Star Scene: Andrew Stockdale ~ WOLFMOTHER

Andrew Stockdale’s scene is cultured. The guitarist and lead vocalist of Australian band, Wolfmother, states: “I like surfing. I like going to art galleries. I love driving. I drive a lot. I love travelling, restaurants, coffee, architecture.”

Bursting on to the music scene in 2005 with Woman, Wolfmother has gone from strength to strength, developing a unique and distinctive rock style. Stockdale states: “Before I started Wolfmother, I think my main influences were like Money Mark, Supergrass, and I had a best of album of Sabbath. And there are lots of other bands around Sydney at the time -Rocket Science. When we saw Rocket Science and the keys, we thought that would be a good thing to add to Wolfmother – to get that 60s Hammond keyboard solo. A lot of those bands also had a pretty upbeat, energetic quirky funny kind of rock show. Pretty much everything started to evolve from there. People said I had a voice like Ozzy or like Robert Plant or that the keys sounded like Deep Purple. All the comparisons came after that. We kind of grew into our own our own sound.”

The band has released four studio albums to date, leading to multi-platinum sales and many awards, including an ARIA and Grammy. The band still tours extensively and easily sells out theatres, stadiums and festivals to an ever-increasing world-wide following by keeping their signature sound yet evolving with each new release. Stockdale states: “I think it just happens naturally. I think if you write some songs every six months to a year, every song takes you to another place. With my solo record there’s a bit of a Stones influence and some songs there’s a bit of a open tuning bluesy kind of sound with some of those riffs. When bands start naturally what they’re looking for is a sound that separates them from everyone else. When you find your sound and you have some success and people get into it, sometimes I don’t think it’s worth it to throw that away and just try and do something completely different.”

Wolfmother’s signature sound has as much to do with the guitars as it does to Stockdale’s distinctive voice, which may have never happened. He explains: “As a singer, you don’t really know you have a unique voice that people recognise until you record a few songs and you play and you tour. At the start we put up ads looking for a singer for the band and it was only maybe a year after that where I wrote some demos and I was singing on it. I said ‘do you guys want to play these songs, do you mind if I sing on it’. But it took a while to take on that role.”

Still, Stockdale “always” wanted to “do music”. He recalls: “I remember going to New York when I was 22. We flew to New York and had no money and I saw the size of Manhattan and I’m like ‘Man, you have to, because that’s the way of the world and there’s no way, you’ll get left behind, if you keep stuffing around playing guitar’. And last year I went to New York five times and played sold out shows and festivals everywhere. It just shows that you never really know what you could succeed at.  There’s this whole idea that you’ve got to have a good profession – a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, something like that. I went completely against the grain with that and I managed to develop a career out of it, as they say. Yeah, you’d never guess it back then.”

Stockdale’s journey is encouraging to musicians, especially those just starting out. He states that he’s “in an optimistic mood at the moment” and we’ve “caught [him] at a good time” yet there are many tracks on the latest Wolfmother album, Victorious, that are also positive. The track ‘The Love That You Give’ being a prime example. Stockdale states: “I think there’s so much perfection and amazing stuff around us these days that people get intimidated by it all and they don’t do anything themselves or they don’t take chances because they can just weigh up all the reasons it’s not going to work before they even make the smallest step.

I think the universe rewards you for giving. Be a giver not a taker. That’s my philosophy…

So I mean that song is about make the first step, write that crappy riff and someone might say that’s terrible and they could be right but at least you did it … I think the universe rewards you for giving. Be a giver not a taker. That’s my philosophy; if you give and you don’t constantly weigh up how much you are going to get out of this, what’s the money … just give and as things progress, things work out. Take risks. It’s a high-risk industry. Even with this tour, I’m taking a risk.  I don’t know what’s going to happen, I don’t know if anyone is going to turn up.” Stockdale laughs and continues: “I heard this story the other day – this guy,  he only sold one ticket at one of his shows and the guy said, ‘Get all the chairs out of the venue, tonight is a sold out show, we’re playing to one person.’.”

