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INTERVIEW: CHAD NICEFIELD of WILSON – December 2018

| 27 December 2018 | Reply

 

According to a recent press release: “Wilson formed in 2010 when the members came together in Detroit, MI. After two previous full-length releases Fullblast Fuckery in 2013 and Right To Rise in 2015, the band is back in 2018 with an all new album, record label, outlook on their career and musical direction. The sonic change came about from frontman Chad Nicefield’s two-month trip to Asia to clear his head and pursue true happiness. The idea was to find constant stimulation based on things he used to fear – traveling without a GPS, surfing in shark-infested waters and more. Tasty Nasty was released this past summer and was produced by the band and Scott “The Ninja” Stevens (Halestorm, Shinedown, Nothing More). The album debuted at #8 on iTunes Rock Album Charts and has over half a million total album streams. Their music has been added to Spotify’s Rock Hard, New Noise, and Riffs playlist.” We get front man Chad Nicefield to discuss new music, touring, and much more…

Toddstar: Chad, how are you doing?

Chad: Good. How are you doing Todd?

Toddstar: Good, good. It’s just good to talk to a Detroit guy done good.

Chad: Oh, yeah, you’re from Detroit?

Toddstar: Yeah, yeah, I live near Belle Isle, man.

Chad: Oh, shit, awesome. I ride my motorcycle by your house all of the time, I’m assuming.

Toddstar: If you cruise down Jefferson, I’m sure you do. Well, you guys just jumped off a tour, and you’re getting ready for the holidays, and what better way to ring in the holidays than knowing that you guys are riding high from Tasty Nasty? What can you tell us about this album, Chad, that the fans might not have grabbed the first or second time they listened through this release?

Chad: There’s lot of things that I can talk about, about the album and where we came from, you know. Where we were, to where we are now, and the catalyst that is Tasty Nasty, and how it got us to where we are. The record in and of itself, for us, I wouldn’t say a complete departure from old Wilson. It’s not that at all. I’d say we were expanding our roots, and almost sort of Benjamin Button-ing ourselves in the process of how we, you know, created music in the past and where we came from as human beings when we first started to play music in general. I guess, maybe, the biggest thing that people might not take away from all of it, is there’s a certain flavor to the record that’s meant to be taken as a No Fucks Given type, sort of punk rock approach to making rock and roll music in 2018. We went outside of the boundaries with the record purposefully. We weren’t specifically trying to sound like something or whatnot, but we were purposefully trying to shake things up. Trying to make a record that spoke a little bit more about our DNA as people, but unselfishly, to try to bring some more of that carefree, Not Give a Fuck attitude. Let’s have some fun. Let’s put some smiles on some faces, you know, to the public with this record. Largely, Tasty Nasty, the idea of it is you can’t, nothing will ever taste great unless you know what tastes terrible. So, it’s like the yin to the yang type sort of a scenario. That’s what Tasty Nasty means.

Toddstar: You mentioned that you guys purposefully kind of stepped back and not reinvented the sound, but kind of redirected the Wilson sound. Is there a reason for that? Full Blast Fuckery and Right to Rise are both great albums on their own. Was there a reason that you guys purposely wanted to kind of restructure that sound and that vibe?

