It proclaims it right there on their website and in their promotional materials, big and bold: “We Are The Wild! And We Are Fucking Crazy.” That, along with the stage names of the band members (Dylan Villain/lead vocals & guitar, Lucas Boozus, bass/vocals, Pistol Pete, rhythm guitar and Reese Lightning/drums) paints an image of outlaw biker, hard drinkin’, hard partying guys. Hell, the opening song on their album is titled Party Til You’re Dead.
All of the above has to be marketing hype, right? After all, the very foundation of rock music was built on rebellion and “in your face” attitude.
But…if the old expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true, then in the case of The Wild!, a video is worth a million. Feast your eyes and ears on these:
OK, so now you’re convinced. These guys are the real deal. They’re the kind of guys you definitely wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of, but the type you’d want to have your back in a bar brawl. In conversing with Villain he says that he’s not concerned that people might be a bit skeptical. “I think a lot of people are able to spot bullshit when they see it. Even if people did think that of us, we wouldn’t give a shit anyway because we know who we are and what we’re about. We have never tried to do anything. We’ve always just done it, whatever it was. I think that’s one of the biggest problems with today’s musical landscape in general. Too many people trying to be something they are not. Not enough people being real. My advice is to just own it, whatever it is, whoever you are. People appreciate that shit and notice it. Conviction–always be real.”
One of the first curiosities about the band is the cryptic title of their album, GxDxWxB. After viewing their videos, one might think there’s a “guns” and “booze” involved. You’d be on the right track, sort of. Vilian explains “GxDxWxB or GDWB stands for God Damn Wild Boys. It started a long time ago in the early days of touring. It seemed like at the end of every tour we’d bring Boozus home good and drunk. His old lady used to curse us for doing it by saying ‘You goddamn wild boys!’. After that, it stuck around with the crew for a while before the fans got a hold of it and started saying it all the time. They’d yell it at us at the shows and it became this cool thing they all called us. From there it found its way all over our merch and when it came time to name the record, we thought it would be a cool way to bring it all under one roof, you know? For the fans.”
In reading the bio on their website, it states “The band hails from the wilds of Kelowna, B.C., where they grew up like every rural teenager. ’We were riding around in crappy vehicles down dirt roads, listening to old rock ‘n roll, punk rock & metal records going to bush parties, hunting and fishing, Dylan says.'” When asked if it was difficult to get exposure to the music industry in such a backwater environment, Villain growls sarcastically “Yeah man, it was SO hard to leave our igloos to venture out into the snow leaving our pet polar bears and beer league hockey teams behind…” Just when it seems it might be time to gracefully terminate the interview early to save one’s skin, he laughs heartedly. “Nah. Come on man. Canada is rad. The drives are long and the highways are shit but that’s never slowed us down. We work our asses off. Straight up. That’s what we did to get Canada to notice us. Played everywhere, anywhere and all the time with anyone. “
The album was produced by Mike Fraser, a producer with a long and successful track record. AC/DC, Metallica, Aerosmith, Joe Satriani and a host of others. So how did a young band from the Canadian backcountry attract his attention?
“As for Mike, he and our manager know each other. I remember getting that call. ‘You wanna make a record with Mike Fraser? Our manager had sent him the video for Roadhouse and Mike called him right away saying he wanted to work with us. What a trip right? Of course I said YES. Since then Mike has become like an older brother to me. He’s a very close friend and we absolutely love working with him. Not only does his resume speak for itself, he’s also one of the hardest working and most genuine guys in the game. I couldn’t say enough good things about him. Love ya, Fraze!”
While having two lead vocalists isn’t unknown, it certainly isn’t common, either. Having two players doing lead vocals adds a lot to the sound, particularly since Villain and bass player/vocalist Boozus have distinctly different voices. Was that something you planned from the start of The Wild!, or was it something that slowly came about over time?
Villain says “I don’t really remember how it happened. We’re both singers. Some parts suit him better. Others suit me. I can usually tell when I’m writing if something would sound better with Boozus on it. It’s all what’s best for the song. I love the contrast between both of our styles. They’re very different but work together very well.”
In the band’s bio, it mentions their influences of punk rock and Delta Blues. It’s interesting to hear a hard rock band mention Delta Blues. Mention “the blues” to most people and they’ll say something like “Oh, I really like B.B. King!” Not too many people are familiar with guys like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Albert King. How did their interest in that type of blues develop?
“My dad, for sure” says Villain. “He’s a rock ‘n’ roller, no doubt. But he’s always taught me about the blues and how important they are. You’ve heard it before and it’s true. There ain’t no rock ‘n’ roll without the blues man. They’ve been in me from the jump. Again, it’s going back to being real. It’s the conviction those old school Delta cats had. Some of the realest shit ever.”
As of now, the Wild!’s website only lists tour dates in Canada. After having listened to GxDxWxB extensively it’s like man, you guys need to come to the U.S.! “We’ll keep our heads down and work hard. The rest will follow. Really looking forward to getting into the U.S. as we have not toured there yet. Shine up your party boots. We’re comin!”