The name Rob Reinfurt may not ring a bell in most circles, but his name has a lot more attached to it than one would initially expect. Beginning in the only place we can, Reinfurt fronts the polarizing and wildly eccentric group ‘The Weekenders.’ The group also consists of Mike Sasich on guitar, Shaun Thomas, and Mike Torgerson. If the story wrapped up here, you would be left with a group of smart and provocative guys having released a formidable debut album ‘Don’t Plan On’ to considerable buzz. But the story, alas, does not end here, and Rob Reinfurt finds his group in the shadow of a legal battle.
In 2009, Reinfurt was arrested on federal marijuana trafficking charges, a conspiracy that helped land close friends Eric Canori and Missy Giove in prison alongside him. With about 30 months in prison time, and a possible 20 year sentence in the works, it may be a long time before Rob Reinfurt and his allies get some time to record again. Giove is a famed mountain biker, once labeled as one of the most famous female bikers in the world.
The uniqueness in friend Eric Canori is that his sentence has directly spurred a myriad of controversy in the sentencing and legal repercussions of marijuana sentencing. The challenge is in whether a coast-to-coast drug smuggling case should be subject to such severity, particularly in marijuana. After legislation has notoriously softened its viewpoints on the drug, there may be a pivotal re-examination of the law in the works.
Of course relating all this to the Weekenders is rather demanding, but Rob Reinfurt fits in well here. His work in the band never seemed to hold any limits. Like the 70’s rock behemoths that preceded them, the Weekenders release a volley of relentless though well-organized experimental rock odysseys. For every chaotic shambling, there is a sense of core control being maintained. The Weekenders rock, but not in the pure-loss sort of way. They keep hooks in tact, and when they let loose, they do so with wise professional. The result is a debut album that is harrowing and embattled by a rage and a sky-is-the-limit rawness.
This is perfectly encapsulated in the real life events of Reinfurt. At once a morally gray drug smuggler, he is at the forefront of a legal controversy that has spanned for years. With his mountain biking friend and best friend, his band mates root him on from the walls of prison. The unlimited potential of the music from the Weekenders perfectly and perhaps awkwardly correlates to the confined freedom of Reinfurt’s situation. Enclosed yet free, he fights a situation that is murky at best. Perhaps this is what the Weekenders is all about- fighting for what is right, doing it with no regret, and wishing that all the sky could bow down to the shit-storm that undoubtedly runs our world.
I am impressed by the music of the Weekenders. But I am also envious and impressed with the life of a man who says fuck it and means every syllable.