I was given the opportunity to interview Teenage Casket Company front man Rob Wylde on behalf of Glitzine.net, below are the results of that interview.
please let me thank you for agreeing to answer my questions on behalf of Glitzine.net.
So here goes
After an almost two year hiatus this summer sees the welcome return to live
action for Teenage Casket Company for a short series of UK dates. Why have Teenage
Casket Company been away for so long?
In a nutshell we were burnt out. Jamie and I put the band together at the end of 2003 and for 4 solid years we worked our asses off. We released 2 self financed CD's toured the UK endlessly, toured the States twice, Italy, Ireland etc and I honestly think that no band in the UK worked harder than we did back then. We also did it all without a record label / management/ or any outside help whatsoever. With that being the case TCC became a 24/7 job to all of us in which we had to deal with every single last detail of "Everything" we were doing. After we finished our last tour in November 2007 we were physically, mentally, emotionally and financially burnt. We simply couldn't afford to record or be out on the road without some outside help which never came and I guess in a way we kinda hit a brick wall and didn't really know how to get over it, so the best option all around was for us to walk away from it for a while. I don't think anyone in the band thought we'd be gone this long though!
Barry: What have the various members of Teenage Casket Company been up to during the bands hiatus?
We've all been busier than ever, just not with each other! I relocated to the States to form Sins Of America in December 2007. We released our debut CD at the end of last year and have played over 70 shows in the States since March 2008. I've also played a bunch of solo acoustic shows. Jamie still plays with The Dangerfields from Belfast and has been seen out on the road as tour manager for various bands from time to time. Laney has been seen in pretty much every single band out there. I think at the last count, he'd played and toured with 8 different bands in 1 year from The Bulletboys to Let Loose, so he's been pretty busy! Spike does his solo thing and has recently joined a new band called Overvibe who have been playing around the Midlands recently.
Barry: So you have a few live dates planned for this summer, is there any chance of this becoming a full-blown tour?
There's talk of us doing
a full UK tour in September/October with a legendary cult-status American band
but until it's 100% confirmed it's still a bit hush hush. I'd imagine if it
is going ahead, the details should be announced pretty soon so watch this space!
Barry: I hope that this isn't a sore subject, but last year Teenage Casket Company played a one off gig without you, how did this come about?
No it's not a sore subject
at all. I couldn't legally leave the United States due to my Immigration status
that was still pending at the time. We confirmed that show months earlier and
my case was all set to be approved last June. It ended up taking nearly a year
so I had no choice. If I had have left back then, I'd have been banned from
entering the USA for life. The whole Immigration thing has been a fucking nightmare
to be honest with you and it's something I will never go through again. I had
no option but to stay put and wait in the States so I spoke to Laney and he
said rather than cancel the show Daz from Dip was going to fill in for me. I
know a lot of people were probably confused as to what was going on but I really
didn't have an option at the time, which really sucked.
Barry: Are there any recording sessions planned for this year, is there any chance that we may get a new Teenage Casket Company album?
We've certainly talked about it. I'd personally love to put out a new album; I think we owe it to ourselves so we'll see what happens. I'm sure that with all the ups and downs we've been through in the past 2 years, not to mention all the playing we've been doing outside of TCC we're capable of recording a monster of an album!
Barry: If so, what direction will any new material take?
I'm not really sure until we actually get down to it. All I know is I have a ton of killer songs ready to go and I'm sure Jamie has songs up his sleeve too. Whatever we do, we're always going to have that fun, good time "Pop" edge with huge Chorus' but I think we've also grown up a lot since we were last together and dare I say "Matured" not just as musicians but also as human beings so it'll be interesting to see what we come up with. I have a few songs that might surprise some people.
Barry: What would you say are the biggest challenges facing Teenage Casket Company today?
The music industry or lack
thereof! There basically isn't an industry anymore and we can thank the Internet
for that. As great as the Internet is for getting your music out there and spreading
the word it has single handedly destroyed the industry that we used to know.
There's hardly any big labels left and I think in the next 10 years there won't
be any left at all as they simply won't be needed. I think bands will just record
and release their music directly onto the Internet and there'll be no such thing
as going to HMV or wherever to buy the actual CD and that's really sad. I know
a ton of bands who are already doing that and I think it just takes all the
magic away in my opinion. The Internet has destroyed a lot, so right now if
you're involved in the music biz you really just have to do it for the sheer
love of it without having any other high expectations.
