Header Ads

TED WULFERS Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

TED WULFERS Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Lamitschka:  Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?

Wulfers: Well, my name is Ted Wulfers and I’m a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and touring musician in the Rock & Roll/Folk/Pop/Americana/Jam genres. I’ve just released my 9th studio album called Tremolo Moon and I perform as a solo artist or with my full band depending on the tour. During my performances, besides singing, I often switch between Guitars, Bass, Ukulele, Pedal Steel, Harmonica and Keyboards and in the studio, I play a number of other instruments including Piano, Organ, Drums, Lap Steel, Dobro, Mandolin, Banjo, Cello, Percussion and more. I was born and raised in the Chicago, IL USA area and when I’m not on the road, I live in Los Angeles, CA USA.

As a recording artist, besides releasing 9 studio albums, a video from one of Tremolo Moon's songs has gone viral and is currently studied at universities and included in keynote speeches, I've had an official 2017 Record Store Day vinyl release that went into the Baseball Hall of Fame, several of my songs have been on the radio over the years including #1s and top 40 singles in certain markets and several of my songs have been in TV and film. My song "San Luis Obispo (Take it SLO)" is considered by many around the world as the official song of the city of San Luis Obispo. I've played over 1000 shows on tour in 43 US states and 5 countries, and several other artists have covered my songs on their own albums. I've also co-written several songs with artists that have gained TV licenses or radio play.

As a composer, I've scored and performed the music for several award winning films, TV shows and video games. As a music producer, I've produced/recorded/engineered/mixed dozens of albums and singles for a myriad of artists and singer/songwriters out of my 663 Sound recording studio, and I am currently directing a documentary film on the Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar inspired by Bob Dylan renting my J-45 the other year.

I’ve had several special guests on a number of my albums your readers will be familiar with such as Kenny Aronoff (John Mellancamp/John Fogerty), Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters/Wallflowers), John Payne (ASIA), LP (Pop Superstar), Matt Walker (Smashing Pumpkins/Garbage), Jessy Greene (Pink/Foo Fighters), Gia Ciambotti (Bruce Springsteen/Lucinda Williams), Eric Rigler (Titanic/Braveheart), Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams/John Mayer), Katie Ferrara (Pop Superstar), Paulie Cerra (Joe Bonamassa/Larry Carlton), Carey Deadman (Frank Sinatra/The Producers)…just to name a few and…

I cannot wait to get back to Europe for more shows as soon as possible!

Lamitschka:  How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?

Wulfers: Musically speaking, 2019 has been a really great year for me. I wrote, scored and performed all the music for a TV Series called Vendors that won a bunch of awards at festivals. I’ve produced several albums and singles for a number of artists and singer songwriters out of my 663 Sound recording studio and the BIG news is that I’ve just released my ninth original studio album, Tremolo Moon.

I’m so proud of Tremolo Moon and the sounds and songs that came together for this new album. I produced and recorded it all at my 663 Sound studio and then Grammy Award winner Malcolm Burn (Daniel Lanois/Bob Dylan/Emmy Lou Harris) mixed it and Grammy Award winner Richard Dodd (Tom Petty Wildflowers/Traveling Wilburys/Dixie Chicks) mastered it. For the vinyl version, Grammy Award nominee Ian Sefchick cut the vinyl at Capitol Studios in Hollywood on the very same lathe as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon was cut on. Pretty cool!

Lamitschka:  What is your latest CD and how's it doing?

Wulfers: Tremolo Moon is my latest CD and soon to be released on vinyl this autumn. The record is doing great and having a fantastic reaction with those who have heard it. The video for "Thoughts & Prayers" has already gone viral and several universities are studying the song and including it in keynote speeches. People are telling me it's my most interesting album to date due to some of the sounds, sonics, instrumentation, production style and lyrical subject. I'm really proud of that!

Fans have also really reacted to the cover art as well! Wout Wynants, an acclaimed Belgian artist, painted it. The cover art was inspired by a truly paranormal adventure Wout and I had while hiking through a cemetery near Bruges, Belgium and my rock ‘n roll colleague Erik Nielsen did a fantastic job with the layout and art direction of the album as well as the photography.

Lamitschka:  How did you choose the title for the CD?  Is there a story behind the name?

