An Interview with Wyatt C. Anderson,
Frontman of White Wizzard
that took place on Sunday, May 6th 2012 in West Hollywood, CA, USA.
Interviewed by Glenn Milligan.
Wyatt: Well actually the way I got interested in music was through a school band, believe it or not. I played several instruments in high school. The music director of the high school was really influential as far as me wanting to persue music. It was a pure and simple fact that he's basically.. he showed me how important music can be to people, you know, what it can do for 'em, lift 'em up when they're down and just put 'em in a really good mood. So that was pretty much my first influence as far as wanting to do music. Then the people that I hung around with weren't exactly the greatest crowd apparently, not from when I went to school but I started getting into rock music.
My brother was a big AC/DC fan, I started to listen to his records and started liking what I heard and got into the classic rock kinda thing. Then a friend of mine introduced me to Slayer and Metallica and Megadeth - all the early 80's bands and it just went from there man. I just loved what I heard and couldn't wait to get into a band. That's how I wound up being where I'm at right now man. It's just getting with those influences and just learning how to try and sing my ass off and pretty much it worked out for me.
Glenn: When did you realise you actually had a voice right there?
Wyatt: It was one in one of my first bands that I was in. I was't exactly as good of singer as I am now of course but they kinda pushed me to try to expand the range where I was, you know, at the songs that we were playing at the time. So I kept pushing it and kept pushing it until I finally started learning how to develop wher I can stretch my voice from one octave to another and get it in different ranges and everything to make it the way where I am very comfortable with how I sing now. I think, I mean it's taken years for me to be able to have the range that I have now because of development.
Obviously you're not gonna be... not unless you're some kind of child prodigy, you're not gonna be born with a perfect singing voice - no one is but you have to develop it and I managed to develop my style over the years to where I've got a fairly decent range. At first, believe it or not, I was not comfortable with my voice 'til I got into a hard rock band called 'November' which is actually how Jon the founder of White Wizzard found me. He was doing a search for a guitar player of a band that he knew called 'November' and heard the song that we had recorded and just actually called me the very next day. Asked me if I wanted to come out to L.A. and audition. It's like, "Yeah sure", you know he sent me some of his music, I liked it and as they say, 'the rest is history' - here I am.
Glenn: I rember there was a band called November and it wasn't spelt like that - it was spelt as 'Novembre'.
Wyatt: Yeah I think that's a European band. Yeah, this was like a heavy rock band from Jacksonville, Florida. But actually it was a good band. It was a very good band but it wasn't exactly where I wanted to be. All during my teen years I grew listening to Heavy Metal and that's what I wanted to be in - a Heavy Metal band. Jacksonville didn't provide me very many opportunities with that espeically with the style that I wanted to be in because everytime you mention Jacksonville, Florida people think like Limp Bizkit or Lynyrd Skynyrd - just one of the two.
Glenn: Or Blackfoot or something?
Wyatt: Or Blackfoot yeah exactly. It's one of those. It's not, 'Oh wow', you know, it's not traditional Heavy Metal. That never comes to mind whenever you're talking about Jacksonville so that wasn't exactly what I wanted and then whenever I got invited to audition for White Wizzard and I heard the music, you know, it was a perfect fit. That's exactly what I wanted to do. It was exactly the kind of band that I wanted to be in.
Glenn: How would you describe your vocal style and sound?
Wyatt: Well from my point of view, I mean, my favourite singers are Halford, Dickinson and Dio so I try to emulate their styles, not necessarily mimic their styles but that's what I strive to go for to get within those parameters of how their voices are. I have a lot of people that sit there and tell me, you know, "Well you jeez, you got this and you got that, you sound like this and you sound like that", well yeah, of course I'm going to sound like this or that, you know because that's who I like and that's what I try to, you know, that's what I try to tell everybody.
As far as , "Oh you guys sound like Iron Maiden", well usually whenever you idolise a band, you're gonna try to sound like that band. Your're not necessarily gonna want to mimic them but you're definately gonna wanna try to sound like 'em because that's what you like, that's what you like listening to, therefore that's what you are gonna wanna and it's the same thing for me as far as singing. You know, I love listening to Priest, I love listening to Maiden and I absolutely love Dio and so that's what I'm gonna try to sing like.
Glenn: And sometimes you do it subconcious as well.
