The Wildbirds | Circus | May 27, 2010 | Columbus, OH
Photo by John Danner
Wisconsin band, The Wildbirds just look like the type of guys you’d like to party down with. I met a few of the band members after their show in Columbus back in January, when JackinthePocket was a mere notion floating around in my brain space. They’re all handsome brutes with tight jeans, rad shoes and Midwestern accents. They just exude casual cool. We sat down on a picnic bench outside of quirky music venue Circus, each sipping a tall cans of PBR, short tumblers of gin and tonic, or Jack and coke, and a few of us drew long drags from our cigarettes.
KP: So how was your drive down here? You drove 8 hours from Wisconsin.
Nick: Yeah, it was good; it was our first out-of-state trip in our new band van.
Quinn: It always seems like when I drive, the weather goes to shit.
Nick: Yep, that’s why I always drive!
Quinn: Maybe its karma.
Nick: it was raining a lot.
Quinn: We drove through a storm.
Nick: Hugh was spraying contact solution in his eyes while he was driving.
Hugh: The air conditioning was drying my eyes out!
Nick: Quinn was sleeping on equipment in the back.
Quinn: I made a little nest.
Nick: We brought our dog along.
KP: You brought a dog with you?!
Nick: Yeah, she’s at the hotel.
KP: So, what’s it like piling into a van and driving 8 hours together to a show.
Quinn: Semi hilarious, semi-irritating.
Nick: Fiscally irresponsible (laughter) But fuck, I mean when we’re at this point in the stage when we’re writing, and recording and stuff, it’s just a break from the routine,
even if it costs us money. It’s just nice to see another city.Drink the same beer in a different city, but…
KP: So, the last album came out in ‘07, right?
KP: So what happened in between that time?
Nick: It’s a totally different line up besides Hugh and I. We just got exhausted. We ended up taking a year off, I mean, the rest of the guys, permanently off. Took a year off, and just realized we weren’t quite as happy without it. So I moved back from Portland to hang out with Hugh. We started forming all these quasi bands, and it took us about a year until we found something we were all stoked about, that was worth bringing into the studio. We just got our mixes back and we’re pretty stoked about it! I don’t know if other people will be.
Quinn: I’m happy!
Nick: I’m happy, that’s all that matters, that Quinn’s happy!
KP: Do you have a projected date where you guys are going to release it?
Nick: July 22!
KP: That’s coming up!
Nick: 6 songs, it’s not a full length
Quinn: It’s been going super quick though.
KP: What’s your creative process like as a collective?
Nick: You ask good questions. Creative process… I start, and most of the time, not always. We finish, like I get 20% of the way, and then it either like writes itself, or it just fuckin’ flops. So, We’ve kind of gotten past the stage where we try to nurse the song along that is just not wanting to be written. Most the songs that we kept have all just sort of written themselves.
KP: So, the new guys, how did you guys meet? All these newbies…
Nick, Oh. The first addition was Quinn. He and another mutual friend, who was playing drums actually last time we played Columbus. They both kind of offered to come and jam with us coz we were just a two piece at the time. He (John) kept saying “I really wanna bring my friend Quinn by, he’s a ripper!” [Laughter] I was like yeah, fine, fucking bring the guy by, and he was a ripper.
Quinn: We weren’t really practicing. It was like, let’s go the bar and then at 4 in the morning. “Let’s go to the practice space!”
Hugh: First 6 months we did not play together sober, and we go no where because of it.
Nick: Now we pretty much only play sober…In the mornings…
Quinn: Noon practices.
Nick: First time I met Quinn, he was talking about shaving his balls.
Quinn: I was?
Quinn: This is pretty good for a website! I don’t remember that, but…
Nick: You were saying that you wanted to. NO! We were talking about waxing and you were asking if there was any place in town that did.
Quinn: Where did this happen?
Nick: Um, Slim’s. That was the first time I ever hung out with you.
KP: Did you repress this memory?
Hugh: Yeah. This sounds made up
Quinn: I remember hanging out at Slim’s, but I don’t remember this conversation.
Nick: We were all drunk. It was in passing, a conversation in passing.
Quinn: Well, you got me all red faced!
Nick: You’ve never waxed your balls and…
Quinn: She’s going to have to edit this.
KP: Ohhh no, I don’t edit!
Nick: Yeah, see, she doesn’t edit.
KP: Oh, it’s ALL going up there!