Barry: What are your views of the current musical climate?
America and Europe are both very different. In America Rock n' roll is kinda mainstream culture. It's soaked into the fabric of the country. So when you get in the car and turn on the radio it's Rock music 24/7. For some reason the Yanks don't seem to be sucked into the whole fly by night Pop Idol bullshit mentality like in the UK simply because it doesn't sell in the States. So if you're a Rock band signed to a good label in the States you're made. There's a hell of a lot more opportunities and exposure available to you. However for bands like SOA or TCC there really isn't any kind of underground scene at all in the States, not that I've seen anyway, so that's where the UK and Europe win hands down. The only problem with that is that as big as the underground scene is, none of the bands ever seem to progress beyond that and into the mainstream so it's all very frustrating.
Barry: What are you your favourite three albums of all time?
Def Leppard - Hysteria
Danger Danger - Screw It!
Kiss - Alive 2
Who would you most like to work with in the music industry?
I'd love to write with Desmond Child and have Bob Rock produce. How amazing would that be?
Barry: You spent most of last year tied up with Sins of America, releasing a debut album and touring upon the back of it. How would you say that Sins of America and Teenage Casket Company differ?
SOA is much more of a straight-ahead Cock Rock/Glam type of thing. We all grew up listening the same bands and had the same posters on our walls so we all tend to play in a similar style, have the same ideas musically and have the same image going on. TCC is much more diverse band in the fact that all 4 of us grew up on completely different styles of music and have different heroes so for that reason it tends to be a lot more diverse and unique. If you listen to our last CD "Eat Your Heart Out" you'll see what I mean. There's Pop, Glam, Punk, Powerpop even a huge power ballad on there so it's kinda all over the place influence-wise but for some strange reason it works!
All I can say is that if you dig TCC you'll also dig SOA and vice versa. Both bands are all about melodies and huge catchy hooks. They're just dressed up a little differently that's all.
Barry: If you could take Teenage Casket Company out on tour with any band in the world, who would they be, and what would be your dream tour package?
We'd happily tour with anyone from any genre, as I know we can always hold our own. But it'd have to be with someone huge so we could open up in Arena's around the world and play to thousands of people every night. A couple of obvious choices would be bands like Kiss or Motley but I think it'd be really cool to tap into the youth market and get the kids on our side. I'm not a fan of the following bands but maybe we could open for someone like My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy or some shit like that. I know we could totally win over their audience just in the same way that we could if we opened for someone like Nickelback (even if they are god awful!) The key would be to play in front of the largest amount of people and get the exposure and that's what it's all about. If you have good songs and a good show people just need to see it on a grand scale. So if anyone wants to offer us a tour out there, we're listening!
Barry: Is there a particular song that you wished that you had written and why?
"Wild Is The Wind"
from Bon Jovi's "New Jersey" album. If you listen to the lyrics it's
pretty much the story of my life!
Teenage Casket Company have been together since 2003, releasing two independent
albums and touring tirelessly. How has the band grown over the years and has
the bands philosophy changed?
Well when you spend some much time touring you can't help but improve as musicians which makes you grow in confidence. You also grow a lot closer on a personal level too because when you get out there on the road you have to deal with everything together, both good and bad. You certainly get that "Us against the world, All for one and one for all" type of attitude because you're all fighting together for one common cause. I think we're all a lot closer and understand each other a lot more now, that's probably cos we're getting older!
As far as the philosophy goes we're definitely doing this for the right reasons now, which is for the sheer love of it. Before we were always chasing "the dream" and I don't think we ever once sat back and realised just what we have achieved because once we'd accomplished one thing there was always another bigger mountain to climb. We're still chasing that dream and I still think it's totally within our reach, it's just all down to us getting that one lucky break and that's the one thing that you just can't guarantee these days. If we get that break, awesome but if not we're OK with that too. At least we know we've done it on our own terms and gave it our best shot with no regrets.
How has the way in that you approach song writing changed over the years?