Wyatt: Oh yeah, absolutely, absolutely. You're not.. I mean it becomes second nature over time once you start developing your own voice and your own style, like you said, it's a subconcious thing - you're not really thinking about it especially whenever you're doing something like recording. You're not even thinking about it - it's just what pops into your head, how you hear yourself and that's what you go with.
Glenn: What was it like when you first joined White Wizzard? Was it a bit initimidating at first because it's a well known band and you come in thinking, "I gotta prove myself here"?
Wyatt: No, no, no. I think whenever we first recorded 'Over The Top' whenever I actually came over to audition, Jon had had the first three songs on the album that he's already had the guitars and the drums and everything else recorded so he gave me the music and gave me the lyrics that he had written for 'em and he was like, "See what you can do with this", so as I'm sitting there with the headphones on and just going through through it while I'm at the computer, I'm sitting there singing them to myself and he was able to hear me. He's like, he comes over and says, "Dude that's exactly what I want", and so you know, I just... I think I just pretty much fell into place how exactly what we wanted to have.
Glenn: What were the first songs that you sang for the band and what were the highlights of first working in the studio?
Wyatt: Oh wow! Over The Top, 40 Deuces and White Wizzard were the first songs that we recorded and I had done recording but it was never, you know, it wasn't in a completely professional studio and the guy that we recorded with Ralph Patlin pretty much pushed me to, you know, "Now now come on, let's do the... you're a little bit outta tune - try again, try it again", because I despise using autotuning. I think that's one of the worst inventions in the creation of man because I'm sorry, if you can't hit it, you can't sing it and you should not try it. Auto-correct is just evil.
Glenn: Yeah it's b*llsh*t.
Wyatt: Yes it is. But Ralph had constantly pushed me - "Hey try this idea", "Okay, that doesn't work, you know, what do you think, you know?, what's your ideas?", Okay I gave my ideas, "Yeah, yeah - let's try that", you know, "Okay, that works well", "Then let's go with this". So it was a really, really pleasant experience because I got to start pushing myself and even more and started developing my own style instead of just trying to emulate my idols, I actually started developing my own voice to an extent to where once somebody starts listening to em, "Oh yeah ok, I know who that is". So that makes me really, really happy whenever I have somebody say, " Well yeah, you know, you're voice does sound like his and your voice does sound like his but you've got your own style". So that makes me real happy to hear that.
Glenn: Which studio was that?
Wyatt: Schemo Studios is what it's called. It's in Phoenix, Arizona and actually it's a Ralph's personal studio but I don't think he's got it quite professional yet as far as in the market to do large projects other than what we did but that was through personal contact between Jon and Ralph so that was why we did it with him. That was the way we had that in as far as recording with him goes but then again, I have to admit he's done work with Megadeth and UFO so there again, he's had some good people in there. It was really nice man. He's a very, very good Engineer, has a great ear and actually the teo albums turned out very, very well.
Glenn: How was the rehearsing before you went on the road- did you have to rehearse quite a lot?
Wyatt: Oh yeah, we rehearsed probably 3, 4 times a week. I mean, in order to stop on top of your game you've got to - you have to rehearse. I mean if you just sit back and just like rehearse like once a week, you're not gonna be as sharp as you got to be in order to be able to play on stage in front of a bunch of people. Fans want to be able to go in and hear exactly what they hear on the album and if you're not on top of your game, you're not going to play exactly as you play (on the album) because everything is gonna be sloppy because you haven't rehearsed. So to me, rehearsals are a very, very important part of being in a band. You have to be able to get together, regardless of personal schedules. If you're going to be at a certain level in a band you have to make time for that - the band has to become a priority.
Glenn: So what was the first tour you did with White Wizzard? How did it go? Where did you play and was the reaction from the fans?
Wyatt: Our first tour was with Korpiklaani, TYR and Swashbuckle. We did a North American Tour with them and we just had such a blast. All those bands, all the guys in those bands were great. We did a 23 date tour I believe it was. A 23 or 24 date tour with 'em. It was a US tour and it was just great. I mean, there was so much fun goin' on, you know everybody was cordial with everyone else in bands and I had a blast. I thought it was one of the funnest experiences I've ever had.
Glenn: Yeah, you've just hit the nail on the head right there. Funnest experiences - any you can talk about?
