“I’ve never seen 4 men with more ambition and hunger to get into the music world!!”
Jeff Howell of FOGHAT, SAVORY BROWN & THE OUTLAWS
Quotes such as the above are the norm when the name Wicked is mentioned in today's music circles and these four throwbacks to another era are doing their very best to live up to their building reputation.
Throwbacks, old school, glam rockers; call them what you will but with their mix of 70's style rock coupled with early 80's metal and 90's power pop; Wicked not only rocks audiences to their core but has them singing harmonies while they do it.
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In today's digital world, many bands form in multiple locations, some never even physically meet for practice or recording rehearsals but not these four gentlemen. Formed by brothers Danny "Doll"and Chad Michael and joined by Scotty Vand Gunnar (GG); they've taken an approach of togetherness, literally.
"I'm actually in upstate New York, the Rochester area," said co-founder Danny"Doll" as he explained the origins of the group."We really started with my brother Chadand I kind of when we were back in the Utica area of New York. We always wanted to have; our dream was to have a hard rock bit of a glammed-up arena style rock and roll band; something that we were lacking and finding for ourselves. As you could imagine it took a little bit trying to find the right team and the players that all fit but things kind of fell together perfectly; it's a crazy thing because the four of us all together, myself, Chad, Gunnarand Scottyhave been living together under the same roof for six years like old school bands used to do. A lot of that is because we loved the David Bowie ZiggyStardust era that propelled the band into the kind of glam and hard rock that we really wanted to do. Then as you grow, you're listening to Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzyand The Starz and bands like that from the 70's that were just amazing. Along the way we were huge fans of some of those 80's bands too that really took it to a whole different level at that point. The thing that was interesting, as we evolved over the years, was that we started to be not so bashful about putting in some of our other kind of things that we feel is really our core and who we are; some of that 90's pop rock and power pop music. I think it fits nicely because it twists all the stuff that you used to like where it's not just a reminiscent band but gives it a little bit of an edge that is 2020."
"Living together under the same roof," now there is something that rarely allows relationships to last. bands are often compared to marriages in that you have different personalities working towards the common good; there are always differences of opinion and mood swings; so why did they decide to risk potential turmoil and consolidate under one roof?
"I think it was the band kind of realizing there were some things to work through for the first few years to make this a reality but you could see once we started doing it that we eliminated a lot of the problems that so many bands have," continued Danny"Doll." "We don't have to worry about who is not showing up for practice; it was like a nucleus that was created, like a family and we do our daily hustle to make sure that we stay on our feet. We are able to support each other and we see how that benefits us and the good times came with it too. I could sit here and tell you that we're working all the time and for the most part we are, we are writing machines and it helps so much being together but we have a good time too. It's so nice to be with your buddies and it's one of those things where we are like, we don't want it to end; maybe we're a little bit childish in that way but hey, if we are happy that way, that's what life is about; isn't it?"
Living together, writing and performing together it would seem that they are focused solely on the end prize but like most journeys there are many plots and sub-plots; one of which is their DIY approach. Danny "Doll" spoke of the learning curve that comes with the business side of things.
"We kind of learned a little bit the hard way and it's good to do that when you're young. Sometimes you get lucky but often when you let somebody else turn the dial on the business end of things and you're completely out of it, it's hard to find a person who has completely your best interest to the core in mind. We took a little bit of time to learn that end of it. We've honed our craft with songwriting and playing live which is one of the most important things to us; to be a live band and being able to represent the record at a live show for the fans but when it comes to the business end, I'm pretty proud of all of us. Everybody kind of rose to the occasion, took on duties and we did our due diligence to get everything together and now we have the luck to be working with some really great people in the industry who are guiding us from different aspects and functional areas and it's looking like we're on a really great path going into 2021."
Armed with knowledge and a good team formed around them, they seem to be lacking only one thing and that's an official debut album; or are they?
"The title is going to be "Living Like A Sunburn" and we recorded 18 tracks; it's probably going to be a 13-track disc," he said as he discussed their upcoming initial offering."We're really open to the idea of shopping it around with some labels and we're looking at some options but we're gonna have some extras for the fans and I think they're really going to dig it. We are super excited, there's a lot of stuff that's really enthralling for us; there's a couple of tunes that some fans might find familiar and have changed a little and there's a whole lot; even five days before pre-production we were just blowing out some new songs that really glued the whole thing together. So, it's probably going to be coming out early 2021 and we're planning on going into the end of the year here with another press release in terms of that; we're really excited!"
