by Matt De Mello
I reviewed Wyldlife’s new album Wednesday and loved it. We’ve been talking a lot about punk rock lately, mainly because I love it, and also because it’s making a come back in a big way. I wanted to continue that conversation with Dave, lead singer of Wyldlife so I sent him a few questions to get his take. Here’s ten questions with Dave Feldman:
Matt De Mello – You refer to yourself as ’70’s stylized rock n’ roll. Would you consider yourself more Ziggy Stardust style Bowie or more Thin Lizzy/T. Rex?
Dave Feldman – We’re more Thin Lizzy/T.Rex than Ziggy Stardust, though we’re all big Bowie fans. I guess if it has hand-claps than it’s probably fucking awesome and we’re gonna back it.
MD – There is a huge resurgence in punk rock with Japandroids, Sharks from UK and the 30 year old holdovers like Bad Religion, Social D and the like. What is it about those three minute anthems that never seem to die?
DF – I think that the three-minute anthem-type rock ‘n’ roll that you’re talking about is just built on a timeless simplicity. “Bang a Gong (Get it on)” There’s no over-complicating something like that. I also think it helps that there are a bunch of amazing (albeit overlooked) bands that are looking back to, not even necessarily older punk, but just rock ‘n’ roll in general. As a friend once told me, they’re not re-inventing the wheel, they’re just taking it out for a spin. Maybe that’s what music needs right now.
MD – How long have you guys known each other and how did you form as a band?
DF – I’ve known Sam for over 10 years now, as we went to elementary school together, though we didn’t start playing in bands together ’til we were 12, just doing Ramones and Sex Pistols covers and our own, pubescent, embarrassing punk songs that I think all teenage bands go through. Russ and Spencer solidified the crew over at Purchase College, where Sam went away to school. Once they joined in, it was year 0 for Wyldlife. We don’t talk about anything before that.
MD – You have songs about partying, living the rock n’ roll lifestyle and mocking those that become domesticated. Do you feel like you embody that rock ‘n roll lifestyle that was so prevalent in the ’80’s with the LA hair metal bands?
DF – I don’t think we’re mocking the domesticated lifestyle; everybody’s gotta pay their rent. Motherfuckers gotta grow up sometime, I just think that all four of us have one foot through the door on each end. We all have day-jobs, but like I said, rock & roll is a full-time job. And when it’s time to throw down, we will be the first to shotgun some shitty beer and get sloppy with you. As far as the 80s metal bands… shit. I probably pay only slightly less attention to my own hair, and our trousers are all quite snug, but that’s where the similarities end. Anyone who is gonna say they party as hard as Motley Crue is a fucking liar.
MD – What’s your writing process?
DF – Sam and I write the songs. Either Sam will come up with a melody and show us, or I’ll come up with something and have to hum it to him, since I don’t play guitar. Then we’ll all work on it together until it sticks, or it doesn’t and we scrap it. Lyrically, I guess I’m trying to have smart lyrics, but play it off like an idiot. That’s the Westerberg approach.
MD – Your top 5 all-time musicians from NY?
DF – That’s a hard one. The Ramones are on that list. The New York Dolls for sure. I’m putting the Star Spangles on it. Sam and I were really big fans of theirs throughout high school. I miss them a lot. Who else? Jim Carroll, if for nothing else than Catholic Boy. He will always be one of the best lyricists. I’m gonna put The Brats on here too, who were and still are incredibly underrated. Bonus: Any band Richard Hell has been in. Spencer is gonna be pissed I didn’t put Kiss on here.
MD – What has been the highlight of your musical life thus far?
DF – I wish I could give a cool answer to this, like “The highlight of our musical career was probably when we did lines of blow with Lenny Kravitz in the dressing room at MSG,” but sadly none of it is true. Any time we have a killer show is a highlight. I guess gathering up the gall to go to record this next album in Atlanta. That was a trip. Having a record with our name on, any time people say they like what we’re doing, or that radio stations out in places we’ve never been to are playing us, that’s the highlight. That answer is lame, isn’t it?
MD – Do you prefer touring to recording?
DF – With touring, we’re excited to play to new people and with recording, we’re excited to present something new, so in that sense, they’re not too different. But touring is probably more fun because we don’t know where the fuck we’re going to end up that night. There’s more of an adventure involved with touring.
MD – Who did you listen to when you were growing up? What was that
“Holy Shit” moment that made you realize you wanted to be a musician? What level of fame would you like the band to achieve?
DF – Again, there was no definite moment. We started this band because we love rock ‘n’ roll, and we wanted to do something fun. We have been doing this for a very long time. When people started asking us to play house parties and come through their town, I guess that was when we figured that we should pursue this. Nobody is getting famous like in the 90s on MTV anymore, but if you can pay your rent from playing shows around the country or beyond, that’s as good as it gets. We just want to get big enough that the Daggers ask us to play the Thrash Bash.