Wyatt: Funny ones - oh I don't know about that. Just people passing out and getting drawn on. Just a lot of little inside pranks on each other and just stupid sh*t that especially whenever you're couped up in a van for a month with the same four guys you're gonna try to start to try to egg each other every once in a while and get under each others skin so just a little prank here and there, you know, maybe p*ss*ng in someones cup..
Glenn: And let them drink it?
Wyatt: ... and let them drink it without even saying anything and just crazy sh*t, you know, but it's all in fun whenever you do that because if you try to be all serious on the road man you just lose it because everything becomes way too serious and you're not having fun and then it turns into a like a normal job. You can't have fun at a normal job and this is definately not a normal job.
Glenn: EdGuy - how did you manage that tour?
Wyatt: I have no idea. I'll be honest. (We laugh).
Glenn: This is Jon's stuff isn't it?
Wyatt: Oh yeah. I don't know how we got on that one. I think basically what it boiled down to was that we were there at the right place at the right time. We had played Hammerfest the night before we actually went on tour with them. I mean, it was just a short stint in the UK but I think it was just one of those right places at the right time things that it fell into the same time that they were going to be on that leg of their tour and needed a band that was somewhat similar to them and I'm not too sure that their were quite too many other bands in the area at the time that were available so I guess that's how we got that. I'm not too sure.
Glenn: You mentioned 'Hammerfest' - how was that for you guys?
Wyatt: Oh 'Hammerfest' was great. I loved it. All the people that were there, you know, it was all about the music and everybody that's there is just a complete and utter fan of Heavy Metal music and nobody has any attitudes because we're all Metalheads. I mean, you shouldn't sit there and say, "Well this band sucks and that band sucks". There was none of that there, you know, I mean everybody was getting into everything. There was a couple of Black Metal bands there, there was us - Traditional Metal and Iced Earth was one of the headliners, Suicidal (Tendencies) was the other headliner. So it was like, you know, you got Thrash, you got Power Metal, you got Black Metal, you got Traditional Metal and all that and everybody was just going to everything. I mean, going to all the stages and everything and having a good time.
Glenn: So basically it was just like fans of bands, fans of music and just friends with one another?
Wyatt: Yeah absolutely.
Glenn: It makes it like a family.
Wyatt: Yeah oh yeah. Nobody has any attitudes or anything. Nobody has any egos. You can be walking through one of the areas and hear this music playing here and walk through another area and hear that music playing there and just sit there and constantly go back and forth dude. It's a simple fact but hey, you know, it's all Metal music man. You're here to have fun - enjoy. I mean, you've paid a good amount of money to come and see all these bands play - why don't you go see 'em all? And then everybody was actually trying to do that man. I mean it was really, really a good experience for us.
Glenn: What were the highlights or your favourite moments doing that show? What songs were they and what was it about them moments that captured you?
Wyatt: Oh for me I think it was.. it would probably have to have been the songs '40 Deuces' and 'White Wizzard' due to the simple fact that those were the first couple of songs that we recorded. Everybody's familiar with 'em and having the crowd reaction of people actually singing along with those songs is just.. it's just great to hear people singing along with you because it's just crazy because you don't think to yourself, you know, wow - when you're recording your like, 'Well maybe one day you know, maybe one day this'll get to the point where people will sing along with it', and it actually happened so it was surreal because everybody's just singing right along and I can't keep from smiling ear to ear because...
Glenn: It's like wow, that's my song, they know my stuff?
Wyatt: Exactly, exactly - yeah man.
Glenn: It's memorable isn't it? It's spiritually enlightening.
Wyatt: It is, it is, it is. I mean you realise that whenever you get into music that's kind of one of the things you want to have happen and we had it happen for us. I thought it was incredible.
Glenn: Yeah because you've gone from like, that's you in your booth, your vocal booth doing and then your album comes out and you don't know if people are taking notice of these songs.
Wyatt: Right, right.
Glenn: They're holding them right in their heart.
Wyatt: Yes sir.
Glenn: And you find they do. It's like.. what?
Wyatt: And it's more than just a few. The crowd we had was a very decent crowd. I mean , unfortunately the time of day that we played was like mid-day so there wasn't that many people. It wasn't a very, very large crowd but we had a decent crowd and like I said, everybody was singing, everybody was cheering and yelling right along with us and it was great - just so great. I loved it.