Wulfers: Well, I've put out several albums in a row that are pretty rocking or super happy/upbeat and even though Tremolo Moon, has some big fun and rocking songs, the record definitely has a mellow feel to it. I struggled on choosing a title for a while because I wanted the name to really reflect the music and then it became so clear. I had recorded most of these songs during phases of full moons, I wanted the expression "mellow" in the title and tremolo is one of my favorite musical effects and treatments. Thus, Tremolo Moon. The songs deal with some pretty heavy subject matter about life and death and the upheaval of our modern world. So the definition of tremolo is also very fitting sonically as well as philosophically - "a wavering effect in a musical tone"

Lamitschka:  Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?

Wulfers: I write all the songs on all my albums and with Tremolo Moon, these are 12 new original songs. Some of these tunes were written spontaneously in one-take during recording sessions and a couple of these, I've played live on tour beforehand. I produced, recorded and engineered all these songs and recording sessions as well. I really love writing a song and having it recorded within minutes of the original idea. You capture the moment while it's fresh and most powerful. Malcolm Burn did such a great job mixing these recordings and working together, we really gave this record a sound!

Lamitschka:  Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).

Wulfers: On this album, I was really influenced by world events, my own world travels, walking late at night and I wanted the sounds to soar, shimmer and shake around the lyrics. "The Ghosts" is a haunting and ethereal song about losing those closest to you. "Sego Canyon" is a science fiction epic that questions whether or not we are alone in the universe. The song is also inspired by my real life encounter I had at Sego Canyon by happenstance. "Fall In Love" explores the mystical mood and feeling of going out on the town late at night in search of love, lust and whatever the evening will bring. "1980s Movie (John Hughes)" is an autobiographical tale of a romantic adventure I had that unraveled as if it were straight out of a John Hughes film. I wrote "Thoughts & Prayers" a few days after the horrible Las Vegas, Nevada mass shooting as my reaction to the epidemic of gun violence in the United States and "World I Knew" is a study of how humanity keeps slipping back into unfortunate behaviors and mindsets...especially in regards to nuclear war and climate change. It's a hopeful love ditty really just set in a world gone wrong.
"Anna, Queen of Bruges" came to me after I had the most remarkable and delightful wander in Bruges, Belgium. I tried my best to write something as beautiful and sweet as that city is! "Die In My Sleep" is a sultry, sweaty, slow song that helps to inspire the desire to seize the day. "Fleur De Lis" and "Summertime Festival Girl" were spontaneous first-takes singing and playing guitar. Both are such fun and sexy songs and I really love when impromptu jams become wonderful songs and album cuts. "Desert Driver" was a one-take lap steel meditation that I added one-take of bass to and then Rob Humphreys dropped on one-take of drums. And "Red Shoes".... I have no idea what "Red Shoes" is about or where it came from. It's a tune I sang to myself in the shower over and over again for a week, so I recorded it! (Laughs)

Lamitschka:  What is the difference between your last CD and your current one?

Wulfers: Well, to answer that, I would say mood and sound. My last release was the single I wrote about the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series and that was a 7" single on vinyl as an official 2017 Record Store Day release. However, my last full album/CD is called You Are Here. It's a fun, beachy, rock 'n roll ukulele album. Around 2012, I had collected quite a large number of ukuleles and wrote a batch of songs that fit them perfectly and recorded that album in 2013 at my 663 Sound recording studio in Los Angeles. Several songs from that album wound up getting radio play and one song, "San Luis Obispo (Take It SLO)" had a music video nominated for several awards and that song has had a bunch of TV airplay and as I mentioned before, considered by people around the world as the official song of the city of San Luis Obispo in California. The songs "Find Some Peace," "Earth Tones," "Play The Ukulele" and "Lau wiliwili nukunuku ʻoiʻoi'” have all gotten a lot of love, airplay and attention and the song "Happy Day" is a favorite of Disney's Bill Farmer (the voice of Goofy). He said in a radio interview that he listens to "Happy Day" in order to get into a better mood and prepare for voice over work. Talk about an amazing compliment!!

