THE WILD! – When The Villain Loses His Voice

February 16, 2017, 8 months ago

By Aaron Small

feature hard rock the wild

THE WILD! – When The Villain Loses His Voice

Outstanding Canadian rock/blues/punk band The Wild! stormed out of the gate in 2015 with their initial EP, GxDxWxB (which stands for God Damn Wild Boys). On February 17th the energy, passion and commitment get taken to a whole new level with Wild At Heart, the debut full-length album, available via eOne Music.
 
“There’s been a lot of work and a lot of miles in between to get from A to B for sure,” admits vocalist and lead guitarist Dylan Villain. “But we’re not the kind of band that really ever relishes in that sort of shit. Our philosophy is, keep your head down and keep working. The harder you work, the luckier you get. We’re not afraid of that sort of lifestyle of constantly having to work, cause that’s what it takes and we’re very much aware of that.”
 
When Dylan Villain says, “There was a lot that went into this record,” it seems like a simple statement, pretty standard fare; nothing could be further from the truth, as the heavily tattooed frontman reveals. “I really had to go through some shit to get things right on this one. November 21st 2015 – I woke up on tour and I couldn’t talk; I could barely stand up. So I went to the hospital and they couldn’t quite figure it out. From there I went to another hospital, we were in Ontario, and they thought it might be viral meningitis; which was serious enough, but it turns out it wasn’t. So I had to cancel some shows and fly home (to British Columbia) immediately. I kept going to specialists and getting my throat scoped… I kept hearing ‘You’ll be fine, you’ll be alright.’ What it brought me to was I went mute for about two months; I didn’t say a word, which was really fucked up in itself. Having to communicate and just get things across in everyday life was challenging to say the least. Anyhow, I kept up my appointments with specialists and ended up getting on the short list for the top vocal surgeon and voice specialist in Canada. He told me that I had some pretty serious things happening… he didn’t think I was ever going to sing again.”
 
“So fast forward, we were in the studio making the record (Wild At Heart) when I was told this; that was heavy. I didn’t tell the guys (in The Wild!) for a few weeks. We’d finished the music for three songs and they wanted me to get in the booth and sing. I said, I’ll sing ‘em all at the end. Because we were in the studio for so long making the record, I thought I’d be better by then and able to sing. Anyhow I wasn’t, so I had to come clean about what I’d just learned. I remember I brought our producer Mike (Fraser – AC/DC, Aerosmith, Metallica) to the roof (of the studio) and I told him. He just hugged me and we talked about it. I didn’t tell the guys in my band until we had left the studio. Mike was really great for me cause he’s such a wise guy, he’s really smart about life. He told me, ‘This is happening to you for a reason, you might not see it now but you’re going to.’ It was hard to accept because it’s a very clichéd thing to hear when you’re in that sort of position.”
 
“Anyway, I went back home and I had a pretty dark period of thinking, do I replace myself as the singer? What do I do? Through that came some pretty dark shit, just trying to cope with it. Then I realized, this isn’t me, this has never been me. I’ve been told that the odds of what I’ve done already in my career were stacked against me. I said fuck it! Changed my attitude and did a lot to get to where I am now; it was a big curve in my lifestyle and day to day diet to name a few things. But one of the main things that I did is that I went and saw a pathologist. She taught me how to speak again; I had to relearn how to talk because at this point I had went back to being mute. Once I learned where the voice comes from and is projected within the body – in your skull and face – it was really interesting. I learned that I was not only talking but breathing wrong my entire life pretty much. That was pretty crazy! It was like learning to walk again. From there, I applied it to the way I sing. Through working with her as a vocal coach, I was able to get my voice to a comfortable spot. Then from a comfortable spot, I really began to excel. It’s crazy to come out of it on this side, but I’ll tell you right now that I’m leaps and bounds a better singer than I ever was!”
 
