That’s pretty much how I walk through life. Waiting for complete strangers to ask for my thoughts on, well pretty much anything. I think a lot of things. Sometimes simultaneously. And I think Wilson may be the best thing to come of out Detroit since Stroh’s introduced the 30 pack. In an effort to combat my never ending pessimism about the future of music, 2015 has been smacking me in the face with new(er) bands showing me that real, authentic hard rock and metal is out there and coming for us. And the one that smacked the hardest was Detroit’s Wilson. Thank the Baby Jesus that their latest release with all its laxative upshot found its way to my ears. Right To Rise may be the most important record in the history of man. That may be a bit strong but it’s pretty damn good and delivers where it’s most vital. It offers me and my ilk hope. The promise of a future generation of rock not poured from a blender filled with Godsmack, Disturbed and Nickleback with just a dash of Nirvana.
All great Fuckery starts Full Blast. Right? The journey of Wilson starts with a house party willing to pay a band, any band, all you can drink keg beer in exchange for playing. It’s there in that unlikely setting that the fuckery began. The band was named with the same whimsy it was formed. Never meant to be more than a way to drink for free, the name Wilson was just thrown out as a way to call the band something. After a few shows, not planning on starting an actual band, the singer quit and suddenly Wilson found itself in need of a lead singer. That’s where Chad enters and the rest is stool softener history. Let the fuckery begin.
At the beginning of 2015, I was fairly convinced the days of albums was coming to an end. That rock music was doomed to become a sort of homogenized bastard baby that eschews authenticity in favor of monotony. Then like the early drops of a coming rain, good to great rock albums started to fall from the heavens. By the beginning of summer Wilson’s Right To Rise would force me to acknowledge that if nothing else, 2015 isn’t going to let rock go quietly. Listening to this band named after Dr. House’s best friend (that’s not really true) I started to wonder if five guys with big dicks and beards traveling in a van could be the most important thing in America.
I reviewed Right To Rise for Decibel Geek earlier this summer and then super glued the CD into my car’s player. After several Right To Rise induced eargasm’s my music boner found it’s way back to their first full-length album Full Blast Fuckery. Which I don’t mind telling you is glorious. I mean it’s got a song (“I Can Beat Your Dad”) inspired by Marky Mark‘s character in the movie Fear. You got a better reason to check out a new band?
I like a lot of types of music, but there’s one type I am particularly fond of. And it’s as hard to describe as it is to explain Wilson’s sound to virgin ears. Fuckery is as good term as any I’ve heard. Call it what you want. I call it good. And specifically with Wilson it has the energy of punk or thrash. It touches on elements of aggression while somehow maintaining legitimate melody. It’s almost like the 80’s hooked up with the 90’s in the 2000’s. Imagine you were to make a movie about driving to the liquor store to get a keg of beer. Wilson would be the soundtrack. And after driving around (with the windows down of course) rubbing one out to their two records there was only one thing left to do. See ’em live. Which I did when they stopped by Mill City Nights to bring the rock show to the Twin Cities.
In the last year, I’ve become obsessed with the bands Crobot and Bobaflex. In both of those instances, the live show drove me to their catalogs. With Wilson, it was just the opposite as I had become consumed with their music before seeing them perform. As the day of their arrived I was more excited than Ted Nugent hitting a deer with his Yukon. Speaking with lead singer Chad Nicefield before the show I found him oddly calm. His beard seemed neater than I recall from the pictures and video. Was this really the guy who would be bringing the Fuckery? Full Blast in just a few short hours? How can he be talking about Pizza Luce’ at a time like this? Could it be he is forgetting about the Fuckery?
Of course not. Chad and the rest of Wilson (Chad Nicefield, Jason Spencer, Kyle Landry, Puhy, and James Lascu) brought the Fuckery. Full Blast in an all too short set. Just an amazing performance by a traveling band who are quite aware what a rock show looks like. I left the show sweaty and feeling I’m not doing enough on my part. Two people had asked me who they were. That’s two too many. Of course, I told them they were five guys with big dicks and beards who drive in a van. As they walked away from me I yelled that instead of giving their all being assistant branch managers they play music. There may have been a hand gesture at some point.
It’s odd you know. The theme of their latest release Right To Rise is in regards to their feelings on how the city of Detroit is being presented to the world via the media. Almost as if the city lost a fight and the outside world is yelling for it to stay down. As much could be said about the current state of rock music. Just stay down. Using Detroit as a metaphor, Right To Rise is a reminder that we all have the right to find our happiness. The right to rise. Rock’s demise has been predicted before. And much like the city of Detroit it may be down but it’s not dead. It’s almost as if Wilson have taken on two monumental tasks with one record.
Step one: Save Detroit.
Step two: Save Rock n’ Roll.
It’s wrong to say Rock is dead. Only because it implies other forms of music aren’t. The reality is long time fans of country or pop or even, ‘eh-hem’, hip-hop will tell you the state of their music is no better. The byproduct of an industry de-regulated to the point of assuring kids in Phoenix hear the same eight songs kids in Detroit hear and an emerging youth growing less connected to the artists of their time while growing more connected with their brand of headphones. Today’s young stars are known almost in spite of their music. Rock may never return to the time of platinum records and packed arenas. But bands like Wilson ensure that 2015 will end with me less pessimistic about rock’s future than I was when it started. And that’s something.
Make yourself happy. Grow a beard. Check out Wilson. And keep the windows down.