out videos and MP3s from other Brooklyn Bound treks here.
Did you grow up with animals around? We’ve always had dogs in my house, until recently. My family has had a Sheltie and a Collie. The Sheltie was named Pongo, I was probably one when we got him, and he was kind of a little bitch. He was nippy and not really friendly. Pongo died when I was eight or nine. The Collie was my childhood dog, and she just died a couple months ago. Her name was Lily, and we rescued her from a home breeder. There was probably 20 or 30 dogs in this tiny little house in the woods, it was totally disgusting, so we adopted her. She was so terrified and abused that she hid under a chair in our living room for the whole first month that we had her. It took her at least a year to start barking outside, she was so quiet and shy. She was still shy like, years after. But she came out from under the chair eventually.
Is the rest of Potty Mouth dog-crazy, too? I think I might be the most of a dog person, because everyone else in the band has cats. But we have a song called “Dog Song” and our logo is a picture of dog, so everyone definitely likes them. I’m in the market for a new dog, and even my bandmates have started looking at dogs online because they’re just so excited by the idea of me getting one.
Is it easy to be in a touring band and have a pet? It would have to be my family dog — I don’t think it’s very good to take an animal on the road. You’re in the car all day and when you finally get to your destination, you play a show, so the dog would just have to stay in the car. Ever since I’ve been looking, I’ve found so many funny dogs on the internet. There was this one named “Pickles Guacamole," which I thought was really funny so I had to show everyone.
On “Dog Song” you sing lyrics like “give me water and throw me a bone.” You also howl like a dog. It was written from the perspective of Lily, so it’s a very literal translation. People think it’s more of a metaphor for being a woman or being treated like an inferior, but when I wrote it it was just about my dog. But I’m totally fine with it, it’s my goal to have people interpret our songs however they want. It’s a simple, slow track so we don’t usually play it live because it breaks up the momentum, but people really like it, so we play it if somebody requests it.
What makes dogs so great? How they just love people unconditionally. You feel like you instantly have a best friend when you go over to someone’s house and they have an awesome, friendly dog. They’re also really good icebreakers, like if you have a bunch of people over your house, dogs automatically make everyone really happy. If you’re not talking to anyone you can just hang out with the dog and then maybe you won’t feel like, really awkward.