Artist Interview – John Wicks and The Records

John Wicks is a singer-songwriter, originally from Reading in the UK and now currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Wicks has enjoyed a prolific and successful music career which started out when he was the lead singer-songwriter for the mod powerpop band The Records in the 1970’s. Recently The Records have re-formed, now consisting of John Wicks (Guitar and Vocals), Dennis Taylor (Bass) and Tommy Montes (Drums). Despite John’s hectic schedule we were delighted when he agreed to complete and interview for Song Revelation. Read the full interview below to discover what John’s currently working on, what his creative process is for creating music and which current artists John is inspired by.

 

John Wicks and The Records

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTUWmXoxEsg


 

Q: Who are you called?

John Wicks and The Records

aka: The Records (featuring John Wicks)

 

Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?

Pop/Rock/Alternative/Acoustic

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

Melodic, hook-laden, story-driven songs, with soaring harmonies, fused with hard driving guitars.

 

Q: What is your musical background?

Raised in a musical family, my mother was an accomplished pianist.  Started composing songs aged 14 – joined my first professional band aged 17.  Been a singer-songwriter and musician ever since.

Enjoyed major success in the late 70’s early 80’s with my band The Records.  We released 3 albums on Virgin Records, the first, entitled – Shades In Bed/TheRecords – produced by Mutt Lange and Tim Friese-Greene, reached #41 on the U.S.

Billboard chart, spawning the hit singles, Starry Eyes and Teenarama.  Opened for the likes of The Cars and Elvis Costello, also toured with Robert Palmer, Joe Jackson, The Jam and many others.

 

Q: How was 2010 for you?

A: 2010 was quite a good year, consisting of writing, recording performing, pretty much like most years, in fact!

 

John Wicks and The Records

John Wicks and The Records

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8-tYFRF9A0


 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

Anything, and anyone that moves me, at any given time.

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

Dave Grohl/Foo Fighters, Jack White.

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

All 3 of the above!

 

Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?

I have yet to get around to the iPod thing, mainly because I’m too busy to deal with all the uploading, and whatever.

Instead, I listen to a mix of stuff on the likes of Pandora.  I especially enjoy the element of surprise – discovering artists and music that I was previously unaware of.  I listen mainly to classical music on the car radio, whilst driving.

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

When it comes to songwriting/composing, I don’t adhere to any hard and fast rules, as such, so it varies.  Sometimes a melody will pop into my head, and maybe words will manifest at the same time, or I’ll be strumming my guitar, and a similar thing happens.  Other times a cool title comes to mind, and a song evolves and develops from there.  Or I might be inspired by something I read in a newspaper.  Ultimately, inspiration is all around us, like an energy-field.  The knack, I feel – if there is one – is to tune-in to it.

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

Whilst I like to think that both are equally important, Bob Dylan, and the likes, aside – I feel that for most popular songs, anyway, a really catchy melody is key.  That said, I always endeavour to write – what I consider to be, imho – intelligent, meaningful and thought-provoking lyrics.  One of my favorite lines is from The Who/Pete Townshend song, Won’t Get Fooled Again.  ‘Meet the new boss…  Same as the old boss…’  Concise, yet incredibly profound, it resonates strongly, to this day!

 

John Wicks and The Records

John Wicks and The Records


 

Q: Where are you based?

Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

Well, I’m originally from the U.K.  Born in Caversham, and raised in Reading, Berkshire in fact. Pre- Reading Festival days, I might add.  That said, if I really liked living there, I guess I wouldn’t be living here!  Haha!

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

Re- records of some of the old Records’ songs, so that I can improve on the original recordings, and also own or co-own the masters.

Also writing and recording new material, which will be made available for download.  Once I have 10 – 12 songs completed, the plan is to release a full length CD – for those folks who prefer pyhsical product.  And of course, playing out live, with a band, doing some solo acoustic shows, and working on effective ways to promote myself and my music, in this new era.

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

My time with The Records during their heyday.

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?

I’m hoping to spread the word, and in doing so, reach a wider audience.

 

Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?

Not too many at the moment, mainly local shows, in and around the LA area, as I’m concentrating my efforts on the business side of music right now.  Am working closely with a label on the re- records, and we have plans to repackage my current CD Rotate.

After that, we can think about playing shows further afield, again.

 

John Wicks and The Records

John Wicks and The Records

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2Ybu_9-8MA


 

Q: What do you do to relax?

Drink copious amounts of tequila and wine!

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

My CD – Rotate, and also my live DVD – Lessons Learned.