The difference between You Are Here and my new album Tremolo Moon come down to mood and sonics. I wanted Tremolo Moon to be darker, a bit more mellow, and more atmospheric. You Are Here hardly has any reverb on it and uses lots of compression on the vocals. For Tremolo Moon, I wanted a more lush and open sound that takes you on an ethereal daydream. Also, Tremolo Moon has songs that deal with many more serious topics. I feel as an artist...every record needs to sound like YOU at that moment in time. And time changes and so should your albums. That way when you play a couple tunes from each of your records at shows on tour, the set lists provide a wonderful variety of sounds and experiences for the audience. I'm super proud of You Are Here and Tremolo Moon.

Lamitschka:  Your current single is being played by radio. What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?

Wulfers: I've been blessed to have several of my songs get radio play throughout my career and with "Thoughts & Prayers" from Tremolo Moon getting attention lately is truly a sign of the times. There's a very sad epidemic going on in the U.S. and not a lot of artists are writing about or addressing the problem. In your career, you must reflect on the good times and the bad and unfortunately, this was a song that had to be written. What makes me so proud of the song is that it has inspired conversation and debate and has resonated with people on both sides of the issue. In art, that is extremely rare so it really is a testament to the song and message making a difference. As an artist and writer, any time you can have that in your career is really special....and much more gratifying artistically than having a hit song about the latest dance craze or "hey there baby" or "la-di-da..."

Lamitschka:  What will your next single be?

Wulfers: I'm debating between "Sego Canyon," "1980s Movie (John Hughes)" and "The Ghosts." Which do you think it should be? (Laughs) "Sego" and "1980s" are just so damn fun that I can't wait for people to hear these new tunes!

Lamitschka:  What kind of songs do you like to record the most?

Wulfers: I love recording all kinds of songs from rock to folk to classical. But I really love recording rock 'n roll/pop/folk songs. Real instruments going into real microphones live with real emotion pouring from the artist into the ears of the listener. That's the best. My studio, 663 Sound is filled to the gills with tons of vintage analog gear, vintage guitars, amps, pianos, microphones and outboard gear. The studio is very warm and is built to deliver powerful, honest and emotional music. The artists I produce are just that and my own albums I make there hopefully live up my intended goals. Fast, Slow, Mid Tempo, Mellow...if it's good, fun, interesting and has a vibe or a feeling, I'm all about recording it and bringing it into the world for us all to listen to.

Lamitschka:  You did a duet with LP. How did that happen to come about?

Wulfers: Yes, LP and I met a number of years ago at a Cracker show. She had sung on their albums and we were mutual friends. We hit it off and did some touring together. She sang on my Cheap Liquor album on a song called "I Got Home Late” where we duet and she also sang on two songs from my Lucky No. 7 album on "The Rock & The Roll" and "Friday Night High." Recently, the LP fan clubs on Instagram have discovered "I Got Home Late" and keep sharing it. The song has blown up a bit recently. It's a great song and I'm grateful for their response. LP is such a powerful and amazing artist. It's been so fun to see her rise to becoming a global superstar sensation. She's earned it...that girl can sing!

I really love the two duets on Tremolo Moon I do with Katie Ferrara and Gia Ciambotti. Gia joins me on “Summertime Festival Girl” and Katie on “World I Knew.” Not only are they two of my favorite voices to sing and work with, but they are both such great people. The laughs go on for hours!

Lamitschka:  What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what's the story behind it?

Wulfers: I've recorded hundreds of songs so that's a tricky question because I've had so many favorites and it's hard to pick just one.

On my new Tremolo Moon record, I had a lot of fun recording "Fall In Love" because I wanted the song to feel like the streets of New Orleans, Paris, Bruges or Berlin very late at night but I wanted it to sound like the way Sinatra recorded it in the 50s at Capitol. (Laughs) Getting that feel in my studio was a lot of fun and an interesting challenge. When people tell me that song reminds them of film noir, I'm very proud and flattered.

Also on this record, "Fleur De Lis," "Summertime Festival Girl" and "Desert Driver" were all recorded in one take completely impromptu so those are fun.

"Sego Canyon" was the first song I've ever recorded at 432hz instead of the standard 440hz format so that was a blast and an interesting feeling recording with that new method (to me) for this new album.

On previous albums, when I recorded "Break My Heart" and "Me and Miss 4th of July" with drum legend Kenny Aronoff on drums, that was pretty life changing. Kenny is so inspiring as a musician, and as a human, that being around him, his success and strength are contagious.

