Wilson rocks hard – really hard. Detroit Proud wants to give an advance warning to cities on Wilson's upcoming European tour: if you're into soft, coffee house rock, PLEASE take cover!
Wilson's high-energy album and live shows are a rock fan's dream mix of loud, thundering, distorted guitars, killer vocals, spit, and whiskey! Detroit's hard rock/metal band, Wilson, is ready to blaze though their first European tour, starting in Ireland in late February 2015.
Before Wilson hits the road, CW50 caught up with Wilson guitarist, Jason Spencer, and singer, Chad Nicefield, to talk about their upcoming tour, Detroit's music scene, and what it's like to deliver old school rock 'n' roll! Max out the volume on whatever device you can, listen to Wilson's debut album, and check out what the guys had to say!
For Detroit Proud readers who are new to Wilson – tell us how you got your start?
Jason Spencer: Wilson got its start in the beautiful lands of East Lansing, MI. The band started out as an excuse for free beer and a good time while I was enjoying my time at MSU. However, the desire to take it further came shortly after a small, unexpected crowd began to form at every show. I think it was at that point we realized this could be more than a short-lived memory.
Were there musicians that helped formulate your sound?
Jason Spencer: You know, that is the hardest question to answer! The band never had intentions of being anything else other than a solid force of rock 'n' roll on steroids. We like anything and everything, so I'd have to say our subconscious influences led to this monster.
Describe Detroit's music scene and what it's like to be a Detroit rock band right now.
Jason Spencer: Detroit's music scene is pretty much all over the place. There is something for everyone, and that diversity, along with a unique community of hard-working musicians who show pride in what they do, allows Detroit speak its mind. To an outsider, a Detroit rock band is often seen as dangerous - simply because of the place we are from and the things they hear about the city. However, there is nothing better than when we do a tour and show that a Detroit band works longer and harder, day-in-day-out.
Chad Nicefield: Detroit is a cultural and artistic melting pot. It's exciting to be a band in Detroit, it's even more exciting to be a fan of live music in Detroit! The city is overflowing with talent, and we have our musical heritage to thank for that! For as much pain as we've had, we have persevered throughout the years, and we can be thankful to have the beautiful art it has created. And for the most part, musicians and artists truly support each other here. I can't speak for other cities, nor can I really be a true voice for ours, but I can praise what I observe. And be proud to be a part of that boiling pot!
Today's popular music is overflowing with Pop and EDM. Is there an attitude Wilson has to simply deliver hard rock 'n' roll?
Jason Spencer: Well, we've grown up on real music, created with real instruments and performed by real people. I guess it's hard to fully understand the craze of current Pop and EDM; I mean, I totally get it, but I don't quite get how it overcomes the aggression, power, and overall feeling of a live rock show. As a guitar player, I love the pressure of someone playing a solo and knowing that a string could break at any time, or a drummer adding in an unexpected fill to a song I am familiar with. There is an unbeatable human aspect. That being said, we simply strive to give it our all on that stage, day-in and day-out.
Despite having a fantastic rock record, are there challenges being recognized within the music industry because there are less hard rock acts than in years past?
Jason Spencer: There is no denying that the rock industry is a challenge. I think everything in rock is such a careful, but hectic process. So many things have to fall into place at the right time. I mean, we've had our fair share of difficulties, and STILL face them every day. But you know, if you truly love what you do, even the smallest gains are massive. By having that drive and dedication towards something you believe in, people will notice. I think the hardest challenge to any rock act is having a solid team of folks who are on the same page.
Wilson is making it the old fashioned way – making quality rock music and building a fan base with killer live shows. Was it a goal to let your record and shows reach fans and try to avoid the internet and social media? Or did that just happen organically?
Jason Spencer: Things have been mostly organic. I can't sit here and say we are a band that doesn't use social platforms, or musical websites. We use all of the social networks and internet, but at the same time, we don't rely on them to speak for us. They are simply tools for entertainment and knowledge. The thing is, we really only know how to do it the old fashioned way. The internet and social media have just made the old fashioned way more fun. If you follow any of our social networks, you'll find that we mess around half the time.