Glenn: What would you say the difference between the fans in the UK and Europe and the fans in the US? Are they any different?
Wyatt: yeah. I don't think there are as many avid fans in the United States as I do think there are in Europe but due to the simple fact that, you know, that music actually never went anywhere in Europe and the US is such a trendy place that once this certain flavour is out of stlye then oh well let's go to the next one. I think that's the difference between US fans - we grabbed someof them. Some of them do tend to stay true to their roots but I don't think a lot of them do.
Glenn: Yeah. Which is sad really because I always find like when I got into AC/DC or maybe Deep Purple, Status Quo and Queen and ZZ Top - as soon as I heard them that was it from day one I'm still..
Wyatt: Yeah absolutely, yeah definately. I mean same with me. Like you said, AC/DC, whenever I first started listening to my brothers albums it was like, 'This is great - I love this and this is what I wanna do', and it just expanded from there, you know, listening to (Deep) Puple and getting into the heavier stuff with the new album and all that and it stays with you. I think it's like.. it gets into your bones and that's where it sits. In order for you to be able to truly be happy I think you have to.. I think you have to be true to yourself and say, "You know what, regardless of what anybody thinks this is how I'm gonna dress, this is how I'm gonna be, this is what I'm gonna listen to and who gives a shit what everybody else thinks. But I think that's less true for the United States than the rest of the world because the United States is very trendy and they tend to jump on whatever bandwagon is poular at the moment.
Glenn: Add some Budweiser and add some Jaegermeister Adverts?
Glenn: it's like 'What you doing?' All this corporate stuff is just...
Wyatt: Absolutely man, absolutely, yes. Absolutely, absolutely. It's too ahead for it's own good. We always talk about in the States that, "Oh we're ahead of everybody else in the World", well sometimes it's not a good thing especially as far as I'm concerned as far as music goes that is definately not a good thing.
Glenn: You are missing things and you are not letting things evolve to get to a certain peak - it's in the trash before then.
Wyatt: Yeah, yeah. They're just jumping on the next thing until it gets to a certain point and then they are just discarding it as well. So it kind of makes me sad but I mean, but then again it also gives me an opportunity in order to be able to travel due to the simple fact that hey, when you gotta go where your market is, our market is obviously in Europe. So fortunately, actually Thursday we head out to Japan.
Wyatt: Oh yeah, I'm definately looking forward to that. The Japanese are basically the same way as European fans. They're ravid and straight for Rock music and Heavy Metal and they always have been ever since its invention. So it's great.
Glenn: When bands talk about Japan, they always talk about this guy called Mr. Udo.
Wyatt: Never heard of him but I'm sure probably we will.
Glenn: You read in some of books like Nikki Sixx and they always talk about this guy called Mr. Udo who flies them all into Japan and gives them all this suki and hotels and he pays for everything - he pays for flights - a multi-millionaire promoter and all this.
Wyatt: Really. Oh well, that might be the case then. Oh yeah, our promoter is flying us over there, paying for our flights, paying for our rooms. Not sure about the staffing or anything but that in itself is huge, especially for a band our size. I mean, we're only getting flown over there for one show and it's like "Seriously, you're paying for all of this just to bring us over for one show?".
Glenn: That's insane.
Wyatt: Yes exactly.
Glenn: I thought you'd be out there for at least a week.
Wyatt: No no, they're flying us in for one show and that's exactly what I thougght, 'Are you crazy?'
Glenn: When are you doing the show? Is it the next night or something?
Wyatt: Yeah I believe so, I believe so. It's on the 12th (May). The Shibuya Club Quattro - I think that's the name of it.
Glenn: It must be a big club to make it viable?
Wyatt: Yeah, yeah, I believe so. But I thought that was crazy so it might be the same man that you're talking about.
Glenn: This promoter might want to showcase you first and then he might be putting you on at other venues that might be later on in the year and you will do a full tour?
Wyatt: Oh that would make me happy. Very. I wouldn't mind that.
Glenn: Talking about other countries, what countries have you enjoyed being in or checking out as well and why?