But one of the craziest stories was when I recorded "The Cubs Won It All In 2016" in 2016. The Cubs had just won the World Series for the first time in 108 years and for a lifelong baseball fan and Cubs fan, it was a pretty enormous deal! The night they won, I was driving home from a celebratory party when the song idea came to me while driving and when I got home and picked up a guitar to strum it out, I realized that this song was pretty amazing and special. So I spent the next few hours recording it instantly. Every part thrown together quickly in one take and I did a quick mix on it and sent it out into the world around 6am. I went to bed at 7am and by noon, the song was all over the radio, all over TV and people were buying it and playing it for the headstones of their loved ones at cemeteries. It was intense and surreal. The song exploded and was part of the 5 million-person rally in Chicago a couple days later. The following Monday, I was contacted by the Baseball Hall Of Fame that the lyrics had gone into their archives and exhibits and a few months later, the single was an official Record Store Day exclusive release. Nikki Sixx even played it on his radio show! A folk song about baseball!! Written in minutes, recorded and mixed in a couple hours and a hit song hours later. That kind of experience in music or sports only happens every 108 years and I'm honored to be the guy who did it!!

Lamitschka:  How much creative control do you have over your music?

Wulfers: I have full creative control over my music. Creating music is when I am at my happiest and purest as a human being. Some songs come about instantly...some take a while. I have some great friends I'll bounce ideas off of and I've been lucky to work with some of the best ears and musicians in the business. But as far as creative control over my music, I'm captain of the ship.

Lamitschka:  There's a lot of work that goes into a number one hit. What did it take to make it in your case?

Wulfers: Besides my Cubs song, I’ve had two other songs blow up on radio in my career. One was “The Carl Rogers Blues” from my Drivin’ Barefoot album and the other was “Here We Go” from my Lucky No. 7 album. “The Car Rogers Blues” was number 1 for 40 some weeks on Nashville Independent Radio and the song was inducted into their songwriter hall of fame. That was exciting because people had such a cool reaction to the song and who knew that a fast roots rock song about a famous philosopher/psychologist would resonate with people!!?? But it did and I’m grateful.

Here We Go” blew up in a different way as it was charting in several markets throughout the US and we were even beating bands like the Foo Fighters for the time being. That was a lot of fun because people love that song and they still do today at shows. “Here We Go” is about getting away from the situation you’re in and finding your own promised land. It’s full of hope, huge guitars and drums with a catchy chorus and great backup vocals. Radio hit material I guess (Laughs), but who am I to know? I just write ‘em and play ‘em.

To have a number 1 hit, sure it can take marketing and PR and all that typical industry jazz….but really it comes down to having an amazing song with a really fantastic performance that reaches out through the speakers and grabs the listener and lets them know this is just for them. If you bleed into the microphone, it comes out in the music but not many musicians are confident enough to take that risk or talented enough to execute it.

Of course, the biggest variable of any success is luck. You can have the greatest song in the world performed my the greatest band in the universe but it still takes a little bit of luck, mojo, gris-gris…or whatever it may be to give the song that magic “je ne sais quoi” that makes it a success.

If any of us had a specific formula as writers, we’d ALL have #1 hits all the time. I’m grateful to have had a few songs blow up on radio and it’s that tiny it of success I’ve had that makes me resent streaming even more and see just how powerful and profitable real radio is for artists, listeners, fans and everyone involved.

Lamitschka:  Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?

Wulfers: Oh, yeah...so many. The best emails or messages I'll get are from people who say they need to listen to one of my songs en route to a job interview and that it helped them get the job. Or baseball fans who write me about how powerful a connection they have to my "The Cubs Won It All in 2016" song. I mean, people were taking that song to cemeteries and playing it for the headstones of their dead relatives. I've also been honored to have many of my songs be part of people's weddings and also people's funerals. Once your music becomes parts of people's life events, it becomes bigger than you and you treat it with sacred and tremendous respect. I also know a number of people who have met at my shows and gone on to get married and have families. A few friends and I jokingly call these children "Ted's Kids" because I'm sort of responsible for them but luckily not truly responsible for them. (Laughs) I've had a number of people begin to play ukulele after my You Are Here album and the amount of inside jokes among circles of friends regarding my song lyrics is staggering and flattering. In the tiny little niche of the universe I've carved out with music, it's a special place that has had a great way of affecting people and effecting some pretty cool events and adventures.

