Wolfmother are back on home soil for their first headline tour in three years after spending the majority of 2016 touring and selling out theatres, stadiums and festivals around the world including North & South America, Europe and the UK. More recently they supported Guns ‘n Roses on their epic Australian tour. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to Andrew Stockdale about their Gypsy Caravan tour and all things Wolfmother.
It must be good being back on home soil starting your own tour?
Yeah, yeah, yeah! It has been two or three years since our last headline tour which should be good.
Is it exhausting being on the road touring for so long?
You know, I think it is good for me! I think it is good to be up there on the stage incidental exercise as they call it. I think you get better at playing, eat better and you look after yourself. I realise that some people are real home bodies and love to be at home and all this kind of stuff but this lifestyle speaks to me. Do you know what I mean? I like being in a city for one day!
Do you get a bit twitchy when you come off the road and are ready to start touring again?
Oh yeah, it is difficult to stay in one place! I’m quite proud of myself at the moment as I stayed at home for four days and cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner, clean up the house, build a shelf because I’m not the most domesticated person. I make an effort to be more domestic!
How was the whole Guns ‘n Roses tour?
It was really good, the Guns ‘n Roses crowd is pretty receptive to other bands so it is enjoyable to support that band because you’re not getting blocked off by their fans. We played two shows in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and we had people saying that we’re following Wolfmother, when’s your next show, we like what we saw and we thought wow this is a great opportunity to get in front of some different people.
That relationship with Slash must be pretty solid now? Planning on doing anything else with him?
I’m open to whatever he might have down the track. I don’t know how long the Guns ‘n Roses tour is if he decides to do something else that would be great to write some more songs for sure.
Is this most satisfied you have been in Wolfmother given the journey to date?
As an international band in Europe and America this is in some ways the most successful it has ever been. I definitely have got my head around touring, all these venues around the world I have played like three or four or five times and I have my favourite restaurants, hotels. It is familiar and the band seems like they want it. I think it is important to have a band that wants to be there and is hungry to get in front of a crowd, wants to play a good show. I think these guys, Ian and Alex, really appreciate the touring life and the crowds. It is interesting being around people who want to be there and have chosen this path.
Does it get frustrating when fans are still fixated with Wolfmother’s debut album and haven’t followed what you have done more recently?
That’s why we need to talk and spread the word on this matter! It is funny in Switzerland Victorious is number three and New Zealand it was number four. Different territories react really positively and some not as good as on the first record but that’s what happens over a ten year period. Everything, which is what I’ve had to accept and I have a better understanding of it now. Some people’s impression of the band was like Joker & The Thief at the ARIA’s in 2007 then there are others whose impression of the band is Victorious through some other medium.
As you progress people’s relationship with the band could be the first record, second record, New Crown, my solo thing and when you’re dealing with the broader public some people have got their job, something’s on Friday night, they’ve heard one song on Spotify and we’re just entertainment on a Friday night. Whereas I’m living and breathing everything I do and don’t really expect that kind of comprehensive knowledge from the consumer or the casual musical fan. I’m not sensitive about it or offended, I meet people and they go ‘you still play music?’ I respond ‘yeah, just played one hundred and twenty shows and put out a record’. The longer you stick around you don’t have that big shiny hype moment.
Do you still have faith in the concept of an album?
I think it depends on what part of the world you’re pitching for. In the UK they want a good, hard, solid single. The US is turning more in to the UK where they just want one good single and then they are done with you. I still believe that Wolfmother from the get go demonstrated some depth where you’ve got Woman, Mind’s Eye, Joker & The Thief, White Unicorn, Apple Tree and there’s more to it if you want it. It has always been the way with Cosmic Egg and New Crown it takes two or three years to sink in.
I’m a firm believer of a body of work such as a record or an EP because you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water if you don’t like the first thirty seconds of one song. There are people who are the record industry, managers of music labels underestimate people’s intelligence and interest in music just wanting to sugar feed them some sort of quick fix. People have a lot more attention span than they seem to believe. It just depend, it’s not pop or prog rock but it is somewhere in between the two.
Does that make it hard when you want to be prolific especially as how you mention it takes two to three years for it to sink in?
Well, I’m just recording at the moment and I want to get a record done in two weeks. I’ve had these demos for about six months but I would to have a more constant release schedule and a more consistent relationship with the fans. When people say you’ve got to go quiet and disappear! You know what happens when you go quiet and disappear? You go quiet and disappear! I’m a believer in what John Lennon said in “feed the beast or it looks at food elsewhere”.
I think that pop stars like Justin Bieber are too slow and all the copyright laws linked up with music is a limiting people who want to get in to music, limiting their ability to participate because of this draconian and oppressive way of writing eighty page contracts that just stitch up the copyrights and all these formats that do not exist rather than showing your demos, showing the process, doing bootlegs of live performances, releasing music as much as possible whether it is collaborations or with a band it should be an evolutionary process.
Live bootleg vinyls? That’s not something that’s common anymore?
We do have someone who has downloaded New Crown and has made counterfeit vinyl copies and selling them for two hundred and fifty dollars each. We only pressed five hundred copies of New Crown and it is worth two hundred and fifty dollars. Interesting because we’re getting fans emailing us saying why isn’t there the insert with the poster on it and we have to respond to these people saying that’s not from us.
Are there demos you’re working on specifically for Wolfmother or is Andrew Stockdale solo mode something that keeps bubbling away in the background?
I think that the terms and conditions of what Wolfmother is can be obliterated or changed. I have people say that we need to make a record just like the first one. If you try and do that by default it will never happen because chord progressions, lyrics, melodies and everything makes it so that you can’t make the same record twice. Everything keeps evolving whether it is a Wolfmother record or an Andrew Stockdale record I just put it all in to Wolfmother now and that’s the best avenue for exposure, we have the fans on board and people know about it.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Wolfmother are on tour now, check the dates below for a show near you…