 

Editor’s Note: John Wicks is a prolific and successful singer-songwriter that has enjoyed longevity in his musical career. At Song Revelation we love his catchy riffs, individualism and stage presence.

 

If you’d like to learn more about or contact John Wicks and the Records just follow the links below:

 

facebook link: www.facebook.com/TheRecordsFeaturingJohnWicks

myspace link: www.myspace.com/johnwicksandtherecords

myspace link: : www.myspace.com/johnwickssolo

web page link: www.johnwicksandtherecords.com

web page link: www.wickswirks.com

reverbnation link: www.reverbnation.com/johnwicksandtherecords

 

 

Great Music for the Road

All you technically need for your next road trip this summer is, of course, a vehicle and a full gas tank. But there are inarguably a few things that you must be prepared with in order to set forth on your next road trip. No cruising would be complete without some supremely unhealthy snacks, a trusty pair of shades, and a road trip play list. Can you imagine driving without a selection of tunes, with only silence or your friend’s snoring surrounding you? It just wouldn’t be the same!

The perfect road trip play list should be sing-along worthy, help to pass the time quickly, keep you alert without the use of Red Bull, and encompass the free and exciting feeling of being out on the open road. Because no road trip would be complete without it, here is a list of ten great albums for the road.

 

 

 

 

Guy Forsyth

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52TtjRmIoTs

(1) Guy Forsyth, Steak, Texas Music Group, 2000

Austin-based artist Forsyth has been praised as one of the most intriguing figures in the blues world today. His album of “rockin’ American blues” includes songs such as “Cadillac,” which explores the idea that no woman can resist a big, shiny car.

 

 

 

 

 

Outkast

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVyVIsvQoaE

(2) Outkast, Stankonia, La Face, 2000

There is a reason that Outkast is one of the most successful hip hop groups of all time, and that this album, their fourth, is the one that really rocketed them to commercial success. By the time you get to “B.O.B,” the eleventh and best track, you won’t be able to sit still in your seat and you’ll probably spill your Big Gulp in your lap.

 

 

 

 

 

AC/DC

(3) AC/DC, Highway to Hell, Epic Records, re-released in 2003 (original release date 1979)

Tracks like “Girls Got Rhythm” and “Shot Down in Flames” are ones you’ll know even if you’ve never listened to an AC/DC album before. Just don’t get a frog in your throat as you try to imitate Bon Scott’s unique screamy tenor voice.

 

 

 

 

 

The Eagles

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SALLThkiPJs

(4) The Eagles, Eagles, Elektra/Wea, 1972

A little bit country, a little bit American rock, and a little bit bluegrass, The Eagles’ classic debut album is chock-full of peaceful, easy feeling songs that will take your mind off of the fact that there is not another rest stop for 64 miles.

 

 

 

 

 

Daft Punk

(5) Daft Punk, Human After All, Virgin Records US, 2005

This French duo’s raucous electronic tracks are seriously infectious. To really pass the time in the car, listen to the ninth song “Technologic” and count the number of times it uses the word “it.” (Okay, I’ll tell you: It’s 350 times.)

 

 

 

 

 

John Legend

(6) John Legend, Get Lifted, Sony, 2004

John Legend’s Get Lifted is distinctly more upbeat than his follow-up album Once Again. It has just the right combination of Legend’s smooth-like-butter voice and catchy beats. Plus, it features tracks with Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, The Stephens Family, and Miri Ben-Ari. Win.

 

 

 

 

David Bowie

(7) David Bowie, Best Of Bowie, Virgin Records US, 2002

How cool is Bowie? He’s so cool that in 1975, he was asked to perform on Soul Train. Yes, he’s that cool. This 2-CD set covers all of his best over four decades, from “China Girl” to “I’m Afraid of Americans.”

 

 

 

 

 

Alanis Morissette

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGjaaQAvSTA

(8) Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill, Maverick, 1995

Anyone who claims to not enjoy loudly belting out the lyrics to “You Oughta Know,” “Hand In My Pocket” and “All I Really Want” is a liar. Plain and simple. Yeah, I said it.

 

 

 

 

 

Beck

(9) Beck, Odelay, Geffen, 1996

Beck is undoubtedly one of the most creative musical artists of the 1990s. This album is an interesting and perhaps even slightly absurd mix of electronic bleeps, soulful blues, garage-style kitsch, punk guitar riffs, and smooth melodies. In short, it’s got a little something for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

DJ Tiesto

(10) DJ Tiësto, Summerbreeze, Nettwerk Records, 2000

Something about this remarkably accomplished DJ’s continuous in-the-mix album just pairs up beautifully with the highway and open windows. It’s less “bleep bloopy” than many other trance albums, and has a smooth sound that you can’t really help but bob your head to.