It hasn't really changed that much I've just gotten better at it. The music that I grew up on was always the really commercial catchy stuff with melody and hooks being the 2 key ingredients. Without a killer hook no one's going to remember your song and that's the one thing I've always tried to aim for. I've also become a lot more open minded to new ideas and to giving different styles of music a chance to influence me, whereas years ago unless it sounded in the one type of vein that I loved I dismissed it. Then I realised a good song is a good song no matter what style it's in. Sometimes when you listen to a band from out of your comfort zone it can influence you in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways. You'd be surprised at some of the music I listen to!
You once proclaimed Teenage Casket Company were the saviours of Rock n' Roll,
has that view changed?
No it hasn't changed at all and we still could be so don't rule us out yet! We've just grown up that's all. We're a lot older and wiser now. I don't think we ever got that one big break we really deserved and that's very frustrating to deal with at times especially when you see some of the bullshit that does get noticed, but who knows what could happen in the future? We're very much still the saviours of Rock n' roll and in August we'll prove it!
What does Rob Wylde like to do in his spare time?
This sounds boring but I really don't do anything besides music. If I'm not doodling on my guitar I'm usually just glued to a computer all day trying to promote this and that. I like watching movies and hanging out with friends, going to shows etc but that's about it, I'm pretty boring ha ha!!
Of all the bands on the British scene at the moment, who do you think are showing
the most promise?
Well I've been out of the loop for a while but nothing's caught my ear in years to be honest. I mean some bands have a cool look and a cool vibe but I don't hear any songs behind that and I think that's been pretty much the case for years. I can't think of 1 single band in the UK that stands out at all unless I've missed something whilst I've been in America... sorry guys!
What was the last CD/DVD that you bought?
I just bought the new Steevi Jaimz CD after hearing that he'd worked with Songwriter Chris Laney who I admire a lot. The CD is awesome and the songs are really strong with a great production. Chris Laney is like a 2009 version of Mutt Lange. As soon as you hear anything he's written and produced you just know it's him. It's just a really good melodic rock album and I highly recommend it. The last DVD I bought was the 1984 Duran Duran U.S tour documentary called "Sing Blue Silver" I had no idea they were so big in America. They were like the Beatles of the 80's and the DVD is really good.
Are there any CD/DVD releases that you are particularly looking forward to this
The long awaited new Danger Danger album is out in September and I can't wait for that. I've been looking forward to that fucker for years. Also I hear the new Kiss album is going to be in a killer 70's style so I'm very anxious to hear that too. They better be worth the wait!
The tenth series of Big Brother is well under way here in the UK, are you a
fan of reality TV and would you ever consider appearing on a celebrity version
of a show?
No I hate reality TV. There's nothing worse, but I've got to say that I did enjoy Celebrity Rehab with Steven Adler. That was hilarious but also sad at the same time. That guy is such a fuck-up but you can't help but like him at the same time. Apart from that I never watch reality TV. Bret Michaels' Rock Of Love was the final nail in the coffin for me. It's helped Poison come back from the dead and they're probably bigger in America now than they were in the 80's but Bret comes across as a complete idiot. Again, he's likeable on the show but some of it is so cringe worthy, especially when it's someone you used to idolise as a kid.....don't get me started on Big Brother!!
But me and my good friend Scott have said many times we should have our own reality show and everyone who knows us says the same thing. You would not "believe" some of the ridiculous situations we get ourselves into. Sometimes I honestly think that Punk'd are going come out from behind a tree or something and say "gotcha!" I'm also a freak magnet so the whole show would be fuckin hilarious. Seriously, if you followed us around for 2 weeks you wouldn't believe the shit that happens to us. I could write a book on some of the scrapes we've gotten into!
A silly little question now, do you prefer blondes or brunettes?
Blondes, I seem to have very bad experiences with Brunette's!
and finally, as a final thought, what does the future hold for Rob Wylde and
Teenage Casket Company?
Well first up we're going to get back together, rehearse and put a killer set list together for our mini tour in August then we're just going to see what happens from there really. I think we're going to gage a lot of what we do in the future on the fans reaction at these shows. It's kind of a way of us testing the water in a way. As I mentioned earlier there's a potential tour in the works for September/ October time then I guess the logical thing to do would be to get into the studio after that, but we're going to take it one step at a time for now and see what happens. I'm also looking at recording a solo album at some point next year, which is something I've always wanted to do. Maybe a new SOA CD too. I just want to play, tour, write and record as much as possible, it's my life but rest assured TCC is back!
Interviewed by Barry Gennard
Visit the Teenage Casket Company Website