I was a little apprehensive when I received a comment from Ben Taylor, the person representing Fremont, OH’s Last of the Wildmen, asking me to review a show. With all the bad press I’ve been receiving for airing my views lately I wasn’t sure If I was the man for the job. Though I love checking out new music and hearing new artists I worry that I’ll end up turning more people off to the stuff I want to promote.
Not to worry, I’m working that day so I won’t be able to attend.
I did; however, talk Mr. Taylor into sending me a few tracks from the upcoming EP “Ship Set Sail” and to my relief, I enjoyed them. So I’ll bust out a few paragraphs telling you about them and hopefully it’ll entice you enough to check them out for yourself at lastofthewildmen.com
The Last of the Wildmen bill themselves as a folk-rock band, which was the main cause for my trepidation. Sure, I like Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel, but I wouldn’t consider myself a big fan of folk music. Folk music makes me think of the crap that high schoolers play at open mics: Neil Young covers and songs to boyfriends. Thankfully the wildmen mix in a healthy dose of modern pop rock which makes it not just bearable, but delightful.
“Running Wild” is a catchy mellow rock tune with plenty of clean guitar work that evokes Foo Fighters and Weezer. The lead riff is so catchy that it makes you want to sing along. “Earthquake” is a bit darker and fuzzed out and features a full fledged scream that any metal band would be proud to have but still retains the catchy hooks and simple composition that proves at heart the Wildmen are just a folk band with a few layers added. “Morning Light” starts with a multi-layered vocal intro that makes me think it could be a traditional ballad Alan Lomax recorded a hundred years ago. The banjo and harmonies help retain the feel of a folk tune but the electric guitars do a brilliant job of bringing out hidden melodies and making the song contemporary.
Aside from the three songs I also found a web series featuring the band called “en Route”. It was an interesting way to get to know the boys and while I don’t want to say too much about it for fear of spoiling some of the drama, I will say that it’s worth checking out. The theme song “Soul Searching,” has been stuck in my head for most of the week. The series recently wrapped up its first season and also includes behind the scenes views of the making of some of the bands videos, which are also quite enjoyable.
Do yourself a favor and check out the Last Of The Wildmen when they appear with Cute Boots and Cold Front at the Buzzbin Art & Music Shop on March 5th. Admission is free and there will be great deals on PBR in addition to the awesome live music.
THIS JUST IN:
Here is a short email interview with answers from guitarist/vocalist Jimmie Getty.
Almost Famous: How did you all meet?
Jimmie Getty: Four of us had been in bands in Northwest Ohio for the past eight years. We would get together off and on and write/hang out, but we were always more committed to other projects. Phil moved up here from Kentucky a little over a year ago, and we became fast friends. It made sense that we should all play together.
AF: Where did the name “Last of the Wildmen” come from?
JG: We were initially called “Wildmen”. The five of us enjoy hiking, camping, and spending time in more natural, remote locations. There’s a band in Italy called “Wildmen”, and they were convinced that we had stolen their one-word name. We decided to adapt ours and make it a little more specific. So far it’s been working! It isn’t necessarily intended to refer directly to us. We’re developing a story that involves the guy on our album cover. He has intrigued us, and we feel like he needs to be brought to life a little more. He may be the last of the wildmen.
AF: What makes a Wildman?
AF: What makes you guys Wildmen?
JG: We’ve always felt more inclined to take the less “comfortable” route. We’d rather be on an adventure and sacrifice some luxuries than sit at home and enjoy cable television.
AF: Why do you all have beards except for Phil?Is he the only one with a razor?
JG: Phil has not been faithful in saying his nightly prayers to the beard gods. We all have razors, they’re just buried in dust and cobwebs.
AF: Who writes the songs?
JG: All 5 of us are writers. Matt, Kyle, and I wrote “Open Future”, but Sam and Phil have both written on our upcoming release.
AF: Is this your first time in Canton?
JG: As a band? Yes!
AF: What made you want to play music?
JG: Music is the best way that we’ve found to travel on a regular basis. It’s been an escape from every day life, as well as a literal escape from our little hometown. We all enjoy writing, and playing songs for people as well. It’s a cool way to connect with other human beings.
AF: I really enjoyed your web series “En Route,” whose idea was it? When will we be seeing more?
JG: Thanks for checking out the web series! It was mostly Phil’s idea to start documenting and sharing the “process” of us pursuing music. We are currently editing together footage for a new en Route episode. Our goal is to release one every couple of weeks or so.
AF: What kind of jobs do you guys have?
JG: I work at a coffee shop/art gallery a few days a week, Kyle works at Big Lots. Sam works for a custom trailer building company. We’ve always tried to keep our work schedules simple so we can spend more time working on music, but it gets tricky with 5 people.
AF: You had some experience with a major record label with a previous band. Was that a positive experience?
JG: Looking back on the experience with a major record label, it’s much easier to see the positives now. At the time, it was incredibly frustrating. We had met some great people in the industry, made what we believed was the best album we could make, and then we sat around and waited for permission to do….just about anything. It’s reinforced to us, the importance of working hard for yourself. If other people want to contribute down the road, that’s great, but record labels are no longer necessary for bands to get themselves off the ground.
AF: What does The future hold for Last of the Wildmen?
JG: I have no idea what the future holds for this band. I think we’re all having so much fun playing music together that we enjoy soaking up the present. Our goal is to make a career out of this band, and to go about it in a manner that is responsible and business savvy, but the goal at the end of the day is simple: make music and go play it for people.
Best of luck to Jimmy and the rest of the Wildmen!