Named after the infamous Peyote addled gunslinger, Thomas Wilby Gang play swampy raw country blues rock. Debut album Backwoods Crackin’ out now!
How would you describe your music?
Bluesy alt country rock. But to be fair, we are a bit more complex than that – some of our songs can get pretty psychedelic at points. It’s good to keep the door open on genres.
Tell us about how the history of the project?
I was brought up listening to blues, soul and motown. Beside that, a C90 of the Eagles greatest hits were on repeat in my dads car, until I hated them. I’ve been in plenty of bands from my teenage years to now, and the genres didn’t really touch the things I’d heard growing up. One day I started writing songs that sounded influenced by the things I’d grown up listening to – even hints of the Eagles crept in there! It felt really good, so I played a few rough demos to our guitarist Simon and we decided to do something. He had a couple of ideas of his own and I put some melodies and lyrics down to them. Before we knew it, we had a full set of songs and we decided to form a band. We started jamming together in 2012 and had our first gig that November of that year.
What are you influences/ musical heroes?
Taj Mahal was a huge influence for me for a long time. I love the way he isn’t tied to just blues – some of his tracks are really funky, some have a country edge. Also, I’d say the Stones were instrumental in turning me back onto country music after the Eagles put me off. My dad played me Exile on Main St when I was 14 and I hated it – couldn’t make a word out of what Jagger was singing. Then out of curiosity I revisited it the next day and it kind of infected me.
What inspires you?
I think a lot of the time I can’t put my finger on it; it’s just subconscious stuff that’s built up during the day. Other times it’s a real world experience that I really need to write about and forge into a song. Then there’s the music that Simon writes – I find it much harder to put lyrics and melodies down to other people’s ideas but the challenge is inspiring.
Do you write on the road? or do you prefer to write in the studio?
Both. I’ve written some of our best songs literally in my head whilst driving. On our new album, the title track “Wasters Regards” was written on the motorway.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
The newest one! Seriously, we write a lot of songs and we always want to do the newest one live. It’s dangerous because most of the time we don’t have it pinned down fully. As a result of that you get some really cool things happening to the song as a result of the adrenaline.
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
I’d love to tour with Jason Isbell, I absolutely love his stuff.
What are you current thoughts on the music industry?
The industrial side of it is garbage. It’s more of an industry now in some ways than it ever has been. I think that’s largely due to shows like “X-Factor”, “[insert country]’s Got Talent”, etc. It irks me that they try to pass that stuff off as organic – “Hey look what we discovered!”. The real cool organic stuff just never seems to get the recognition it deserves. The town we hail from, Wakefield, has some great bands – Dark Horse, The Piskie Sits, The Sour Heads, Knuckle, etc.. I’ve been stood watching bands at gigs many times unable to fathom why they aren’t bigger.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
We haven’t done a full on tour yet – we are definitely more of a studio band. However, if I can pick one experience it has to be from a gig at Fibbers in York. I was stood at the bar waiting for my drinks and Rick Witter (Shed Seven) rocked up next to me. Of course, I said hello and got chatting with him. He must have thought I looked tense or something because he started massaging my shoulders. It’s was both weird and relaxing – that guy could definitely get a job as a masseuse.
What are your future plans?
As soon as we release our album we will start on the next one. We have so many songs that need recording. I think we enjoy being in the studio just as much as being in front of an audience.