Lamitschka:  Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?

Wulfers: I have so many musical influences who inspire me and from all over the map. I'm always kind of surprised when I hear of musicians only being into one or two artists or genres...how boring. (Laughs) My list is long but here goes.... Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Dire Straits, AC/DC, Lyle Lovett, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Paul Simon, Bob Marley, Phish, Mozart, Elvis, Beethoven, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sting, The Police, Fela Kuti, Franz Liszt, Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, Poe, Cracker, Queen, The Grateful Dead, Muddy Waters, Kasvot Växt and so many more....

For me, I always love tracing the source and finding the influences of my favorite artists. You gotta dig deep and keep digging deep. It's the only way to find the full circle of music and circle of influence. Plus you'll discover some of the most powerful music in somewhat primitive formats of recording or settings. Find who turned on those who turned you on and you’ll get turned on and clued in even more into what you’re going for!

I've been playing piano since I was three, rock 'n roll guitar since I was 14.

I studied talking drum and juju music in college.... Music goes back to the big bang. When stars or planets explode, there's a sound…there's a rhythm. The oceans, the wind, the plate tectonics of the earth all make a rhythm and a sound. So as we are merely dancers on this planet for the time being, it's no wonder we've learned to harness the ability of sound and rhythm.

Remember, the first languages were music; drumming and calls. Music is older than religion, politics and society. A buddy and former bandmate of mine always has a joke about four on the floor boom boom boom dance music and why it's so popular. His theory is...well...around the campfire, the cave men went boom boom boom boom and the cave women danced. And here we are today. (Laughs)

So, to answer your question....as deep as I can get.

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today's music scene versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?

Wulfers: That's a tough question because I'm old enough to have put out music in a time where everyone bought music all the time. You'd be at a gas station on tour and a girl would see a van and a long haired dude and say "are you in a band, can I buy your cd?" Without even hearing us first! And you'd sell a ton of records at shows and in general. Unfortunately our society has taken a turn for the worst regarding art in general and how de-valued it's become. Of course, we have to adjust and evolve with the times but I feel that for those who never tasted how sweet it once was don't complain because they don't know any better whereas those of us who got a taste of that...it's a bummer. But the good news is that people will always listen to music and hopefully the creators of that music will be able to sustain ways to make a living and be able to continue to produce and manufacture the music. It's also sad to see so many cool venues and scenes die out. I know that's how it goes but seriously, a lot of cool markets are no longer cool because they've lost all their venues.
Lamitschka:  What do you think about today's music industry?

Wulfers: Luckily it's still around and I hope it continues to stick around only allowing artists, musicians, writers and performers to make wages that were once available not too long ago.

Lamitschka:  If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?

Wulfers: I wish music were more like sports. In sports, you have to be good enough and possess the talents at a high enough level to be on the field or court. If you want to play professional hockey and you can’t skate or shoot the puck, guess what, you’re not going to be in the NHL…even if you look good in the uniform!! Whereas, these days in the music industry, if you can’t sing or play….but you can fake wearing the uniform with social media bots, auto-tune tricks and ghost-writers, you’re suddenly…”an artist”…you just have to say you're a musician. (Laughs) There's a lot of people out there who are famous, well known or say they're musicians who can't sing, can't write, can't play and can't do anything...but wear the "uniform." That’s the kind of bullshit that is so hard for so many amazing talented creative people around the world to deal with. My advice to those talented souls is to keep on being YOU!

Lamitschka:  As an artist, you have so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?

Wulfers: My favorite is a tie between recording a brand new song and performing live. They're both so different but both a wonderful way to harness energy, bundle it into pure creative inspiration and unleash that energy upon an audience. But I’m lucky that my “work” involves so much “play” and to be able to spend time making music with one of your favorite instruments whether it be a guitar, a piano, a bass, a uke or a pedal steel…Nothin' better!

Lamitschka:  Are you doing anything to take music beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?

