Tell me about your experiences with Parador and this album. All this activity the past two years and not much of a peep since 1997 (TurboSherbet). What happened during the "lost years" other than a
greatest hits album?
WW: Recently the speed at which I work increased. Don’t know why… maybe
having kids now. "Wisely" was cut quickly compared to "Parador".
Basically, it took me half a decade to discover that I will never stop
being a recording artist and that I must commit 100% to it. The new
label sensed this, and that’s why "Wisely" is gonna take a long walk on
my behalf, and bringing new people to my music. I do love this new
record so much. It’s breezy and spacious!
Also during those quiet years, my vinyl-only band the Conquerors
(1996-1999) was very active with a couple releases on Get Hip. We
really only played in the Twin Cities, and rocked the Vox Continental
and other period-piece instruments, and slacks. I wanted to be in a
"band" for a while, where it wasn’t my face at stake all the time. It
ended in an on-stage fist fight in Atlanta with me and the guitarist…
so I’m assuming it didn’t work out very well. They still play without
me, and without my songs, and without my slacks. I also wrote like
mad, wrote a couple hundred songs in those 8 years, and established
myself in LA as a producer (produced a record for comedian Andy Dick…
Do you think the internet has granted you more or less control over
your music and how it’s released?
WW: Less, because my music is stolen all the time. I no longer get music/software via PTP, because it was corrupting my soul. However, more control, in light of the fact that impact is instantaneous and fans come from so many places… places that I can’t imagine. Everyday my music turns up somewhere I didn’t put it… a wonderful development… and a growing fanbase is, ironically, a mechanism of control.
Who do you think your harshest critic has been (aside from
yourself, of course)?
WW: Everyone’s greatest critic, including say a Springsteen or Prince, are
the people who reject their music upon first listen. People who reject one’s music out of hand often have the most illumination to offer in regards to why aesthetically it sucks… but of course an artist will not have the time or will power to withstand all that… so the best criticism will always go unheard. Luckily my music never sucks to everyone.
What artists inspire you, or inspire competitive feelings in you?
WW: Weird question, almost contemptuous, but I’ll answer. Simple: PRINCE.
He dances like James Brown, plays guitar better than anyone alive, writes smash hit songs, indulges his quirks, suffers no fools, looks awesome, and does everything on his own terms. My best shows will make hilarious attempts to be a facsimile to his… hilarious because they fail, in that self-aware kind of way. For instance, a few months ago I was dancing and the mic stand hit me in the balls. Everyone laughed… but it wasn’t funny to one person in the
room. Even though it was. (Ouch. But you must admit audiences love a good crotch hit.)
You’ve been recently married and had a baby (congratulations, by the
way), which are pretty mature, adult things to do. Will you still be
able to write from the same perspectives and the same themes as you
have in the past?
WW:It changed. Ten years ago my music was about love and infidelity…
Now it’s about love and fidelity.
The new album "Wisely" has a very West Coast feel. Where did you grow
up and what where your influences at that point and how have they changed?
WW: I grew up under the liquor cabinet where my parents kept James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, Donovan, Rod Stewart and the Beatles. NO big surprises there. WIth "Wisely" I simply wanted to make a record that sounded stripped of pretense and nostalgia. Everyone keeps saying it sounds like the west coast… does that mean I failed to delete all nostalgia?
Do you prefer "William" or "Willie"??
WW:I answer to Bill (high school friends), Billy (parents), William (the
IRS), and Willie (people that meet me face to face), and Wisely (new
fans). I love it all. It’s helpful to have a name for each of my egos.
Are you in touch with any band-mates of the Willie Wisely Trio?
WW: The Trio, Greg Wold (trombone), Peter Anderson (drums), James Voss
(Upright bass) and I reunited after 14 years apart and recorded a new
record. It’s all but mixed. I may or may not release it next because
there’s another record produced with John Fields that’s also largely
complete. I’ll know more soon.
Thanks for the interview, I can’t wait to hear the next solo project or the reunited Trio.