Stockdale was never one to follow rules or become a cliché. “In rock n roll there’s all these clichés of how you should make a rock record and should it be a bunch of guys who you went to school with, who are best mates, and you create music democratically, and then you have a producer from LA, then you have a studio that costs two thousand dollars a day and there’s all thess kind of preconceived ways that you think that you should have to make a rock record.” Stockdale recollects taking a “completely different approach” with the Victorious album: “When I demoed ‘Joker and the Thief’ and ‘Woman’, I played drums, bass, guitar and I pitched the first verse and the chorus and then I’d arrange it with the band, so I thought what if I just do the whole thing.  And I didn’t really have a band so to speak – the drummer (Alex Carapetis) was touring with Julian Casablancas and I thought well I play all the bass so I may as well do that. And I wrote a song with Kram and I wrote a song with another guy in Germany, I was just experimenting with different ways of writing songs. So I demoed the songs at my own studio and then I presented to Brendan O’Brien and we went to LA and recorded it with two drummers Joey Waronker, who has worked with Beck and others, (and drummer Josh Freese, Vandals, DEVO). So we did it that way.”

Live drumming duties are still Alex Carapetis’ domain, having toured with Wolfmother for two years now, and playing “120 shows last year”. Touring is “good” for Stockdale. He states: “The vision is fully realised in a live setting, all the songs have been written, you see if it works or not in that live context; it’s like the truth.”

“The vision is fully realised in a live setting, all the songs have been written, you see if it works or not in that live context; it’s like the truth.”

 Stockdale realises his vision in a live setting; he feels his songwriting and playing is “mostly instinctive”, and explores this further: “It’s like Neil Young says ‘if he’s thinking, he’s thinking’ – I just pick up the guitar and just try to have fun with it and get into a very instinctive state. I feel that the most instinctive songs are the ones that speak to people the most – when you’re in front of 50,000 people at a festival and you play something that is just really spontaneous. I think as a musician you want to get to that point of reckless abandon where you can play a riff straight off the top, you’re not looking at the fretboard, you’re not looking at your hands, you’re not thinking about the singing, as a musician you’re in the sweet spot and you just go for it. I think that’s the ultimate headspace to be in.”

Join Stockdale, and Wolfmother, in the ultimate headspace as they finally return to Australia for the home leg of their Gypsy Caravan Tour:


WOLFMOTHER
+ Guests
National “Gypsy Caravan Tour” 2017

TUMBLEWEED (Wollongong & Sydney Only)
DAVEY LANE (all shows except Margaret River, Perth, Adelaide & Frankston)
IMMIGRANT UNION (all shows except Margaret River & Perth)
DREAM RIMMY (appearing at Margaret River & Perth only)

Thu April 20th – The Cambridge, Newcastle. NSW
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Fri April 21st – Waves, Wollongong NSW
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Presented By Triple M
Sat April 22nd – Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Presented By Triple M
Sun April 23rd – The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Wed April 26th – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River WA
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Thu Apr 27th – Metro City, Perth WA
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Presented By Triple M
Fri Apr 28th – The Gov, Adelaide SA
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Presented By Triple M
Sat Apr 29th – Pier Bandroom, Frankston VIC
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Presented By Triple M
Sun Apr 30th – The Croxton, Melbourne VIC
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Wed May 3rd – Club Forster, Forster NSW
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Thu May 4th – Panthers Club, Port Macquarie NSW
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Fri May 5th – Sawtell RSL Club, NSW
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Sat May 6th – Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast QLD
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Sun May 7th – The Helm, Mooloolaba QLD
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Thu May 18th – Kay St Entertainment Complex, Traralgon VIC
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Fri May 19th – The Wool Exchange, Geelong, VIC
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Sat May 20th – The Granada, Hobart  TAS
Tickets & Show Info HERE

Sun May 21st – Club 54, Launceston TAS
Tickets & Show Info HERE

 

For more information, visit: http://www.wolfmother.com/

About Mary Boukouvalas 624 Articles
Mary is a music photographer and reviewer.

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