Chad: You know, again, I think it was a situation. So, if I can take you back really quickly to Full Blast Fuckery… there was no rules, there was no boundaries, you know what I’m saying? We were just five dudes making a record, and at that time, there was no label. You know, there was really not even a fucking team. You know, there wasn’t, I mean, you talked to part of our management team which is a newer management team from that period of time, in general, just now and with Jackson. But back when we started to make Full Blast Fuckery, it was just five dudes, and five dudes doing what five dudes wanted to do at that time in our lives. You know, it kind of caught a little bit of fire. And we followed that fire. That brought us into the next record, which was Right to Rise, and with the Right to Rise, there was more… now we’re putting out a record on a label, and there’s a team, and there’s all these things that are involved in the creation of a product. It’s like art versus commerce, at that period of time. And not to say that anything we were doing, wasn’t what we wanted to do in particular, but we kind of felt like, at that period of time, that our band was a square peg getting pushed through a circle hole, if that makes any sense. So, like, all the edges of us were getting cut off. All of the No Fucks, No Frills that we had creating Full Blast Fuckery, and the magic of why we became a band and why people were paying attention to us to begin with, was kind of… I don’t know if I would say vacuumed out, but it felt like it was less sincere. When that record cycle was done, we kind of made some changes, both within our team and within ourselves. Took a good, hard look at what we wanted to do, and there were some real questions that were posed. Most people don’t know this, but Jason quit the band, after Right to Rise, and it took him making a commitment to finish a record with us, that we had verbally made, to get to the point where we are, for him to see the other side of how fun this is. And with Tasty Nasty, it’s a record fully first – it was made without a label, and then the label came on. We were doing what we wanted to do, and we were injecting certain sorts, those sort of influences that grew us up during the period of time when we were most vulnerable as people. You know, we were teenagers in the nineties, and you’ll feel, I think you get a sense of that in the record. And I think that was more or less what I’m talking about with the Benjamin Button-ing. We kind of found ourselves going back to a place that made us the most comfortable and happy and explorative, as humans. When you’re young, there’s no wrong or, there’s no right or wrong. It’s you figuring it out. Whether there’s influences, like your friends, or telling you what’s cool and not cool. There’s still no right or wrong. So, that’s the kind of aspect that we put into the pot in making this record. There’s no right or wrong, there’s just us doing what we want to do.

Toddstar: It’s good to see you go back to that. I remember the first time I saw or heard of you guys. Looking at this album, Tasty Nasty, it’s different but it’s so good and it’s just, to me, it’s Wilson through and through, regardless of how it may be restructured. You guys kind of ventured away, without losing who you were as musicians. Looking over the track list for the disc Chad, what song or couple of songs can you tell us about that just fought you guys tooth and nail; from the minute you started writing it, it wound up so different in its final inception?

Chad: Musically, “Dumptruck” took some twists and turns throughout the earlier demos that were made. But the main riff kind of maintained itself throughout the whole entire creation of that song. But vocally, lyrically; it went from being a very dark song about wanting to get revenge to somebody that had done us wrong, into being a song about us essentially doing whatever the fuck we wanted to do, and that was behind what we’re doing. You know, like, “This shit bumps, this shit fucks, this shit dumps like a dumptruck,” was very, very, very far away from the original lyrics of the chorus. And it kind of just came to us right exactly like I mentioned. You know, I don’t know if we were fighting with anything, on the record, in particular, but that one is one of the ones that stuck around. Like, the demo version of it stuck around from the very beginning of us writing demos, to where it ended up being on the record, is… vastly different. We were just some dudes inside of a studio, writing. Trying to figure out how to make this riff, how to give more life to the riff that we all loved, you know? We didn’t want to see the riff not make the record, so we needed to figure out how we can attune everything around to it. And we used it as a catalyst to jump off, you know, Tasty Nasty, that says, “Hey, man. We’re throwing this back to the way that we used to be, especially with this riff.” But you’re going to go on a spiritual journey, essentially, with us. We’re going to awaken you here and reinvigorate your love for all things that are fun in life. There’s plenty of other bands out there making dark rock songs. We wanted to make light rock songs that gave you a reason to smile, you know? And “Dumptruck” kicks that off.

Toddstar: That it does! The other side of the coin, Chad; what song came so naturally to you guys from start to finish that it almost seemed like sleeping through it?

