Wildstreet, coming out of the ashes of this horrific 2020, recently put out the “Set It Off”. The boys are a gritty, in your face, just Rock n Roll band out of New York City. We had a chance to chat with Wildstreet at the Back Bar in Janesville, Wisconsin. We chatted about the current climate of live shows, upcoming tours, and what the band has in store.
Wildstreet band pic
We’re here with Wildstreet here in Janesville, Wisconsin. How's everyone doing tonight?
Wildstreet: Great.
So you guys are out on tour, pretty short tour, right?
WS: Like, two and a half weeks.
You’re about halfway through right now, aren’t you?
WS: Yeah just about, testing new waters.
How’s it been going? Good crowds? Has it been mostly sit down crowds?
WS: They’ve been standing up. There’s a couple where they could stand. I mean, most nights have been, some nights kind of have both? They have seats and they always are set up. Some people haven’t been getting up. We played in Pennsylvania, and it was for a limited capacity. It was pretty packed. We have played a couple different ways, people are a little apprehensive, a little timid, but then it feels pretty much normal by the end for everyone. Then everybody wants to talk to you afterwards. Usually, you know, people just aren’t quite sure how to act.
Yeah, I imagine it’s kind of weird out there right now. So, you guys have been around a lot of places, just overall, through your career. Out of everywhere you’ve been, what’s probably the worst place you’ve been to. How about the worst town? Maybe not a venue, specifically, a bad town.
WS: I don’t know if I have an answer to that. Yeah. Most of the time, if it was bad, it was usually due to circumstances that had little to do with what city we were in. So, I can tell you what the worst show we ever played was. Okay, so we showed up on a holiday to this bar on the outskirts of the city. And there was one person there. He kind of looked like a toothless redneck. I think he was just coming in to use the bathroom. And then maybe he stayed. Yeah; basically, you know, some of the dudes in the band didn’t really care, and Jimmy and I were like, “Yeah, man. Let’s rock this!”, so for the first time ever, I wore my pink leather bell bottoms. And so that one man, he got the show of his life. I got heckled.
Is that probably the worst heckle you’ve ever gotten?
WS:bIt was something. Yeah. But, that was the worst show. But we still killed it.
All that matters, right? Yeah. As long as you’re having a good time who cares about anyone else?
WS: That’s the whole point.
So you guys put out a big 80s vibe and aesthetic. So, I’m sure you get a lot of comparisons to the 80’s bands like Poison and Motley Crue. Which one are you tired of hearing the most? Who do you hate to be compared to?
WS: Sometimes people just think we’re a cover band. That’s the one thing; they think we’re just here to play Motley Crue songs. We just play rock and roll. Yeah, that’s the bottom line. It doesn't matter what decade, you know. Anyway, I don’t have a problem with what anyone thinks we sound like. Yeah, sometimes people think we’re a cover band, that’s the only thing that gets a little like, weird.
Who are you guys major influences then? Is it a little bit everything from rock to classical to metal...
WS: We’re all over the place, this is a very strange group. At the end of the day, we just want to make rock music, and have a good time.
Just want to make music you enjoy, right?
WS: And we all kind of meet in the middle and if anybody wants to come and hang out and play with us? That’s awesome; we all do like the same things. At the end of the day, though, you know, we’re weird, but we all… we bash each other for musical tastes. And then there will be a song that comes on that we all sing.
Usually something crazy, like Enya right?
WS: Rick James, Oh my God, he’s a pretty good one!
So, with the shorter tours and all that, like this one specifically, is it like harder to do the shorter tours? Because by the time, you’re coming out of it. You’re just kind of getting in the rhythm. Or are they a little easier? Because it’s like, all right, just a quick little vacation here.
WS: Well, this is like a warm up tour. We have other things coming. And we want to bring our best. It’s still a little unsure out there. So yeah, it’s better to keep it a little smaller. Things change rapidly. With no one knowing.
So, planning on a larger tour for later in the year.
WS: Yeah. Hopefully. Eventually, stuff will be announced. Like, we are playing at the Rock Fest. We’re playing at Swiss Rock Cruise in Switzerland. We’re co-headlining Swiss Rock Cruise with Thunder Mother. We’re just waiting for confirmation. Stuff to gradually open up so we can put the rest of the details together and announce that full tour.
So, is the cruise line? Is that breaking news here? Has that been announced elsewhere?
WS: It’s been announced since January. But I say it every time because our record comes out that weekend too.
Perfect. So out of all your favorites through the years and everything. Who’s your favorite? You know, singer, guitar player, drummer, you know, let’s say a top three.
WS: Prince, David Bowie, Steven Tyler, Axl Rose. Gary Moore. John Sykes. Rush. More than three.
What's probably the worst thing that's ever happened while you were on tour, either at a show, or traveling between shows, and it doesn’t have to be on the PC.
WS: We got caught in a tornado at Rocklahoma, right before we were supposed to play and we saw it slowly form. It was very slow moving, like, this is going to be bad. And so we then had to drive back to the hotel in this monsoon of hail and drove basically into the storm. Our show got canceled. We got back to the hotel and this old lady broke into our room, took off her shirt like, what is going on.
I really hope that last part is true.
WS: Oh 100%. I still don’t know what happened. Oh, my God. They were there for the show, too. But then we did play the next day. But yeah, it was no good.
That’s pretty intense.
WS: I hope they’re hearing this.
So, with the pandemic over the past year, how did how’d you guys all get through it all? How’d you stay together as a band? Are you all geographically close to each other?
WS: Not really, we’re actually pretty split up, but we are all a close knit group. You couldn’t do anything anyway. So you know that’s kind of irrelevant because even though I live really close to Eric, but still you know, you couldn’t really do anything at the beginning of it.
Lots of zoom writing sessions and sending files back and forth?
WS: That was a thing. Yeah. Honestly, like Jimmy and I have been sending files back and forth for years.
It never stops…
WS: Yeah, it’s no different than any other time. The only thing is we didn’t get to hang out as a band until we made the “Still Love You” music video. Just playing like music in general without that was the only thing that was so weird.
Yeah, so it’s been a readjustment period.
WS: And we’ve taken lots of time off as far as playing shows here and there. Sure. That’s not anything but yeah, we just not playing as a band is what was the weirdest. First rehearsal was more exciting than anything like, “Whoa, we’re gonna play together!”…
Was there a lot of “What? How does that song go again?”…
WS: Yeah. It takes some adjusting getting back into it. My ears are better now.
That’s what ear plugs are for right?
WS: I sometimes use them.
What are your favorite songs to play in the set each night? What really gets you moving the most?
WS: I’m into anything that’s newer, like most musicians, because it’s always fun to play something new and watch people’s reactions. It’s also always nice to play “Poison Kiss”, for example, because everybody seems to like it. People like to sing along to stuff. “Tennessee Cocaine” might be my favorite. Very, very moving. Very emotional. Yes, absolutely.Generally the stuff we don’t have fun playing we don’t play it. Unless somebody wants it in the crowd, you know, but even then.
Thanks for talking with me guys. Make sure to catch Wildstreet while they’re out on tour and they’re upcoming album. And make sure to catch them at the Rock Fest and on the Swiss Rock Cruise, along with whatever unannounced shows that are coming up.