Where in the world are we?
Last thing I remember, we were picking up fan mail from the PO Box and sending back homemade cassettes of our latest songs. "Hey man, check this out" Rob says while waving a newspaper article sent from a fan in London. "'Wanderlust's debut album Prize,'" he reads out loud, "'is one of the greatest rock records of all time.'" We are shocked, bummed and excited all at once.
Shocked that anyone with a British accent even knows us (since our album wasn't even released in the UK), bummed that we can't get arrested in the US (why would anyone want to get arrested anyway?) and excited by the ridiculous statement (but we'll take it!).
The four of us - Rob on guitar, Jim on drums, Mark on bass and me at the mic - look at each other for a moment and get back to rehearsing for our next show: opening for THE WHO at the US Air Arena in Maryland at the end of the week. Our topic today: do we do “Pinball Wizard” as our last song like we usually do, or not? We wind up scratching it. For fear of, you know, our lives.
Flash forward to 2010. I'm standing in my kitchen telling someone the story and she says "What song is that?" “What song is what?" I ask. "Pinball...huh?" "Wizard!....um, you know...the friggin' WHO?!" I say, bewildered. My very young friend is blank-faced. My powers don't work anymore. The Wizard is dead...
But then fate comes knocking, er, kicking the door the hell down last year.
I wake up at the crack of noon and sleepily walk upstairs to the blonde upright piano. My fingers find the white keys (yes, the white keys) and a dreamy carnival-like tune drips out. I set up a mic, eyes still pasty from sleep, and record me playing this buttery progression for the next 10 minutes or so. It's like I can't stop.
A week later Rob pops into my head. Rob Bonfiglio, the John to my Paul, Keith to my Mick. Carl to my Brian. Hadn't spoke to him in ages. Things ended bad years back. Frontmen and guitarist/singers don't make for the smoothest relationships. "You're too loud...turn down your amp!" "It's only on 2!” "Dude..." "Dude what?" You know, intellectual debates.
But now we're all grown up. I email Rob an mp3 of the instrumental with a note saying "Hey man, made this up last week. If you have any ideas throw it on :)” Wasn't sure if he'd say "F U" or what. A few days later I get an email back and a new mp3 with him singing and playing drums and guitar all over it. And it's f**king phenomenal. It's called "Illuminate." And it does just that. Funny thing is, he doesn't edit it. He fills in all 10 minutes! What a freak. I love him.
"Hey man, um...uh...what do you think about making a new Wanderlust album?" I email back. "Right on," he replies.
Cue the intro to “Pinball Wizard” now.
Six months later, with the help of Tommy Joyner and Milkboy Studios, an all-new album is recorded in three days. Yes, three days. Why three days? Because Rob and Mark have kids back in LA and they can't be hanging out 3,000 miles away that's why. Pressure is on. But we've always thrived on time constraints like this.
The week went like this:
Monday: Rob and I write a couple songs together.
Tuesday: I write some stuff myself and I grab a forgotten one I wrote with Mark way back.
Wednesday: We all go to Jim's house and rehearse for the first time since the internet was invented.
Thursday: Start recording.
Friday: Continue recording.
Friday night: Play live show to a packed room.
Saturday: Finish recording.
Sunday: Mark and Rob fly back to LA.
Barrie McGuire produces. Joyner Mixes.
Summer 2012 starts, heating up a cold Philadelphia while whatever the new configuration of the music business tries to figure out how to market this thing. The fans, who funded the whole album via Feed the Muse, say "Just release the damn thing...we wanna hear it now!"
And somehow we are back to stuffing our music into envelopes and sending them to our fans and friends. Just like the semi-old days. Only this time it takes two seconds, not two days.
Power pop quartet Wanderlust signed to RCA in the mid-‘90s and released their debut album Prize to critical acclaim. The band broke up in 1998, and the members went their separate ways, always staying active in various music projects. Wanderlust reformed in 2011, and their new album Record Time was released on September 25th, 2012.
Find out everything you ever wanted to know about Wanderlust at wanderlustfans.com.