Chad: Well, for me, the last track on the record came most natural. Because it was just a song that I had written in my house and demo’d. And actually, I think maybe has a lot to say, and why it’s on the record is because that initial exploration that was happening in that period of time. It kind of kick started what the record ended up shaping itself to be, is throwing in those 90’s vibes that you see, you hear and feel it within the record. But that song I wrote in a day at my house, and then demo’d it, and it ended up being what it is now on the record, with everybody playing on it. And then, some of the other ones that came, I think maybe the most with the least vigor to it, I think “House of Fuckery” was another one that kind of came together pretty, almost last minute. It made the cut last minute. It was one of those things where we had written it and we’re like, “This fucking rules. We’re going to put it on the record.” We thought it was going to close the record, but then, you know, everyone gets around and he raised his hands, being the right choice for us to close the record for the chapter of our book that we were writing. So, I would have to say that those two, if you were going to ask me, were probably the easiest. And then other than that, when we started to work with the producer, Scott Stevens, the first tracks that we had actually brought together with him, were “Like a Baller,” and “Wrong Side of History.” And that was a cool moment for all of us, because I think that that moment, like, you’re meeting somebody for the first time, and you’re working out the tunes for the record with him, and you don’t know exactly who that person is, through and through throughout and same vice versa with him and us. But after we were done writing those songs, we just kind of looked at each other and we’re like, “Did we just become best friends?” We found that soulmate in our journey that allowed us to really open up who we are. He wasn’t prying it with a crowbar. He just had the key, you know? And everything came pretty easy after that, after we realized we could let our guard down and be who we are. Wholeheartedly.

Toddstar: Chad, this album dropped end of August, so it’s been out there a little over three months and you’ve been touring it. How’s the live reaction to this? We can all read the reviews and everything, but what’s it like being onstage and getting that feedback from the fans on the new material?

Chad: For me, it’s probably the best feeling that I’ve had, playing shows live. Because, like I said, it’s getting to be wholeheartedly myself, you know, and putting that, it’s like walking out on a stage naked. I get to go out there every single night and play the songs and bare my soul, essentially. Whether that’s the silliness of it all or the tried and true heartfeltness of it all. But the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ll be interested to see how things pan out now that we’re really starting to understand the band, and, you know, I can’t lie and tell you that it’s not obviously going to be a little scarring for some old-time fans that are like, “Wait, what the fuck? Who’s this band?” But once they see it and get it and put it all together, like, “Well, this is the same fuckin’ knuckleheads that I love.” And now, all of it, the behind the scenes action, is out in the forefront. Maybe that’s taking a bit secret of it all, but I think it ties the room together a lot. And allows those people to let loose and drop some of their dead weight, and be the person that they want to be, hopefully. And that’s the whole idea of our band, is, you don’t have to be this fucking asshole. You can be whoever you want to be. If you want to smile today, guess what, we got your back.

Toddstar: Well, we talked about you taking this out and touring it. You were recently on the road with Steel Panther. What were those shows like, opening for Steel Panther? Where you guys are a little different vein of rock and roll but still rock and roll.

Chad: I think that’s, it’s a beautiful match, the two of us. They’ve got the humor locked in, you know. The one thing I can say about playing live with them, is, man, they’re just, like, they’re so attuned, tune into each other and how they work that stage and the audience. They’re creating a fucking world, you know, and that’s been our goal, especially with this record, is to create our own world. Our own vibe. And taking that away from them every night has been, it’s a blessing, for sure. And the shows have been amazing, the crowds have been very, very, very, very warm to us, and you know, we’re selling CD’s, we’re meeting new people, we’re seeing old fans come out. And we get to see people in the front rows with our merchandise from, you know, over the years, and they’re singing along to the new songs. It’s all fucking gravy, man. It’s really great.

Toddstar: That’s cool. So, you guys have a, I think, tonight you have a radio show down in Kansas, Missouri, and you have some time off for the holidays, but then you’re playing one of my favorite joints, which you guys have played at a few times, The Machine Shop.

Chad: Oh, yeah! Can’t wait to come back home and play that.

Toddstar: What is it about a venue like The Machine Shop, or even The Machine Shop specifically, that really suits a Wilson live show?

