The Wild! – Photo by Joelsview Photography
An interview feature by Keith Sharp
If things had gone according to plan, The Wild! Would have been basking in the adoration of their European fans right now. A 17-date jaunt through Hungary, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, France, Holland and England was all set to launch the Kelowna B.C band’s third album `Still Believe In Rock And Roll’ (Entertainment One) with March 20th in Dresden Germany earmarked for the day their disc was scheduled to drop.
But the dreaded COVID-19 virus which is currently paralyzing the globe put pay, not only to those dates but also to follow up May dates in Canada with scheduled double bills with fellow rockers, Airbourne originally set for London Music Hall (May 19), Toronto’s Lee’s Palace (May 20th) and other dates In Quebec City and Montreal all deleted from their calendar. Instead The Wild! had to make do with a Livestream quarantine concert which was broadcast on Facebook April 4th
watch it here.
With no foreseeable dates in the near future, a year of touring that the band had meticulously planned to ignite interest in their latest opus has been shredded leaving The Wild!, like virtually every other band and artist on this planet, in performance limbo.
“I can’t begin to tell you how frustrated I really am,” noted guitarist/lead vocalist Dylan Villain over the phone from his Kelowna residence as he contemplates what to do next. “Every fuckin day, I am getting angry that we can’t play and can’t promote our new album but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
In what had boiled down to a tale of two phone calls, the first chat saw Villain in a buoyant mood as he and fellow Wild! Members; guitarist Benny The Kid, bassist Boozus and drummer Crash Anderson were biting at the bit to celebrate what they believe is a major recording accomplishment.
Working in sync with master producer/engineer Mike Fraser (whose hard rock credits include work with the likes of AC/DC, Metallica and Aerosmith) The Wild! have fashioned 10 tracks of frenetic power rock like, “Bad News”, “Gasoline”, “Playing With Fire” with debut single “King Of This Town” already impacting the heavy metal charts.
In that first conversation, Villain was exuberant about the end result of their sessions, and, The Wild! had enjoyed great success in both North America and Europe with their first two album releases; 2015 debut GxDxWxB and 2017 follow up `Wild At Heart’.
“Europe, in particular, gets us, people in places like Germany and Sweden are really into us. We have played there to thousands of fans and then come back to play obscure clubs in Canada but that’s okay,” Villain explained. “We had this whole year planned around playing in Europe and Canada but look what happened in just one week!”
At the time of that first conversation, Villain was painfully aware of how the COVID-19 virus was starting to spread from China into the U.S and Italy but had his fingers crossed that somehow the band’s tour schedule would be spared. His final line of that first interview was, “Okay guys, don’t forget to wash your hands”
“But it was painfully obvious, what was about to happen. You could see what was developing. We had worked hard to finish our album in time for this tour but now it’s been released at arguably the worst possible time,” noted Villain. “So for a band which relies so heavily on playing live, not only for the income but for the pure release of energy, it is so frustrating that this has been taken away from us.”
Villain claims some European dates could still be rescheduled for the Fall, but with key summer festival dates also in doubt, it’s a sign of the times that The Wild! has released a killer rock album but with few means to promote it.
“I guess there’s an opportunity to be writing new songs,” responded Villain when asked what he could do to fill the unexpected time void. “But I don’t feel like doing anything right now except to sit back and hang on day by day. I am sure I will be picking up my guitar pretty soon because I don’t know what else to do. I am a product of my environment but I don’t like writing depressing songs about nothing in particular. Maybe I’ll get some angry music.”
It’s a frustration that virtually every artist, record company executive, concert promoter, club owner and event organizer is feeling right now. It is unprecedented that COVID-19 could take such a stranglehold on the entire planet which has virtually ground to a halt.
“It just shows you how this entire music industry now relies on live performance to exist, it’s the way things are these days,” Villain shrugged. “We have just got to stop worrying about what could have been and just accept the reality of the current situation. As frustrating as I get thinking about how things could have gone, it’s important to remember that everyone out there has been affected by this pandemic and we should think beyond ourselves during this time and that’s the mentality that will pull us out of this quicker.”