 

Don’t Give Up on Kate: There’s an Album on the Way

Unless you’re a die-hard fan, you would never believe that Kate Bush is releasing an album in May. The 52-year-old’s album, Director’s Cut, is a collection of remakes from albums, The Sensual World and Red Shoes. There have been rumours that the national treasure with the idiosyncratic vocal style is working on new material for another album, release date is not confirm- you never know, it could be another decade!

 

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp43OdtAAkM

 

This is the first album in five years. Her last album, Ariel, which sold 1.1 million copies worldwide (excluding the US), was released in 2005. That’s an impressive comeback, as the pervious album, Red Shoes, was released in 1993.

Kate Bush

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9F5XHZ0NPGc

 

So what did one of UK’s successful female artist did during the 12 year period? Bush was a big fan of films and acting. In 1993, she directed and starred in a film, The Line, The Cross, The Curve, which Bush later described as ‘a load of bollocks.’ The following year, she provided psychedelic-theme music for soft drink firm Fruitopia that was aired in the United States.

 

As her public appearance reduced, the tabloids labelled her as an ‘electric recluse’. But something far more precious moment happen to Bush- she gave birth to her son Albert or ‘Bertie’ in 1998 – not many people know this fact. Among the rubbish film (her words, not mine), producing music for commercials and providing her son a normal life, Kate was also working on her much anticipated 2005 album.

 

Kate started out as a bright-eyed and light-footed 19 year-old with her first single, Wuthering Heights. The song stole the top spot in the UK single charts for four weeks, making her the first ever woman to have a UK number one with a self-penned song. Bush continued to pave her way as a creditable artist as she was also the first ever woman to have top spot on the UK album chart.

Kate Bush

 

 

Bush –renowned for combining performing arts with (described by the media as) eclectic/ pop art music– churned out classics after classics, including Babooshka, Running Up That Hill, Cloudbusting The Sensual World, Don’t Give Up and more recently King Of The Mountain.

 

So will we relive the classics through up-and coming tours? Kate only did one concert during her 30 year music career – and that was in 1979. So the answer to that is don’t hold your breath.

 

Director’s Cut is out on 16 May.

 

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk-4lXLM34g

Videos: Three Great Covers by Anna Calvi

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Anna Calvi is one of the most promising female performers to appear in the last six months — and her rise has been almost meteoric. London born- and -raised Calvi got her start playing music early, beginning with the violin, later switching to guitar. As a solo artist more or less from the start, she played around her home city for a few years, but never really fit into any prescribed scene. She was, after all, a singular female with an unorthodox playing style, an unusual voice, and an obsession with dark glamour and offbeat musical predecessors like David Bowie.

 

Anna Calvi

 

In an era of so much cookie-cutter music, though, this kind of strident individualism struck a chord with a certain breed of music fan, especially those in the fashion world.  Though Calvi shuns any kind of designer-focused style, she carefully chooses clothing as dramatic as her music, often appearing in frilly, men’s flamenco-style shirts.

 

This all added up to a self-titled first record this past January that debuted at number 40 on the U.K. charts. With its off-kilter song patterns and quavering, haunting guitar work, the success was well deserved. But beyond Calvi’s original compositions, she’s also known as an interpreter of other people’s songs, especially live. Here are three that are particularly striking.

 

“Sound and Vision,” originally by David Bowie

In this early, self-filmed YouTube video, Calvi attacked one of the greatest tracks by her idol Bowie in her attic, accompanied by a friend playing a squeezebox.

 

Anna Calvi onstage in London

“Jezebel,” originally by Edith Piaf

It takes definite guts to cover a song as renowned as Edith Piaf’s “Jezebel.” But not only did Anna Calvi do so, but she’s performed the song to rousing reactions in Paris.

 

 

 

“Joan of Arc,” originally by Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen songs cover a wide, moody emotional palette, making them particularly suited to Calvi’s introspective re-workings. Her tinkling, wavy guitar playing gives the song almost an aquatic effect in this clip, taken from a performance at Le Nouveau Casino in Paris.

 

Anna Calvi

 

 

Time is Still on the Side of the Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones have been back in the news with rumours circulating that the band are set to tour again in 2011. Keith Richards hinted at this prospect in interviews in late 2010 but these new rumours have came about due to a court case going on at the moment. The case revolves a contractual dispute between Live Nation and their former chairman but part of the case centred on who would have the rights to the forthcoming Rolling Stones tour.