"We put out a lot of limited EP releases in the past, just some nice stuff for the fans on the road. This is going to be our debut push for a full-length album on all distribution channels and we're really excited; we have a lot of cool new tunes for the fans. We've been working hard since May when I think it was that we went into the studio. We went in with kind of a different angle than some people do. A lot of people go in and say, oh my favorite band was Alice Cooper and he was done by Bob Ezrin and I want to try and get him or some of these older producers but our angle was, let's go with somebody new. Let's go with somebody young who brings a little bit of that hungry aspect, kind of like the younger bands like us have and we wanted that to be replicated in the producer we were working with."
Much in the music world depends on fate and in Wicked's world fate worked in their favor as they searched for their optimum mix-board magician.
"Wild, weird story; we have friends that we visit in Salem from time to time and come to find out this one friend's son was a producer and he was coming in from Panama. Long story short, he's the guy that winds up doing our record; Nacho Molino and come to find out he's got five Grammys! He is incredible for his age, he's just under 40 and what a great time we had and what a great chemistry we had going into the studio for this album; it was like being with your fifth Beatlewith the family and kind of just bunkering down for a month and a half and cutting the record."
Fate was not done just yet; there was still the question of where to record and as luck would have it Nacho is more than an audio engineer.
"That's the coolest part," laughed Danny"Doll," "We looked around and we had a bunch of studios set as we were trying to figure out our producer. When we got with Nacho and we were just getting hit with the Corona Virus we said, it's tough. We aren't out there playing shows, we're not bringing in the income flow, it's hard getting into studios; a lot of stuff back in May was just barely starting to open up and we didn't want to wait around for that. So, Nacho being such an amazing engineer as well as a producer designed three rooms in our house and we did all of the construction off of his mathematical calculations and design and we basically created a studio at our home where we live. Now, not only can we write songs but we can go down and cut demos when he's not there; pretty cool thing. It was a little bit of a risk because we'd hear, "Oh you aren't going to a pro studio" but I'll tell you what; you wouldn't even know it. We did the drums in a living room with a big cathedral ceiling; it was like back in the day when bands would rent out these big mansions with big tall ceilings. We got some incredible drum sounds and we were luckily able to work with Nacho and our neighbor who ended up being a producer and who kind of endorsed us with some recording gear which what was able to bring everything together; it was like one of those weird fate moments where one day everything fell together into the right fitting puzzle."
In the past, they have performed as openers for The Starz, Frehley's Comet and Angel as well as performing at some of the largest rock festivals such as "Rocklahoma"and "M3." Danny "Doll" says that the band loves to interact with their fans whither it be at those huge events or in the smaller clubs.
"I'll tell ya', those were some really cool events. Honestly, I tell people all of the time that when you're in front of that size crowd and people are getting into an original song; there's nothing like it but everybody knows that. The even cooler thing is, since we do have such a theatrical look compared to other acts who may be wearing tee shirts or something like that; we really take advantage of that. We get out into the crowd; walking in a sea of 30,000 people, there's not enough time to run into everybody but we try (laughs). It is so much fun, the people that you meet, the social connection on and off the stage; that's where you kind of really create that community and I wouldn't trade any of that for anything, it has been really cool."
"We were playing the Knitting Factory with Angel, it felt good, we did the show, everybody was going crazy and people were coming up to us and were like, no way; where'd this new band come from, they just popped into Brooklyn out of nowhere? It's good that people are excited; as much as we love the greats of the past and it's good to go out and support them, I just feel like there is such an importance in the scene of the fans that do go out and support new music because it is the future."
"We have had some of the coolest moments at our merch table after a show; catching up with people that we never met or ones where it has been a while. They may have seen us at a place like Debonair in New Jersey and we'll have our favorite New Jersey fans; it's great, just like seeing old friends."
"Our plan either way, no matter who supports the release of album, is that it will be on all digital distribution platforms as well as physical copies available, vinyl, the whole nine yards like a rock band used to do."
To discover more about Wicked, please visit www.wickedrocknrollofficial.com or at all of their social media outlets @wickedrocknroll.
