Paul Wandtke (Trivium’s former “touring powerhouse”) has a launched a new band in Chicago called Bedlem, w/ best friends, guitarist Joey Brassal, bassist Brian Ahern and vocalist Mike Petrasek their debut album “Back to Bedlem” is now available for pre order via itunes, get a autographed copy via

Tell us about the history of the band?

We’ve all been friends since elementary school and always have stayed in touch. Bedlem started as Joe, Paul and Brian, with a different singer. I moved away but would come back occasionally to visit. I’d hang at Bedlem practices and watched them perform a festival (I think Romeofest?). They eventually moved on to different things, with Paul obviously going to Rock of Ages and eventually Trivium. Fast forward to 2017, and Paul made a post about wanting to put Bedlem back together. I sent him a message and he immediately called me and the rest as they say is history.

How would you describe your music?

Metal Injection stated we were “Groovy as hell”. I thought that was a cool tag. Id’ like to say we’re more than just a Hard-Rock/Metal act. There’s definitely a mix of different things as all band members enjoy different genres, from the catchy choruses that define pop, to the 80s-sounding guitar solos and riffs.

What are you influences/ musical heroes?

My influences are many. Iron Maiden is a religion in my household (one of my brother’s name is Eddie!), so of course Bruce Dickinson is a huge influence. My dad introduced me to the world of 80’s metal, so I love Megadeth, Metallica (the first 4 albums!), Motorhead. I followed the grunge scene as everyone did my age, so Nirvana, even still to this day, is one of my favorite bands. Bikini Kill, L7, Veruca Salt; it’s such a good genre. I listen to everything though, from Common, Tribe Called Quest to Ivy Queen to Decapitated to Sam Smith…it all influences me. I’d say my favourite genre however is hardcore. Converge, Dillinger, Botch, Daughters, Fuck the Facts, Cult Leader…. all amazing.

What record are you currently listening to?

Mannequin Pussy – Romantic (2016). I went to Riot Fest this year and got hooked on them. They were so awesome live so I bought their album the next day (as well as bought a shirt there).

What is your favourite song to perform live?

My favourite song is Epidemic. It’s a really personal song. Starts off with a rock feel and just ends with this metal breakdown. Within reason, I can just let loose and throw caution to the wind on this one.

What would be your dream tour to be a part of?

Dream tour? Iron Maiden. Not just the fact its performing in front of 200,000 people at times, but it’s Iron Fuckin’ Maiden!

What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?

There’s a lot of weird/funny stage mishaps. I tune out my surroundings when I’m on stage. So I’ll jump off of things and not really think about where I’m landing. Brian has been a target a couple of times. That and wrapping the microphone cable around Joey’s headstock while he’s soloing. Happens quite a bit.

What are you current thoughts on the music industry?

It’s definitely evolved. Anyone can buy recording software and release through various outlets now. With enough resources, you can book your own shows and tour. I think it’s all about streams over sales. Reaching out and connecting with your fan base. Definitely different from 20 years ago. But the same as it’s always been, is drive. You got to work for it. Record contract or not.

What advice would you give to someone starting their own band?

Starting your own band, like I said, drive. Don’t ever take your foot off the gas. And never get in your head.

What are your future plans?

I’ve said from the beginning; I want to take over the world. So balls to the wall, I hope to be touring and playing every available festival. I won’t rest until that’s a reality.

About The Author

Always on the lookout for new music, Jo has an eclectic taste from 80's synth pop to black metal. Music creates many emotions and memories for Jo, using it as a soundtrack to her life. She en devours to absorb music, using it to inspire her creative works.

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