What can fans expect at Friday's Black Christmas show?
Jason Spencer: A night of epic moments, great music, reunited musicians, friends, fans, and family. It is a rad show, and I highly recommend it to any show-goer!
(Click HERE to find tickets for Wilson's Black Christmas show at The Majestic Complex, happening this Friday!)
What does it feel like to play a show in Detroit versus other cities?
Jason Spencer: Well, there is definitely a warm feeling that resonates through the room! Seeing how we have so many friends and family members scattered around the area, playing the city has a "homecoming" feeling.
Chad Nicefield: Well, there is the obvious "There's no place like home!" answer. And that certainly rings VERY, VERY true here, but there's something more visceral about Detroit shows beyond that. There is a sense of urgency, a sense of ownership in the crowd here. The way our family here energizes us is uncanny to any other city...even when we are playing some festival with tens of thousands of people, my heart never races as fast as when I am on stage in Detroit.
What other Detroit bands/musicians should Detroit Proud readers check out?
Chad Nicefield: Oh man, the list is FAR too long...I'll drop a few here, but do yourself a favor and get out there and spend the $5-$10 on taking a chance on a local show. By NOT buying two Starbucks drinks a week, or that last round of blackout shots, you could find yourself falling in love all over again with your fist in the air. Against The Grain, Nice Hooves, Old Gods, Malo Konjche, Bars Of Gold, Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas, Battlecross, Flint Eastwood, Tunde Olaniran, Reverend, Koffin Kats, The Meatmen, Bastardous, The A Gang, Hellmouth, Shapes And Colors...I wish I could just go on and on!
Wilson is about to head to Europe – what does this mean to the band and what are you looking forward to the most?
Jason Spencer: It's an opportunity to share our music abroad. That is something we are definitely looking forward to. With every show, there are new impressions and we are always incredibly thankful for that. Being a bunch of dudes from Detroit, you learn to take care and truly respect the outcomes of hard work. Aside from that, seeing Europe and experiencing it every day with two other great bands will be rad.
Wilson's album, videos, and live shows rock from start to finish – where do you guys find all of this energy?!
Jason Spencer: It just happens! We are five dudes who let it all out. It's never forced, we just are who we are.
What's the best part about touring or being on the road?
Jason Spencer: The best part is the adventure into the unknown. There are so many little things that go into touring that can't be explained. From the 4:36am gas station stop in Montana to the 9pm stage time in Germany...it's a whirlwind of unknown events until you arrive at your destination.
When Wilson isn't touring, where are some of the places you guys hang out around Detroit?
Jason Spencer: You can typically find any one of us wandering the streets of Ferndale.
Chad Nicefield: We tend to stick with our friends and family. We love to experience new, locally-owned businesses that opened while we were away. You can catch us supporting and geeking out to our friends' bands at venues like The Crofoot, Magic Stick, The Loving Touch, Smalls, etc; find us smashing tacos and shots at Imperial in Ferndale or grabbing a late night beer at The Bronx; taking our ladies out to the Sugar House or Vinsetta Garage; catching a flick at Main Art Theater or drinking 'til we can't stand at places like Sneakers, Ye Old Saloon etc.
Is this the year the Lions make a playoff run?
Jason Spencer: I mean, you can only hope, right?! We are not sports fanatics, but I can honestly say we are Detroit sports fans. We grew up watching the Lions, Tigers, and Wings, and continue to stand by them when abroad.
Want more WILSON? Visit Wilson's website for tour dates, merchandise, and to listen to their new full-length album - and check out the official music videos for "Better Off (Strictly Doods)" and "If You Ever Leave Me, I will Find You".
Don't miss Wilson LIVE at The Majestic Complex, this Friday, for Black Christmas...with fellow Michigan bands: Suicide Machines, Mustard Plug, Koffin Kats, Negative Approach, Walls of Jericho, and MORE!
(Get into the spirit with this week's Black Christmas-themed Detroit Proud Playlist!)
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