Nine months. At the time of writing that’s how long the current WildscreW has been together.
I’ve been meaning to start this blog for quite a few months and now, finally getting around to it, I have the problem of how to cover the past. I’ve decided to make this, the first “sticky” blog entry, a general overview of the past year and in the future, the blogs which are concerned with the past, will be marked with FLASHBACK.
This blog simply aims to document events, from my perspective, about and around the rock band WildscreW. I certainly don’t know where this musical adventure will ultimately end-up, but I’d like to think we get at least one CD made and maybe some local air-time and fame.
It was the end of May 2014 that the final band member, Tobi on bass guitar, came to the practice session and joined Frank on drums, Erich and Thomas on rhythm/lead guitars, and myself, Andy, on vocals.
Thomas and I had already been working together since the end of 2010. Thomas would supply his guitar melodies and I’d write the lyrics to a vocal melody. Initially the process was primitive, but eventually we discovered REAPER, via Packeis. Packeis is a band which Thomas knew (as the lead guitarist, Martin, lives in the same village) and to whom he introduced me and for whom I wrote the lyrics for two of their songs, slated for their second studio album, but which unfortunately wasn’t recorded as the band split up at the start of 2013.
Originally I offered to write lyrics for the cover band, SIX ’01 in which Thomas played guitar, but when that band parted ways, Thomas asked me to sing for a new band which he wanted to form to play only original songs.
Getting a band together was much more difficult than I imagined. SIX ’01 had a male and female vocalist, neither of whom wanted to sing new material. Thomas and I had a brief meeting with Frank and Tobi in the summer of 2013, but both were tied up with personal business.
Another drummer Thomas knew, Florian, didn’t like my voice.
Adverts in music forums went unanswered.
In August 2013 I was on holiday to Jamaica and thinking about a band name. Thomas had suggested something which uses both our names, and whilst playing around with words and letters I eventually thought up the name WILDSCREW. You will see the name written Wildscrew, WildScreW, WildscreW in these blog entries, in order to imply the double meaning and replace an apostrophe with a letter (S).
During the course of the months the band logo was devised and, as a direct result of the logo employing a ß as a metal umlaut, the band name is now, correctly written, WildßcreW.
Thomas’ second name is Wild, so the obvious meaning, “Wild’s crew”, for “Wild’s team/band”. When written “Wild screw”, then the double entendre of the name reveals a not so subtle “wild sex”. The double entendre for the band name perfectly implies that the lyrics will be a mix of dirty innuendo and double entendre. The band name is also suitable for any combination of future band members – so long as Thomas (or a Wild) is a member. And with the name I subtly managed to imply ultimate responsibility for decisions on Thomas’ head. At the end of the day, in my opinion, there has to be a person who is effectively heading the band and deciding on any split or unpopular decisions.
A year after our one-time get together with Frank and Tobi, Thomas bumped into Erich at a party. Erich had played with SIX ’01 for a short while way back in 2001, when the band was formed (hence the name SIX ’01 = June 2001). Thomas asked Erich if he would be interested and he drunkenly agreed. As Erich and Frank also get along really well (anyone can get along well with Erich) then Erich’s phone call to Frank persuaded him to come along to a practice and Tobi followed soon after (his participation being delayed as he was practising with another band for a farewell session at one of the band member’s birthday party).
Once we knew that the band was starting to take shape, Thomas started to make enquiries about a practice room. Most were overpriced or badly located, or both. Then he had a eureka moment. One of his sisters had recently moved into an old one-time smallholding with large wine cellar and huge barn. Thomas asked her if it would be ok if we practised there.
Our original plan was to use the spacious vaulted wine cellar – and we started to break and remove the massive oak wine barrels that had stood there over the decades. But after a days work we regrettably decided, that the cellar would be too damp for the instruments.
After a weeks thinking, Thomas decided to use a corner of his sister’s barn, we had to move/sell stuff to make room, and at less than 16 square metres the room is more than cosy. The practice room, rent free, was constructed in the months up to the end of April 2014.
Once the band was together we started to work on the songs. “On My Own” followed by “Stung!” followed by “Jezebel”. During the summer months it seemed everyone had planned their holiday in such a manner that, as one came back, another left, resulting in one or two practices during July and August. After that practices were pretty much every week on a Friday, or another day if work or other commitments necessitated it.
In November we undertook a visit to a recording studio. We’d picked the studio, Moburec, located in Mainz, which had been responsible for Packeis’ first album.
Our plan was to go to the studio and record an EP, two or three songs, in order to gain studio experience for the recording of the other ten/twelve later. After a talk with the owner/producer, David Buballa, we were persuaded that it would be better (financially) to tack on an extra weekend and record all our songs into an album. As Thomas and I already had the songs (at that time around twenty), we just needed time to practice them with the band. We agreed to call David in the new year and arrange a meeting, at our practice room, so he could listen and give us a few pointers as to our progress.
Erich called David in January and arranged a meeting at the end of March. The 27th to be exact.
The practice time leading up to March was unfortunately perforated by Frank’s work commitments, but a few weeks leading up to the meeting we managed to practice twice a week.
About a month ago, having eight songs in our repertoire, Erich suggested that we play one or two of Defender’s songs. Defender was the name of one of the bands Erich played in, and their album, “Hard Works” was released in 1995. The consensus decided upon “Painkiller” which had to be knocked down a couple of pitches for my vocal range.
Our most recent practice, last Friday, we’d all nine songs in our repertoire pretty much sorted and, although the practice for next week couldn’t take place, due to Frank’s work commitments, we planned an extra practice on the Tuesday, before Friday the 27th.
Yesterday evening Frank sent a mail. Due to work he wasn’t going to be able to make practice till the end of April. I haven’t spoken to Thomas yet, but it looks like we’re going to have to postpone the meeting with David.