The members of the band Wilson were all sitting in a row on a couch in the green room of Wooly’s in Des Moines, Iowa, ordering sushi and preparing for their show that night, when we had a chance to speak with them about their beginnings and where this tour is taking their careers in the music scene. At the time of our interview Wilson was on the “Fate or Chaos” North American tour with GWAR and Warbeast. The tour kicked off April 10th, 2013 in Tucson, AZ, and was ending on April 25th, 2013 in Jacksonville, FL.
The Wilson band line-up includes Chad Nicefield (frontman), Jason Spencer (guitarist), Kyle Landry (guitarist), Matt Puhy (drummer) and James Lascu (bass).
This tour as the opening act for Warbeast and GWAR is the Michigan-based band’s first time on a club size event, covering mostly markets they haven’t yet been exposed to. Even though they are fairly new to the music scene on a national level, they’ve previously secured some larger scale opening gigs with bands like Foxy Shazam and FuckFace Unstoppable, MTV jackass Bam Margera’s band.
Guitarist Spencer is the only original member of the band, with the rest of the current line-up solidifying in just the last three to four years. What started as a party band that just wanted to play rock-n-roll got more serious as their fans became more serious about them, showing up regularly to their shows and actually enjoying their music and their unique show style, which they often refer to as fuckery.
As an unsigned artist, Wilson released their debut 8-track EP, Standing on the Reel, in 2010. In July of this year they’ll have the support of a label when they release their first full-length album, produced by Steve Evetts (Dillinger Escape Plan, Saves the Day and Every Time I Die). On the new album, the band explained that while it will still be “full fuckery” just as they would describe the style of their EP, the new album is also going to be their first fully collaborative effort, now that they have all become comfortable with each other. Their previously released tracks have included some interesting song titles including Viking Pussies Fuck Off, If You Ever Leave Me I Will Find You and I Can Beat Your Dad. The band says their sound is evolving. And because they are now older they feel they are ready to write music about 30-year-old dude stuff, in their own unique, fun, crazy way. It will be interesting to hear how maturity will influence the new material, and song title choices.
Opening for a band like GWAR can’t be an easy feat. Having to contend with that kind of showmanship, atmosphere and the type of crazed fans GWAR pulls in, would scare most any band away. When it comes to the subject of what it was like to get the GWAR gig and heading out on tour, drummer Puhy had this to say: “Right when we first pulled up everybody introduced themselves. Was very kind and open from the get-go. You didn’t even realize you were opening for them until they actually went on stage and started playing. Then the show happens and it’s like WOW, this is fucking ridiculous. It’s impossible to compete with a band like GWAR. It’s definitely really comfortable and fun. We get to see and learn from them every night.”
But frontman Nicefield admitted to experiencing a bit more anxiety than Puhy did in preparation for the gig with GWAR. “I had real terrible sleeping issues leading up to it. Worrying about it all the time. I had heard all these bad stories about bands legitimately getting booed off stage, bottles thrown at them, because they just wanted to see GWAR.” However, their shows have been much more well received than Nicefield expected. He says nothing remotely close to how he imagined GWAR fans would respond to their band has happened. “At first they are always super hesitant. But by the end of the set, everyone’s fists are in the fucking air and going ape-shit. Their crowd is fucking awesome. A GWAR crowd is awesome. It bridges so many different types of people from your nerdy sci-fi dude to your total metal guy, and everything that is in between.”
No doubt Wilson puts on a good show, based on the appreciation for their show style from their hometown fans. While they may not employ the costumes, props and blood that a band like GWAR does, they put a lot of energy and fun into their shows. Nicefield told us the intent is to make each show like “the last Friday night on Earth.” At their recent stop in Des Moines, Iowa the crowd was energetic and responsive when Wilson opened the show. GWAR fans had their fists in the air for Wilson, and by the time they performed their fourth song in the set, a most pit had broken out. Towards the end of the set Nicefield jumped off the stage and strapped a drum on the front of him. The drum had the words “fuckery” written across it with black duct tape. He rushed straight for the most pit, marching around beating the drum while everyone continued to mosh. This is just one example of what a Wilson show is like, and what they mean when they say it’s full fuckery. Read the full show review from Des Moines here.
Like so many bands today, Wilson has documented many of their tour escapades through video. But one of the more interesting documentaries Nicefield has offered the band’s fans throughout the last year when they’ve been on tour is his shit blog. As he explained to us, at each restroom stop in various cities, he takes a picture of the toilet. Then he sits down to do his “business.” As he’s doing his business he looks at his surroundings and rates the experience, commenting on the type of toilet, the smell, the toilet paper quality and other characteristics. Nicefield’s shit blog can be found on his Instagram account. Revolver Magazine was so enamored with the shitter reviews that the magazine decided to place them on their website under a section titled Dark Thrones: Hard Rockers WILSON Rate Toilets On the Road.
Now that the GWAR tour is over, Wilson will head out as a supporting act for Newsted, ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted’s new band. After their album comes out, Wilson plans to go on a small record release tour in the markets where they are more well-known. The band will make several appearances at festivals this summer. You can see them at Bled Fest in Howell, Michigan on May 25. They’re playing the Common Ground festival in Lansing on July 10th with Slash/Myles Kennedy, Sevendust, and others. They’ve played DirtFest in Birch Run, Michigan the last two years and plan to play it again this year on August 10; the other supporting acts include Adam Gontier, Asking Alexandria, Trapt and Pop Evil. And lastly, Wilson is expected to join the lineup for GWAR-B-Q, the music festival GWAR holds each year in Richmond, VA in August; those expected to perform include Municipal Waste, Corrosion of Conformity, Pig Destroyer and others.
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