“Through that, we took a break in making the record, then I went back and sang everything. I wouldn’t have been able to sing the shit that’s on that record, if I wouldn’t have gone through this to learn so much about myself and my voice. So I’m thankful for that, and the other thing that’s crazy about the break in between making the record and pushing the deadline of it, that’s what brought on the Airbourne tour and the Buckcherry tour (in 2016). Had we stuck to the schedule, those tours would have still been there, but we would have been elsewhere. So Mike (Fraser, producer) was right, that totally did happen for a reason.”
 


 
With proof that miracles do happen firmly established, we dive into the specifics of Wild At Heart, beginning with the song “Another Bottle”. This catchy tune features some pretty potent lyrics including: ‘Another day, I’m amazed I’m still alive… Married to the dope since I was 17, these days I’m just trying to get by.’ On the surface, this appears to be about a teenage heroin addiction, perhaps Dylan’s own? “No, but unfortunately I’ve lost members of my family and friends as well. My own battles weren’t necessarily with heroin… but I ‘ve been doing this thing with rock ‘n’ roll for quite a long time. With it has come a lot of great times and so much freedom. I am such an advocate of personal freedom in all ways of life. By no way or shape am I a squeaky clean guy. When you live that way for a long time, you see a lot of ups and a lot of downs; that’s what I write about in all my songs. That song just happened to be something I was feeling at the time. You wake up feeling that way a lot on the road. I don’t care if it’s from drugs or alcohol or just being exhausted, you just feel like that. Yeah, I’ve had my own… put it this way, it wasn’t heroin but I’ve been there.”
 
Upon first glance at the tracklisting for Wild At Heart, “Rattlesnake Shake” definitely stands out as Skid Row has a song on their self-titled debut album from 1989 with the same name; yet it’s not a cover tune. “It happened… I don’t think anybody even brought it up,” recalls Dylan. “It’s not as if we’re not Skid Row fans or anything like that… shit happens. It’s 2017 and people say you can’t do anything new anymore. We like to think that we take all of our influences – some of them are pretty obvious, and give them that nod for sure. But we put our own stamp on it; so with that, it a song title, it’s not as if we ripped off any licks or lyrics. I’m a real big advocate of when the words of song titles sound like the song sounds, or it perfectly captures what it sounds like in my mind. And I really think that song title does just that for that song.”
 
Being the final song on the album, “Kansas City Shuffle” is a great boogie-woogie tune, the perfect way to wrap things up. “Well, it’s interesting. The old Kansas City Shuffle is a bit of a trick – you’re looking one way when you should be looking the other way. Again, for one, the title matches the sound of the song perfectly; in my mind anyway. But also, when I wrote the lyrics it was sort of about this hangover I had one day where… there was a girl who was tryin’ to get me to hang out with her but I was so hungover I didn’t want to move. Was lookin’ one way when I should have been lookin’ the other, feel me? But that’s a good one, I do love the vibe of that song. I just feel like the ending of it was the way to end the record – big and arena style if you will.”
 
In closing, the first video from Wild At Heart, “Ready To Roll”, was directed by Stuey Kubrick, filmed in Okanagan, BC and available to view below. It debuted on YouTube at the end of November 2016, and looks like it was a ton of fun to film. “Absolutely! It’s always a challenge with our videos because it’s kind of become our thing to make these larger than life rock ‘n’ roll videos. It’s sort of the same way that hip hop videos are done where it’s over the top gratuitous, fucking in your face constant stimulation. And I love it, but what makes it difficult is topping the last one. What I really enjoy about it is, I think it’s become our thing and I’m quite proud of that. I don’t know that there’s been another rock ‘n’ roll band that’s had music videos like ours.”

 

Featured Audio

GRANNY 4 BARREL - "Freak Flag"

GRANNY 4 BARREL - "Freak Flag"

Featured Video

POWER QUEST - "Lords Of Tomorrow"

POWER QUEST - "Lords Of Tomorrow"

Latest Reviews