Today’s interviews felt a bit like the gig itself: Reigning Days followed by Wilson. Lead singer Chad meets me outside the venue and introduces himself and despite his intense performance on Friday night, before the show, he’s incredibly relaxed. We chat about touring with Halestorm, performing in Paris, their future plans and even do a Tom Hank impression. You know the one I mean.
Firstly, welcome back to Glasgow. How’s the tour going so far?
Thank you for welcoming us back. It’s been great; it’s our first time doing headlining dates in the UK. Each show’s been really rad and unexpected for us. We’re really happy with how it’s going.
You’ve just finished the European leg with Halestorm who you’ve toured with in the past. It must have been like a family reunion.
Yeah, it was like going home at Christmas time or something like that, you know? We get along with them really well and they seem to, for some reason, have taken a liking to us. So we can’t complain. The shows are all great and we just have a blast with those guys – and lady!
Obviously, you played Paris during this run. With recent events, what was that like?
It was surreal. Everybody had that feeling of “How is this gonna go? Are people gonna come out? Are they going to feel they’re safe and ok?” What happened at The Bataclan is, hands-down, one of the most fucked up that has happened. A rock and roll show is a sacred place, you’re blowing off your steam for your week. You’ve chosen that place to spend your money, to be around these people and do this thing, to live your actual life. It’s not like you’re going to work or sitting in a subway to go somewhere. You’re experiencing something that you’re here to and you have the right to experience. The fact that they were able to potential instil fear is the most fucked up, most – how do I say it? – cowardly that you can possibly do to someone. Paris was the best show of that entire tour, there was no fear in the air at all. From the moment the first note hit to the minute they shut the lights off, it was pure insanity. It was incredibly heart-warming to feel the people say “Fuck you” essentially to these people who are trying to instil fear in them, rising up and giving them the middle finger. It was awesome. For the band, I can’t even imagine.
Getting a bit more light-hearted, how would you describe the band’s sound?
I think we’re the rock and roll band you turn on when it’s your last Friday night on Earth. We try to be the soundtrack to everybody’s good time. We try to be the soundtrack to that blowing off of steam, to tying off the dead weight and walking through the fire and burning it off. To us, I think we sound like a thousand bastard swords swinging through the night and cracking every beer bottle. But at the heart of it is rock and roll.
And what can we expect from a live show?
I don’t know what to tell you, to be honest because every night’s a little bit different. It’s one of those things where, for us, it’s the same sort of meditation. We’re going onstage to blow off all our bullshit. We look at the experience as one, we’re one person, you know? The “Royal we” in the room, if you will. There’s always something unexpected. You can expect lots of sweat, booze, loud music and good times. What else comes from that, I’m not really sure.
Your newest album, Right to Rise, got a lot of well-deserved attention. What did you learn from recording Full Blast Fuckery to bring onboard for the new album?
With Full Blast Fuckery, Jason Spencer [guitarist] and I were pretty much the sole writers of the record and we never thought about anything other than “This is a song, let’s record it”. Some of those songs have been sitting around for a while. We were actually going to make an EP and then we were like “Let’s do a full length” because we got approached by the producer we really wanted to work with. So it was a case of “This is what our sound is going to sound like and this is what the song is going to sound like” and that’s it. With Right to Rise, we took the time to go through everything in the song, think about it, how we wanted to present it. If there was fat that we could cut away, how to make it leaner and more mean but still implant itself in someone’s head as they’re walking down the street and they think about something. We wrote together as a five-piece instead of two people writing the record in rooms like this, bouncing ideas off each other. It was very much a collaborative experience and we learned a lot from writing with each other.
You’ve toured with some impressive bands over the years, who would you most like to tour with?
Everybody would have a different answer but if I could give the collaborative answer, I feel like it would be Foo Fighters. Or AC/DC.
Do you get anyone making Tom Hanks impressions from Castaway?
“Wilson! Wilsoooon!” [laughs] Yes! It was thought upon early on if we should change the band name because the band was started while Jason to college as a way to get free beer at house parties and playing bars like this. When we needed a name for the flyer, drunkenly, Jason said “Just put Wilson on it, man!” We played a bunch of shows as “Wilson” and it was kinda too late locally, but nationally, nobody really knows who the band is so maybe we could change it but we just said “Fuck it” and if they remember the band because of these other things at first when you’re trying to get discovered, then awesome. There’s so many terrible band names out and there and weird ones. What was the one I was thinking of the other day…Bowling For Soup! [laughs] Somebody said “This is what our band is going to be called” and no-one said “No”. But then they wrote music and did what they needed to do to build that brand so we just said “Fuck it, let’s keep Wilson” and every single fan we have, at least on social media, because of the umpteen thousands of people, millions of people who have the last name Wilson and people who have friends with the last name Wilson, everybody has a friend with the last name Wilson…it’s really hard to find your band on the internet. So every person who has found our band and stumbled across our band through social media; we know those are real fans! [laughs] The had to go through “Not Charlie Wilson, not Dick Wilson. Fuck, the band Wilson! Not Brian Wilson from the…not The Monkees, The Beach Boys!
What are the band’s plans for the rest of the year?
We finish this tour, go home, we’re going to announce another tour back in the States and we have a bunch of festivals which we’re playing. We’ll probably go back out June and July back home and figure it out from there. We’re hoping to get back over here before the end of the year, maybe on support or something.