The Rolling Stones - On Tour

The Rolling Stones - On Tour

A spokesperson for the band quickly intimated that the act had no plans for touring in 2011 but it once again brings to mind the longevity of the band. There may only be three original members of the group left in the act, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts but considering the fact that Ronnie Wood has well over 30 years worth of experience in the band, it would be wrong to classify him as a newcomer. The first question revolves around how can the Rolling Stones keep on performing?

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones

How is Keith still alive?

Most people in the 60s and 70s would have been stunned if you told them Richards would still be alive in 2011, let alone making music and touring the world playing gigs. Some bands have a mythology about them with regards to the rock n roll lifestyle but you get the impression that there are many great stories about the Stones that have been forgotten over the years.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wau_jhTDJg

The money obviously helps in providing an impetus in getting back on the road but it is not as if any member of the Stones is so hard up for cash. Their back catalogue would be enough to provide enough income through royalties to have a comfortable lifestyle so it must be something else.

Keith Richards - The Rolling Stones

Keith Richards - The Rolling Stones

Playing live can feel like a drug for performers

The idea that the buzz of playing on stage is like a drug to performers is probably the real answer why the Stones keep on touring, even at times when they do not have a new album to perform. Knowing that you can walk on a stage virtually anywhere in the world and play in front of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people each night must be a massive boost to the ego, which is no doubt another reason why the Stones keep plugging on.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14j5huBOybE

The thing about The Stones is that so many acts that have played on the same bill with them have reformed to great publicity and hype but even though The Stones have never really went away at any point, the demand and fervour around them stays the same. In fact, the only way The Rolling Stones could create a bigger demand in their shows would be if they were to announce that they were retiring and their next tour was to be their last. The only thing is, who would believe that?

You get the feeling that for as long as they remain able to play, the Rolling Stones will never rule out the possibility of playing live. Whether it happens in 2011 or now who knows but you can expect The Stones to not fade away anytime soon.

Will Evanescence Return in 2011?

The band Evanescence has evolved significantly over the past four years. Slowly progressing since 1995, the band has changed members quite a bit, reportedly for a number of different reasons. Since 1995, front woman Amy Lee has been the band’s constant member, originally founding Evanescence with former guitarist Ben Moody. She has since then taken time to write, record, and release the band’s albums, and guitarist John Le Compt, drummer Rocky Gray, and co-founder Ben Moody have all left and have been replaced since 2007.

Amy Lee - Evanescence

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cbHR045Wt0

Today, fans everywhere have been questioning whether or not there would be a follow-up album to The Open Door, which released back in 2006, due to the myriad of breakup rumors that have swirled since the band’s major transitions. Now here we are nearly four years later, and if you are and avid Evanesce fan, that is a very long time! If you find yourself missing the band’s incomparable Gothic pop rock sound and Lee’s killer vocals, then you have probably been dying for the band’s comeback. Amy Lee made an announcement about new material in the works during the summer of 2010, subtly alluding to a new album release in late 2010, and spoke to Spin magazine about it earlier in the year. The album never happened, and fans immediately sunk back into Evanescence limbo.

Amy Lee

So what’s an Evanescence fan to do? Will Evanescence finally return in 2011? Thankfully, amidst the unsettling drama that has surrounded the band– including the loss of their former manager and guitarist Terry Balsamo’s stroke—there may finally be light at the end of the tunnel. Another album is rumored to release in the spring of 2011, with the possible title Deep Silence. Although there has been some speculation about this throughout the fan communities, the band’s news section of the official webpage has recently been cleared, indicating something may actually be in the works. Whether the album does indeed hit the shelves in the spring or not, we can be sure to expect more haunting melodies and hard-driving riffs from the band in the near future.

At One Point Red Hot Chili Peppers Were Red Hot…. Right?

The great Red Hot Chili Peppers have been around for a couple decades now and have recently been seen as one of the greater bands of our generation. The problem is that the greatest of their works were created when most people weren’t listening to them. So why are they so Red Hot now?

Red Hot Chilli Peppers

You can call the Red Hot Chili Peppers one of the greatest bands to have ever existed, but many cannot name any songs that came before Californication. Which is an upsetting fact because a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers best work came before they were really commercialized? Not to take away from any of their recent musical projects, they have in a whole been great from beginning to end. There are just too many people out there who call themselves Red Hot Chili Pepper fans but they can’t name a song off of their album Mother’s Milk. Which is one of the greatest CD’s they have ever created.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gs2o5T7oN8

Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Mother's Milk

One of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers Best Albums?