Wulfers: I'm always trying to take music beyond as many borders as possible using the tools and lexicon of my abilities I'm not only familiar with but also improving on or learning about every day. I think too many genres are stagnant right now and need a kick in the pants. People say technology is what to wait for...I say it's songs. So I'm trying my best to push my songs across as many borders musically and geographically as possible. And hopefully some of your readers will be turned on by the noises I make and lyrics I sing.

Lamitschka:  What was your big break that got you into the music business?

Wulfers: I've had a lot of lucky breaks over my career but I think once my early albums as a teenager started to get radio play and people were really reacting to what I was doing live onstage at my shows...that was the sign that this is what I'd be up to for a while. (Laughs)

Lamitschka:  Before you became a star, were your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?

Wulfers: Well, star is definitely a relative term but my friends and family have always been very supportive of my crazy, wacky, ridiculous creative life. I've been gigging since I was 14 and put my first album out as a 17 year old. Many of my friends never knew me when I wasn't playing music all the time. I'm lucky to have grown up with two amazing parents and a group of really good and friends who are still to this day some of my best friends.

Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become an artist?

Wulfers: For me it was never a choice. It's who I've always been since childhood. My mind has always gone a million miles a minute and creativity has always been my greatest outlet. It's a blessing and a curse but I think if you have a choice to not be an artist, you're not really an artist.

Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become a songwriter?

Wulfers: I grew up playing piano since the age of 3. I would play commercial jingles by ear on the piano and began taking lessons. That seems like several lifetimes ago but I was a classical piano playing kid and I had to practice, practice...practice. It made me dislike music even though it was a natural talent I had but I hated all the practicing. And my piano teacher died when I was in 6th grade and I stopped all the classical music. About a year later, my Godfather died and when I heard that news, the first thing I did was go to the piano and write a song. And I've been doing it ever since. As soon as I wrote that song, I began "PLAYING" the piano instead of practicing. And a few years later, it was guitar.....and luckily it hasn't stopped....... From that age writing music and writing songs and lyrics is just how I've lived my life. It's the blessing and the curse of constantly having song and lyric ideas in your head. The tricky but the super fun part is figuring out how to turn those ideas into songs, tunes and pieces you perform and record.

Lamitschka:  What drives you?

Wulfers: Other than my big old van? (Laughs) The idea that time is precious and that there's so much to do in this world and so many places to see. And why not make as much music and art to leave behind while you can? That desire and need to create is something you’ll find in a lot of artists. It’s a calling that also happens to be a gig but it’s the calling part that keeps the passion burning.

Lamitschka:  What does it take to be a music icon?

Wulfers: If you're talented and great at what you do, then great PR, a quality product, cool shades and a lifetime of luck should do the trick.

Lamitschka:  What's unique about you that will differentiate you from other artists?

Wulfers: I'm very mercurial in my song catalog and stage show. I've written a lot of music in a lot of different styles so chances are there's something for everyone in my canon of work. I've experienced some successes few artists ever have...my folk song about baseball blowing up on radio and going into the baseball hall of fame...a few of my videos going viral, the first double cd on CDBaby.com (my Drivin' Barefoot record), ending up on CNN and ABC World News for playing music..... All these wonderful experiences keep happening to me and people continue to discover my music in areas that they'd never expect. I have several rock 'n roll albums out, a ukulele album out, numerous film scores, a holiday album, acoustic double albums, classical music...that's just me. Once you learn to sound and play like yourself, just keep going...I think that's what makes me different from other artists...there's only one Ted Wulfers.

Lamitschka:  What has been your greatest challenge in music business?

Wulfers: I think the biggest challenge every artist has these days is standing out in a world overwhelmed by music. Even the best and most talented musicians in the world are finding it hard to get the attention they deserve over the amount of mediocre music we are all bombarded with daily. The trick is to do what you do better than anyone else. Be yourself…everyone else is accounted for. Make your own noise and make your own statement.

Lamitschka:  What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?

Wulfers: The songs I mentioned earlier...."The Cubs Won It All In 2016" going into the Baseball Hall of Fame and being a Record Store Day vinyl release comes to mind. When my song "The Carl Rogers Blues" from my Drivin' Barefoot album was #1 on Nashville Independent Radio for 20 some weeks...that was a thrill. When my song "Here We Go" from my Lucky No. 7 album was all over the radio in dozens of markets and beating the Foo Fighters in several of those markets….