Nick: Let’s talk about your balls, Quinn!
Quinn: I’m going to email this to my mom.
Nick: How high are they?
KP: Look mom, I’m being interviewed!
Quinn: Let’s um, go on to the next question, concerning the band…
KP: Did you guys initiate him or something, because I know a lot of bands have initiation processes.
Quinn: No, no…
Nick: But, I thought he played too newly at first. I was at first like let’s find a bunch of cool sloppy players.
Hugh: Cool, young guys
Nick: Quinn’s a really slick guitar player, we weren’t used to it. He was just better than what I was used to, and now I can’t imagine playing without any of these dudes.
Hugh: Quinn and I live together and Brad and Stu live together. Brad started playing with us about the same time. I’ve known Brad for about 8 years, 9 years. We grew up together in Appleton which is a small town in the middle of no where Wisconsin.
KP: What’s it like being in a band in Wisconsin?
Nick: Cold, it’s just like everything else in Wisconsin, it’s just cold.
Quinn: It’s hard to get things done, well, especially in Milwaukee. Anytime you go out its like, let’s just go to a bar and it’s really easy to stay idle, and drunk. That’s why we practice at noon.
Nick: Otherwise nothing would get done.
Quinn: It’s cheap and you can travel easily from Milwaukee, I think.
Nick: The band is a good distraction for us. Something to keep our mind on when it is boring or cold or everyone else is at the bars. It’s a reason to not be…for an hour or two.
KP: So have you guys toured together, all of you, or is this your first show playing together?
Hugh: We haven’t really done any tours, we don’t really have a reason to tour until we have a record. But Nick and I were on the road together for about 6 months straight it was hard. Six months on the road is a long time.
Nick: We did it the worst of ways, but now it’s all fun in retrospect. The pictures make it look really fun, with our veggie oil bus and we’re all like, greasy, and sleepy.
Hugh: Sleeping on slabs of plywood.
Quinn: Still equipment with vegetable oil on it
Hugh: Fuck yeah!
KP: So, in your six months on the road together, did you guys have any crazy stories, or anything completely insane?
Quinn: There’s so many that I’ve heard… so many! Sleeping half in the bus, and half with your feet on the side walk…
Nick, Oh yeah! Yeah, we had a CD release show at the Troubadour in in LA. The label opened up a bar tab for us, and multiple friends showed up, and it got really fucking stupid. We stayed up drinking like lots of shots of whisky and a lot of beers with uh, that band Hanson.
KP: They’re coming through town really soon. In August.
Nick: Are they?
KP: Yeah, I’m trying to get an interview with Rooney, they’re supposed to open.
Quinn: Don’t say anything bad, because Hugh is a huge proponent of Hanson.
Hugh: They’re nice guys.
KP: No! I’ve heard really good things about them.
Hugh: Yeah, and they can drink, surprisingly! We had to leave in the morning, and the drummer and I were responsible for taking the bus back to Venice Beach early in the morning, which didn’t happen. Nick came by to see if we were moving. I think he was trying to text us, and we were not responding. I was sleeping in the bus and Nick walked up. He found the drummer, his torso was on the few stairs that we had, and the rest of him was out on the sidewalk and the doors were open. It’s just like a school bus with like the ratcheting door and he’s just passed out, his head resting on one step. We didn’t make our flight!
Nick: That happened to me too in a different show in LA. Yea, I don’t know, the city doesn’t do very good things to us.
Quinn: I think we all have a drinking problem!
Nick: These stories will pretty much just make us sound like alcoholics, so lets not talk about it.
KP: Well, that’s how a lot of my interviews have gone.
Quinn: It’s only a problem if you admit you have a problem
Nick: Deny you have a problem
Hugh: Deny deny deny!!
Nick: so I dunno, what else? Theres some other pretty ridiculous ones, but they all sound something like that… We’re next right?
KP: Yeah, I think you guys are up next.
Nick: I didn’t brush my hair yet
Quinn: Don’t you have to wax your mustache too before we get underway here? I mean, not wax it, but do you have your pomade with you?
Nick: No, I didn’t bring it. Just coz I brought up your balls doesn’t mean you have to talk about my hair.
Quinn: I think it looks good!
Nick: Thanks dude, I think your balls look good!
The Wildbirds 2007 release Golden Daze is available here. But keep and eye out for their new 6 track release due out on July 22!
A special thank you goes out to my friend Tracey for transcribing the audio of this interview! :)