Michigan and Idaho don’t have much in common, but one thing that is shared is a love of music, and the character of having a solid working class ethic. Perhaps that’s one reason Boise rock fans have been overheard at local music stores asking about Wayland’s new EP.
Before Wayland took the name of their hometown, the band did as many young rockers across the span of time have done, and moved to Los Angeles. At the time they were known as Whiskey Circus– a name befitting a Sunset Strip band by any measure. They quickly discovered however that their straight up, Midwest blues-based hard rock was too grounded for the SoCal fairytale. So prior to recording its debut album in 2010 the band went back to their roots.
The quartet, is comprised of vocalist Mitch Arnold, guitarist Phillip Vilenski, bassist Dean Pizzazz, and drummer Tyler Coburn . Only Vilenski is actually from Wayland. Arnold hails from Bloomington, Indiana, while the other Michigan boys, Coburn and Pizzazz come from Middleville and Mt. Clemens, respectively. Still, all understand the Midwest work ethic and blue-collar attitude. This comes through on the band’s EP, Welcome to My Head.
Lifehouse manager Jude Cole also handles these Michigan lads, along co-conspirator Jesse James Dupree of Jackyl and Full Throttle Saloon fame. Cole helped produce the EP and released it through his own Ironworks records.
The EP is four songs of classic rock and roll euphoria, with a fresh and inspired feel. “There’s blood, sweat, and heart all over that record,” offers Arnold.
Last week the Boise Music Examiner spoke with Arnold about the band’s history, and working class feel. “There’s no room for rockstars anymore in our business,” he offered. “If you get on stage with an ego, if you get on stage with an agenda, if you get on stage and you’re not real, [people] just don’t get it. People are hungry for the heart of rock and roll.”
Wayland cites Journey, Led Zeppelin, The Killers and Kings of Leon among their influences, while their ReverbNation page declares they sound like Shinedown, The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, Pop Evil, and Guns N’ Roses. In truth, there are elements of all these bands that are filtered through the Wayland’s music. However, the band that really comes to mind every time I hear these guys is Bad Company. Consider that high praise.
Call it a combination of Arnold’s voice and phrasing to the way the melodies are framed. There’s just something that recalls Paul Rodgers and Co. You can hear it right from the opening track, “Nobody’s Perfect” with its bluesy rhythms and rolling bass. The lyrics are playful and engaging and tell the tale of man’s struggle with finding out what the flaw is with the seemingly perfect woman in his life; “maybe a shemale lying underneath it all…nobody’s perfect”.
The title track, “Welcome To My Head”, has a much more modern vibe to it that brings to mind band’s like Silvertide and Adelitas Way, but that Bad Co. vibe is still there on the chorus. This is the album’s first single and it’s simply owned Midwest radio, and the rest of the nation is starting to catch on, including here in Boise. Arnold says the song is a bit of a look into his psyche.
The closest thing listeners get to a ballad here is the moody and melodic mid tempo 80′s style rocker, “On My Knees”. The chorus brings in something of a Donnie Vie feel, circa Enuff’s Z’Nuff.
Closing it out is a tribute to Michigan legend, Bob Seger. The band gives its own twist on Seger’s “Fire Down Below” from his classic ’76 album, Night Moves. Wayland offers up a far grittier and ballsy version than its predecessor with lots of crunch and oomph. “We wanted to pay homage to a great American songwriter,” said Arnold. “He’s one of the original working class musicians.”
In all, these four songs offer a bright glimpse of how special Wayland is and could be for years to come. The band is currently getting ready to complete the recording of their full-length album which they hope to have out this summer.
You can listen to our full 30 minute interview with Arnold in the video box at left.
Music is the universal language, speak it loudly!
Rustyn Rose is a veteran music journalist who owns and operates Metalholic Magazine and Mojo Radio.