Moments I've shared with Tom Petty, Lucinda Williams, Cracker are pretty damn cool! Speaking of the Foo Fighters, at their show at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Rami Jaffee, the keyboard player and I formed a super group in their warm up room behind the stage and jammed in the middle of Center Field of Wrigley Field right before the Foos took the stage. I joked that we were the opening act but I was playing Dave Grohl's guitar for the entire jam which was super cool.

Another moment is when Bob Dylan rented my Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar from me for a few days and that experience inspired me to begin a documentary film on the Gibson J-45 that is currently in production.

But also, whenever people ask me this question, I also think back to playing shows in high school and having that first audience sing back a song to me and react to a song I had written. That is still close to the top of the list for me because if that hadn't happened, none of this ever would have!!

I’m also really proud of the relationships I have with so many people I’ve made music with over the years as well as the gear companies I have endorsements with. I feel it’s really important to use great gear made by really good people. I have gear endorsements with Shubb Capos, Mad Professor Pedals, Curt Mangan Strings, Walker & Williams Straps, DLS Effects and most recently EBS Sweden Amps! I feel very lucky to use amazing gear that is made by truly amazing people who I consider friends as well as colleagues and it’s always a treat to see them at the NAMM show or on the road while touring.

Lamitschka:  Any thoughts of retirement ahead?

Wulfers: Hey now, I'm not THAAAAT old!! (Laughs) As long as the mind, voice, fingers, heart, feet and libido work, there is no retirement from music. As I said before…it's a calling that happens to pay the bills and if you're really in it, you're in it for life.   Talk to me in 30-40 years. (Laughs)

Lamitschka:  Who is your biggest critic, yourself or others?

Wulfers: Definitely my cat, Jagger! If he doesn't vibe to the tune, it doesn't make the record. He picks the hits!

Lamitschka:  When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

Wulfers: For me, there's no real "time off" from music. I'm always writing songs and they're always floating in my head so when I take time off, I consider it re-charging the batteries so to speak...getting away from the studio or the stage. Photography, walking...I love nature and getting to the beach, scuba diving, being near the ocean, mountain lakes, rivers, streams, hiking and long car rides. Romantic adventures..... I also love guitar shopping which is a wonderful excuse to combine your time off with the study or purchase of tools for your craft. (Laughs)

Lamitschka:  Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?

Wulfers: Seeing that I play so many instruments and work so quickly, I wish I had 2-3 twin brothers to record with. (Laughs) Only they'd disappear as soon as we were done, only to appear again when needed. (Laughs) I wish certain cars and aircraft fit people of my height better.

Lamitschka:  What hopes and desires do you have?

Wulfers: Oooh la la, now you're getting personal! (Laughs) I hope humans commune enough to make the best decisions for the species and the planet moving forward. I hope I'll be able to make music as long as I possibly can and that as many people as possible can hear it. Desires....I'll save those for the ladies and the bedroom. (Laughs)

Lamitschka:  What has been the biggest disappointment in your life?

Wulfers: When my Dad died, I lost my best friend and role model and that hit me pretty hard. There have been a million others along the way but they only make you stronger and help you keep going to overcome them.

Even as musically fruitful and successful as 2019 has been, this year has had some disappointments in that I’ve been dealing with an injury that forced me to postpone some tour dates and events. Fortunately I’m feeling much better and ready to get back on the horse so to speak but anytime you’re on the sidelines due to an injury or illness, it’s a bummer and you just have to tackle the situation with as much positivity as possible to overcome it!

 Lamitschka:  Is there any place you haven't played that you would like to?

Wulfers: I would really like to play more in Europe. Everywhere I've played in Germany, Belgium and the UK is just amazing. The audiences LOVE music and I love how engaged and enthusiastic they are. So I would love to play more in Europe and hopefully with this new album, I'll be doing just that. I'd also like to play in Japan and in South America.

Lamitschka:  What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?

Wulfers: They can expect to see a man who loves playing his music for them and on a number of different instruments. My full band show is very much a rockin' show and my solo show is full of me switching between instruments and telling stories in between tunes. It's a very fun, engaging, entertaining, rockin', jammin', experimental and in the moment musical experience! I try to make each show unique and memorable for the audience!