Wyatt: I have to say Ireland was great. I mean, I know it's gonna, I don't know whether corny or chessey but you know, that's where a lot of my family is from. It was nice to be able to actually see where my ancestors were from and to know how.. to understand how where I come from. I get to go back there just to see where my family comes from. That was actually the highligh for me was to be able to.. of course having the fans there was very, very good - the fans there are crazy. But it was great to be able to see that.
Glenn: What material that you've put out there musicwise are you most proud of and why?
Wyatt: Oh wow. I'm proud of all of it but I think 'Over The Top' is what I'm most proud of because that was the 1st album I actually got to be myself on as far as singing goes. I got to develop my own style with that. I got to create my own image with that as far as my singing goes and that to me was a highlight due to the simple fact that I actually in a way kind of found my little niche in music - my very own niche. So I'm very proud about that.
Glenn: Recording new material. Have you recently recorded something?
Wyatt: Oh we've actually recorded a new song. It's actually in the process of being mixed right now. I'm not sure when a release on it is going to be. It's called 'Torpedo Of Truth'. We're probably going to try and do a video along with the song and like I said, I'm not sure when we are going to be able to release it or not. That's gonna be soul discretion of the label but it's as people think as far progressed from 'Over The Top' that 'Flying Tigers' was, this song is probably the same as far as being progressed from 'Flying Tigers'. The songwriting is a lot stronger, the music is a lot stronger, the vocals are a lot stronger but I think we're coming into our own as far as the band in a whole goes because we're gelled as far as being a good unit. The song definately shows that. This band has matured from the first album.
Glenn: Regarding European shows, have you got anything in the pipeline?
Wyatt: No we're... apart from the Japan date we are going to be doing a West Coast Tour in late June possible an East Coast Tour in possibly August or September and other plans from that I don't really know too much further into the future what we've got planned. I would love to go back over and do some festival dates - that would be my idea of taking care of the Summer would be the festivals. I would love to go play some festivals.
Glenn: Can you ever see yourself releasing any solo material in a few years?
Wyatt: Yeah possibly. I mean I do songwriting myself but with Jon being the main songwriter of the band, I like to leave it to him because his songwriting for this band is what actually has this band where it's at as far as the style goes. I'm more or less, I like more Power Metal than I do Traditional Metal. So yeah, in the future if I did it'd probably be along the lines of some White Wizzard along with Power Metal. I know that sounds kind of strange but I'd like to but I don't know if I'm going to or not.
Glenn: What would you say you've learnt most in the music business on the business side and also on the social side and on stage side?
Wyatt: On the business side, always read your contract before you sign it. (We laugh). The social side man, always, always, always be good to your fans because your fans are what make you who you are. They're the ones who pay that their hard earned money to come see you at shows. They're the ones.. they pay their money to buy your albums and they're basically the ones that get you where you are. Stagewise, there's no bigger rush in the world than being in front of a bunch of people and having those people absolutely just freakin' hang on everything that you're doing.
Glenn: What is the key for you to keep your voice in shape so you don't peter out?
Wyatt: You have to watch what you drink, watch what you eat, you know, excercise, practise your ass off, you've got to do vocal excercises. I mean I'm basically self taught but I've gathered enough knowledge to know what excerises I need to do in order to keep my voice where its at. Keep it trained. You have to be able to maintain a certain level and if you sit on your laurels you lose it so you have to keep at it day after day after day in order to stay on that at that level.
Glenn: Do you have like certain high notes or low notes or mid notes that you like to sing?
Wyatt: Oh I love hitting high notes. (Laughs) Absolutely. I mean I like singing in general. I love being able to sing. Being able to express yourself is what music's all about and fortunately for me I was granted with a talent of being able to sing. I couldn't play the drums or the guitars to save my life but I can sing so I'm happy.
Glenn: So if you could describe the style of your voice in so many words without talking about influences of certain people, how would you describe the vocal sound and style of Wyatt?
Wyatt: A screaming demon. That's all there is to it. I'm a screaming demon.
Glenn: Perfect. (We laugh). Anything you'd like to say to the fans of White Wizzard and of Wyatt C. Anderson and also other people that are gonna be reading this interview?
Wyatt: We're gonna be heading your way soon, make sure you come and check us out.
Glenn: Spot on. Cool.
A big thank you to Erik Kluiber for placing me in touch with Wyatt! Be sure to go see White Wizzard on Tour if you get chance!!