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
This week's event listings
Arts Council of Princeton
102 Witherspoon Street Princeton
Sat. (12 p.m.) "Art & About: Pop-Up Poetry" w/ Colby Cedar Smith (3 p.m.) Day of the Dead Workshop: "Nichos and Calaveras" / (3 p.m.) "Story & Verse: poetry and Spoken Word Open Mic" (The open mic takes place at Pettorenello Gardens)
Tues. 7 p.m. "In Conversation w/ Adam Welch" feat. Tomothy M. Andrews (FREE event/donations accepted)
Broken Goblet Brewing
2500 State Road Bensalem, PA
Thurs. 8 p.m. Mike Estabrook
Fri. 8:30 p.m. Beauty and The Beard
Sat. 8 p.m. Shawn Byrne
All Shows 21+
24 Passaic Street Trenton
Thurs. 6 p.m. Thursday Night Blues Jam Hosted by The Mojo Gypsies. $5 (Includes hot buffet)
Sat. 3 p.m. (TBA) $10 (cover charge/$10 Minimum includes buffet)
931 Chambers street Trenton
Tuesday 8 p.m. "Jam Night" Hosted by Nikki & Caleb
Clubhouse at Mountain View
850 Bear Tavern Road Ewing
Fri. 6 p.m. Monk & Kramer
125 South Main Street Hightstown
Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. Jump Back
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton
Thurs. 8 p.m. Union
Fri. 7 p.m. Time Peace
Sat. 7 p.m. "Social Saturdays" feat. Kindred Spirit
Mon. 7 p.m. "Sunny Monday Blues Jam"
Tues. 8 p.m. Karaoke w/ Karen and Mark
All Events Ages 21+
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
Fri. 6 p.m. Brian Elliot
Sat. 4 p.m. Snapdragon
Sun. 4 p.m. Rachael & Ty
German American Society
215 Uncle Pete's Road Hamilton
Fri. 7 p.m. "Witches Ball" Tricky Tray. $25 includes a sheet of tickets. (This is an outdoor Biergarten event)
Sat. 6 p.m. Southern Steel Band. $10 (This in an outdoor Biergarten event)
Hamilton Tap & Grill
557 US Route 130 North Hamilton
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzoholics Trivia
Wed. 7 p.m. Country Night. $5
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
Thurs. 5 p.m. Living The Dream
Fri. 6 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. Modern Rewind
Sat. (1 p.m.) Christine Havrilla (6 p.m.) "Music & Merlot" feat. Got 35
Sun. 3 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat. David Adolf
Iron Plow Vineyards
26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus
Fri. 7 p.m. Michael Zandman
Sun. 1 p.m. Bob & Dave
85 Archertown Road New Egypt
Fri. 6 p.m. "Vineyard Vibes October Music Series on the Lawn" feat. Shorty Long & The Jersey Horns. $20 (advance)
Sat. 11 a.m. "Fall Festival" feat. (11:30 a.m.) The Bergers (3 p.m.) Fast Forward 80's (6:30 p.m.) Tone Rangers
Sun. 11:30 a.m. "Fall Festival" feat. 12 p.m./4 p.m. Pennington Station Band
Wed. 12 p.m. "Girls Night Out"
New Hope Winery
6123 Lower York Road New Hope, PA
Sat. 1 p.m. Just Jeff
Odd Logic Brewing Co.
500 Bristol Pike, Bristol, PA
Thurs. 6 p.m. Beer Trivia
Old Town Pub
135 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
Thurs. 8 p.m. Quizzoholics Trivia
Nassau Street Princeton
Sat.12 p.m. Big Valley Bluegrass
Sun 12 p.m.The Polish Nannies
1339 River Road Titusville
Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night
Wed. 7 p.m. "Quizzo"
Sparky World Famous Beer Garden
4333 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Mon. 9 p.m. Game Night w/ Kid Dalton
(Trenton Community Store)
102 South Warren Street Trenton
Sat. 3 p.m. Open Mic
5 South State Street Newtown, PA
Thurs. 7p.m. "Blues Night" w/ Steve Guyger
Fri. 7 p.m. Kate & Bob
Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia w/ Righteous Jolly (outdoors)
Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic Night w/ Cara Cartney
3535 U.S. Route 1 North #275 Princeton
Fri. 5 p.m. Ernie White
The Cool Cricket
216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro
Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 6 p.m. (TBA)
Tindall Road Brewing Co.
102 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
Sat. 5:30 p.m. Tiltin' Catz
449 South Broad Street Trenton
Thurs. 5 p.m. "Happy Hour Throwback Thursday" w/ Jay Kountree
Fri. 5 p.m. DJ ItsJustAhmad
Mon. 8 p.m. "Monday Night Karaoke" Hosted by Sweets
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic Night w/ Kyle & Mike
Triumph Brewing Company
(New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
Thurs. 8 p.m. Trivia
Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage
All shows 21+
Working Dog Winery
610 Windsor Perrineville Road Hightstown
Sat. 1 p.m. Fabulous Benson Boys
Sun. 2 p.m. Love & Duffy
WWFM 89.1 FM HD2 Radio
MCCC Old Trenton Road West Windsor
Mon. 7 p.m. "Danny Coleman's Got The Blues"