Lamitschka:  When you're on tour, do you have time to play tourist?

Wulfers: Sometimes there's not much time depending on the schedule BUT I try to play tourist as much as possible everywhere I go. Traveling is so powerful for the mind and soul that it's important to get lost, go off the beaten path and find new nooks and crannies to the cities you're lucky enough to wander to.

Lamitschka:  Do fans mob you everywhere you go or do they respect your privacy?

Wulfers: Oh yeah, man…. It's Beatlemania ALLL the time (Laughs)…Just kidding. Luckily, I can go lots of places. What's funny is at least once a month, someone in the grocery store will say... "hey, you look like somebody..." and I always say to them... "we're all somebody!" (Laughs)

Lamitschka:  Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?

Wulfers: Yeah, you can see it all at www.TedWulfers.com

There's song lyrics, bio info, random facts, photos, videos, tour dates, album credits and I may add a blog there.

Lamitschka:  Tell us about the fan club and how people can join it.

Wulfers: Join my mailing list at www.TedWulfers.com and find out how you can become a Howler!

Lamitschka:  What's the best compliment a fan has ever given you?

Wulfers: The best compliment a fan has ever given me is when they've used my music for a major event of their lives or if I've inspired them to start writing songs or pick up an instrument. That's when you know you're on the right track as far as paying it forward and letting your music and art impact the world. It's a great feeling.

Lamitschka:  What's your favorite song that you wish you could have recorded?

Wulfers: That's a tie between "Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones, Beethoven's "9th Symphony" by ole Ludwig, "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty, "Handle With Care" by the Traveling Wilburys, "If I Had A Boat" by Lyle Lovett, "Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song)" by Warren Zevon and Mitch Album, and "Highway To Hell" or “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC.

Lamitschka:  What message would you like to send your European fans?

Wulfers: Every show I've ever played in Europe so far has been such magic and I hope to be able to play many more shows in Europe very soon. I just love the energy and positivity European fans have for music and it's always an honor and a pleasure playing for European audiences and having them discover my music.

Lamitschka:  How do you feel about being winning awards?  What has it done for your career?

Wulfers: I've been lucky to win a few awards over the years for my music or for films I've scored the music for. The parties are fun and they look good on the resume but they're only trophies. I'm not sure which award you're referring to though.

Lamitschka:  Fans are always hungry for good road stories. Do you have one you can share with us (come on don’t be shy)?
Wulfers: You mean the time a Mother and a Daughter wanted to have a threesome with me? Or when my van hit black ice on tour and I skidded, skipped and flipped into a ditch and wrecked the van, almost dying and luckily walked away with only glass in my face? Or the time in New Orleans where I was called to the stage and didn't leave until a 6 hour non-stop jam was over with New Orleans legends? Or the time we played a giant hockey arena and it turned out several world famous politicians were there and sprinted up to give us high fives during songs? Or the time a small monkey stole merch out of my merch box and ended up wearing it? Or the time when my bass player got hit in the head with a beer can so he ended up throwing a large lamp at the culprit? Or the time when an after show orgy/party/jam session at a mansion was interrupted in the morning by the actual owners of said mansion and everyone had to flee? Or the time I got stuck in a blizzard on tour and snow forced me to crash into a snow bank of a hotel parking lot and the hotel happened to have a country/blues bar/club and another band and I ended up jamming and drinking all night for the other travelers stuck at this hotel by the blizzard? Too many to share! (Laughs)

Lamitschka:  Describe what a perfect day is like for you.

Wulfers: Wake up, do something I've never done before, make a little music, make a little love, make the world a better place, sneak in a siesta, enjoy good food and fall asleep only when tired. Oh and coffee. Good coffee must be in there somewhere. (Laughs)

Lamitschka:  Most careers don't last as long as yours.  What's given your career the staying power?

Wulfers: My answer to that is simple...write the best songs you can, make the best albums you can and put on the best show you can. When you bleed into microphones, people relate to it and if you keep your sound genuine, original, timeless and honest, audiences will respond. Always keep them guessing but make sure they know it's YOU!

Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de ) for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show 

 Kays Coffee June 1 2019 - Ted Wulfers (9 of 24)

No comments