Watershed releases new EP, premieres video for 'Bleeding on the Blank Page'

Joel Oliphint
Watershed with producer Tim Patalan

Surprise! Watershed is back with a new four-song EP, appropriately titled Extended Player, and it’s available right now on 12-inch vinyl via the power-pop band’s website. Later this month, it'll be available from local record shops, with proceeds going to the shops themselves.

Singer/guitarist Colin Gawel, bassist/vocalist Joe Oestreich and drummer Herb Schupp went to Michigan over a long weekend in January to record the new songs with producer Tim Patalan, who collaborated with Watershed on the band’s best-known LPs, The More It Hurts, the More It Works and The Fifth of July.

To call Watershed a long-running local act is an understatement. Gawel, Oestreich and Schupp had their first band practice together 35 years ago, and Extended Player’s artwork — particularly a big pull-out poster — pays tribute to those years in a rock ‘n’ roll collage. (Oestreich also documented the ups and downs in a fantastic book, Hitless Wonder.)

Below you’ll find the video premiere for new song “Bleeding on the Blank Page,” which the band put together remotely. It is the definition of relatable content for anyone who has been at home since March, juggling Zoom meetings with other obligations. Here’s what Oestreich had to say about the new song:

Way back in 1995, Peter Margasak, rock critic at the Chicago Reader, gave Watershed a scathing review, calling us "a surly REO Speedwagon meets a castrated AC/DC," which was so awesome (and kind of true), all we could do was salute him and say, "Nicely played, sir." In our defense, every band is a castrated AC/DC, except for, you know, the actual AC/DC. The "Bleeding on the Blank Page" riff absolutely has a Young Brothers vibe to it. But careful listeners will notice that the AC/DC-ness is not filtered through an REO lens but through another event that happened to us in 1995: We did a long tour with The Smithereens. Some of the most rocking Smithereens songs, especially on the album Smithereens 11, are influenced by AC/DC. So "Bleeding on the Blank Page" is not Watershed trying to write an AC/DC song. It's Watershed trying to write a Smithereens song that sounds like an AC/DC song. And just in case that combination doesn't win you over, the video features my kids and dog. We might still be castrated, but now we're coming at you with cuteness!