Their true unique nature was shown in their earlier works with their ability to truly not really give a crap what anyone thought of them. That is pretty much what caught everyone’s attention to begin with. They would show up to concerts with nothing but a sock covering their junk to perform or show up with giant flamethrowers on their heads at their showings. Now that they have become a more recognizable band, they have lost some of that edginess they first came onto the scene with. Which you could say is expected; they matured with their music as some would argue. Yeah they did and they should be applauded for that. It just needs to be pointed out their early tracks they created like Suck My Kiss and The Power of Equality were some of their greatest works. It was during this time that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were truly Red Hot. Making songs for the fun and excitement of it all and doing it in a real rock and roll fashion. A marking for a great band is always where they started and the Chili Peppers started Red Hot earning their name and their way into the mainstream of today. If you consider yourself a true Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, you should not only look into all of their past records but also pick up Anthony Kiedis’s book Scar Tissue, to get a more in depth look into their music and background as a band.

Has Devandra Banhart Left The Underground?

Devandra Banhart has so many original and powerful tracks but not many people know who he is. It’s surprising that someone with so much talent and great works of art is not recognized for his work as he should be. Devandra Banhart is by far one of the greatest artists of our time and so little people know or have even heard his name before.

Devendra Banhart

Devandra Banhart can be said to be one of the most original artists in music to date. He has produced many tracks that only few have really heard. When my generation speaks of good music I hear Lil Wayne and Lady Gaga over and over again. But when an actual artist like Devandra comes along with great songs like Little Yellow Spider, and doesn’t receive any credit for his works it gets upsetting. To argue that he doesn’t spark your imagination just listening to his thoughtful and sometimes goofy lyrics is a battle you will lose. His songs are creative and unique that can be related too in many different ways. Some may read into his lyrics one way and others a different way. No matter which way you read into them you agree they are great lyrics in their own manner.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhW7FLo6peU

Doubt that Devandra is really looking to become a mainstream singer or become super famous from his musical works, which just adds to his originality when it comes to his music. He may like to stay underground for you could really argue that the true lovers of music are the ones who dig deep enough in music to find the underground music. So even if he is left to be an unknown artist, you should believe he should be the one of the most credited unknown artist there is. In the long run he is sure he will begin known in people’s minds when people speak of great singer/songwriters. Although, you wish he could receive the credit he deserves it may be better for him to stay right where he is. To not only keep him separated from other artists but to allow him to keep his unique style and creative mind set, un-tampered from any of the mainstream business he may be dragged into. For any other Devandra Banhart fan you will feel the same when said, that sometimes the greatest of artists need to be left to their own genre. Not cast into another one where they don’t fit or get the recognition they deserve. We can only thank him for his music and wish him well and to hopefully continue upon his path of creativity.

A Little Classical Never Hurts

Classical music gets a bad reputation as being for rich or geeky people. Really it is one of the most difficult and most beautiful genres of music ever to be created. The works of Beethoven to current works of artists like Danny Wright are all pieces that any one person who listened too them, couldn’t disagree there is nothing but beauty in the writing and playing.

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Most people consider Classical music to be boring or for anyone who is over the age of 60. If you were to listen to four different pieces created and played by the great Beethoven, you would erase that image from your mind. Every Classical music piece has a story to it that the artist shares with you. Not with words, but with instruments and sounds that can range from a solo pianist to a symphony or orchestra. A talent that can only be achieved with utter greatness upon ones instrument can you really hear the story and feelings in a song. Classical gives you all of this in one genre that will not blow your mind but blast it to another universe of music.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4IRMYuE1hI

The beginnings of all music can be translated to have some kind of relation back to Classical. From the notes or rhythms in the songs, or even the melody or inspiration a song might bring to a fellow artist. The younger generations have already taken Classical music and stomped on it repeatedly, saying it doesn’t have any flavor or excitement. Although, agreeing there are some pieces of Classical music that can lull you to sleep. You have to understand these composers and artists are creating all this music simply from their own talents and an instrument. Not a fancy recording device or sound amplifier. It’s just a person with their feelings and thoughts being played out on an instrument.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Classical is great to listen to but not trying to convince anyone to become a hardcore fan. A little Classical music would never hurt anyone, in fact it’s proven in tests to improve a persons IQ simply from just listening. There is no doubt that someone who truly gives Classical a chance will not be disappointed to find a new genre to indulge in. So not only asking you, but promising you to give Classical a chance to be heard and you will broaden your musical horizons to another level. If interested check out the different works of Beethoven or Mozart. Any of their musical pieces will show you a new world of musical feelings and thoughts to deal with. Another great example is Cannon in D Composed by Johann Pachelbel.

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