Chad: I think it’s family. You know, that’s another thing with The Machine Shop in general. They’re like that oasis, right, in the Midwest; a Midwest CBGB’s. There’s nothing else like it, and that’s because it feels like you’re part of something. You’re a family. That people go to see shows just to go to see shows there. That doesn’t exist pretty much anywhere else in the fucking world. I mean, well, at least in the United States of America. People just don’t go out to see whatever’s playing at their local rock and roll bar the way that they used to, anymore. So, playing a Machine Shop show, and what makes it so special, is, you know, we’ve gotten to be very close with those people. Not just that work at The Machine Shop, but with the citizens of Flint and, you know, the patrons of that venue. So, when we go, when we’re getting to do something like headline The Machine Shop, which’ll be our first time ever doing that, we’re extremely proud to be able to do that, you know, because it’s a badge. It’s a badge of honor to be able to get the go-ahead from Mr. Kevin Zink to bring the heat as the headliner on the stage. So, you know, it’s going to be an interesting night, to say the least, and we’re going to be on our baddest behavior, for sure.

Toddstar: That said Chad, when you guys are out doing these shows and you are running through these new songs and you’re playing them live, what’s the one or two tracks that when you know it’s coming up in the set list, gives you that extra shot of adrenaline?

Chad: On this tour, we are opening the set list with “Dumptruck” – it’s a banger, you know. We got to come off the gate with our dicks up and windows down, if you will. That whole shock of adrenaline. I have to say this, every moment inside of our set has been like a great rollercoaster ride for me, cause it’s, you know, you’re going full speed and we get to take a step back for a minute and play songs that are big, huge singalongs, like Act My Age, and we even throw Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping” in our set. And we go into songs like “The Flood” and things like that where we’re really fine-tuning, you know, and buckling in the audience, and letting them know, like, “Okay, cool, well, yeah, this shit fucks,” but we also, we seriously fuck. You know, we got raging boners and we’re definitely, definitely going to put them in you. This is all consensually, of course. And that’s hopefully what the middle of our set is doing. And hopefully the fans react with “Okay, yeah, you guys can come on in, if you’d like.” And then from that point forward, We end the set with “Like A Baller” and “House of Fuckery,” it’s so cool because I can feel the rollercoaster ride that the crowd is going on, too. Like I said, there’s people there who know us, but there’s the majority of the people there that don’t know us. So, getting them to come in our house, essentially, you know, and then welcoming them and showing them exactly who we are, and then closing it, basically closing the door behind them with “House of Fuckery.” It’s been probably the biggest hurrah for us, when that last note hits and you see the audience go, “Oh. Fuck, yeah!”

Toddstar: With everything said and done, you know, three full-length release, touring, starting to put together some headline dates, things like that. But if you could go back professionally and have one moment to re-do, even if it didn’t change the outcome, is there something you look back on as a misstep that you’d like another crack at?

Chad: Oh, man. That’s a hard question, and it’s a really good question. It’s a difficult question, because it doesn’t, it’s not an answer that, you know, anybody else would probably care about, but personally for me, it would’ve just been to wear less hats. You know, if I could’ve took a step back, and if I could tell myself, you know, at 27, 28 years old and we’re doing it, to just enjoy it all and whatever happens, happens. I would’ve done it. You’re too far gone, you know, after so long, to really change that outcome of your daily existence inside of that world. You know, I feel like if I had any regret, it would’ve just been to let go a little bit earlier. But I don’t have any other, I don’t have any band regrets. I think everything happens for a reason, you know. And we’re in a unique position right now, and that position isn’t held by anybody else but ourselves, and that makes it even more unique. And the only reason why we’re there is because of all the past scenarios, whether they were good or bad, that we went through. I don’t really have anything band-wise, professional, on a professional side, to regret. Except for just not sitting down and taking it all in years ago.

Toddstar: Very cool. Well, listen, I appreciate you taking time out for us today, Chad. We wish you happy holidays, and safe travels between now and then, and we’ll see you in January!

Chad: Thank you, man. I can’t wait to see you at The Shop, man. First beer’s on me. Later, Todd.

WILSON LINKS:

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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