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Jesse Wilde & The Drive - Jesse Wilde & The Drive Newsletter Interview

30 Apr 2016 // An interview by Shade

Jesse Wilde & The Drive, a five-piece Auckland based band delivers catchy, southern-tinged rock with great passion and stadium confidence. Their debut album , Ghost Town Road, was released on 29 April, and they answered the following questions for muzic.net.nz:

How did you become involved in music?

When I was 11 years old, I saw a rerun of an Elvis Special on TV – it made such an impression on me that I begged my mum for guitar lessons. She was a massive Elvis fan so she couldn’t really refuse. In my first year of college, I met a guy playing guitar on the beach and let me play his guitar and sing a song. I realized that musicians got more attention from girls, so I got a band together with my school mate Aaron Carpenter. We called it Acoustic Attitude. We figured that if we saved up for boat we would have somewhere to take all the girls that would suddenly be interested in us! With that in mind, we did some gigs to make money for our boat. But when we did our first gig, we realised we needed a PA so we spent our savings on that and never looked back. From then on, we put all our efforts into the band and never did get the boat!

If you could perform with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

My key influences are Bob Segar, John Cougar and Steve Earle, so in my 20s I took off to the States for 6 months and managed to meet them all. I would most like to perform with the Rolling Stones because they are a true testament to rock and roll, attitude and longevity.

Which one of your songs are you most proud of, and why?

Every record I release is the one I’m most proud of – at the time… I guess because it expresses who you are at that very moment. On the new EP, I’m most proud of the title track, Ghost Town Road because I wrote it with the legendary Rick Beresford (Rick has written quite a few hits including a song he wrote for George Jones called If Drinking Doesn't Kill Me Her Memory Will). I had just finished driving Route 66 in its entirety. Rick literally dragged that song out of me over a dozen or so song-writing sessions, it really was a labour of love and an example of pushing through when it’s tough. And it’s not every day you get the chance to write with a gold record award-winning writer! After that, I wrote a song that was selected by Don Williams Music Publishing Group at the Los Angeles songwriter Showcase.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it before?

I would call it Southern rock with an Americana feel. My latest work on the EP Ghost Town Road evokes the faded allure of Route 66. My wife says hearing it made her want to jump in the van, turn the stereo up loud, and take a long road trip (with me, I hope!).

What can we expect to see from you in the next year?

In the next year, we plan to finish an entire album to be produced by Stephen Small who produced this EP. We’re also working on releasing some videos and planning mini-tours around New Zealand.

What NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?

My favourite New Zealand band has always been Hello Sailor and Graham was a good friend of mine, and he and Dave are greatly missed. I see so much great Kiwi talent coming through my recording studio Wilde Records and love that I get the chance to promote them in my role as TV music host for a chat show which airs on Sky TV.

What is your favourite NZ venue, and why?

I love Backbeat Bar above the Rockshop on K Road, so that’s where we’re having the EP launch. It feels intimate whether there are 7 people or 70. Currently, I’m developing my own venue 'Studio 38' at 38 Airedale Street in the heart of Auckland’s CBD. It’s primarily a recording studio (after 15 years I’m relocating my recording studio, Wilde Records) and we’ll be able to host record release parties. If in the future people say Studio 38 is their favourite venue, I hope they’ll say it’s because it’s run by musicians who care about musicians.

Have you got any tips for dealing with nerves before a gig?

The emotions of “anxiety” and “excitement” are almost identical – you get all the same physical sensations like butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms etc. If you don’t try to fight the nervousness and just go with the flow, then I think the adrenalin is what actually helps you focus your mind and body for the gig and helps you achieve incredible things.

How do you balance your music with other obligations; family, job etc.?

People try so hard to get ‘work-life balance’. Like Richard Branson, I don’t see a distinction between work and leisure – it’s all just life. And if you do what you love you never really work a day in your life. A life as a musician can be hard but I’ve never found anything else that’s more rewarding. I feel very lucky to have a family that sees my vision and supports my dreams.

Where do you get your inspiration to create music from?

Life, travel, books and movies, conversations with old friends, experiencing new things and meeting new people – inspiration is everywhere; you just have to be open to it.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Don’t die with the music still in you. Be willing to take imperfect action.


About Jesse Wilde & The Drive

Jesse Wilde & The Drive, a five-piece Auckland based band delivers catchy, southern-tinged rock with great passion and stadium confidence.

Lead singer Jesse Wilde was formerly the front man for folk-rockers Acoustic Attitude, a prominent ‘90s band regularly packing the house at the legendary Auckland venue, The Gluepot. Wilde’s gravelly voice – which is reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen’s for sheer power and emotion – cuts through rock tracks like a musical chainsaw.

His growing popularity continued with his next band Fiesta Drive which sounded “like the love-child of Steve Earle and Jimmy Barnes”, said NZ Musician Magazine. During his rock pilgrimage of the UK and USA, Wilde sought out and met all of his major music mentors including Bob Seger, John ‘Cougar’ Mellencamp, and Steve Earle – so it’s no coincidence that their influence oozes through his original songs and the hand-picked musicians that make up The Drive.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Jesse Wilde & The Drive


Ghost Town Road
Year: 2015
Type: Album

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