Last week a band called Wayland came through town. You may not have heard of them, they were at the bottom of the bill playing with Hinder, Josh Todd and the Conflict and Adelitas Way. They may have come in to town a bit under the radar, but they left on the forefront of everyone’s mind. The central-Michigan based group are road dogs in every sense of the word. They hit the road to perfect their craft and do things in a more face to face manner. They do their thing onstage and make their way into the crowd to shake some hands or pose for a photo. At this particular show, I noticed that the line to their merchandise booth was much more crowded than usual. I have personally seen many shows at the Summit Music Hall and very rarely do you get this type of crowd centered around the table after an opening act. They say the proof is in the pudding and the crowd’s response showed a sneak peak as to just where these guys are headed.
The band is comprised of four members, each of whom I was lucky enough to have personal time with both before and after their performance. In thirty seconds flat you know these guys are the real deal. Rock-N-Roll is in their blood. I didn’t need to ask the question, but I did anyway:
“Why do you do this….Rock-N-Roll, why do it?”
“I think all of us at one point just fell in love with live music and it was just what we love to do”, says Adding, “besides doing it for the music we can’t really politically-correctly answer that. It’s the thrill of everyday and what’s ahead.” With laughter all around I knew exactly what they meant.
There are some fringe benefits of being on the road as much as they are. On a more serious note, there was much talk about regarding the brotherhood and camaraderie of working together. Hailing from a working-class area in central Michigan, Wayland brings that upper-midwest work ethic with them on the road. Even for seasoned veteran rocker Jesse James Dupree, their work ethic is admirable. He says about the group “Wayland is a total anomaly in the music industry. This band is defying gravity by playing 300-plus shows a year. They’ve been active in their own rescue. They’ve grown such a following by going out on the road and packing them in everywhere. Because of that work ethic, they’ve got an incredible album to get behind”. Dupree has played an active role in the band’s progress by managing and mentoring the group through his Mighty Loud Entertainment.
In September of this year the band released it’s latest effort “Rinse and Repeat”. When asked about it’s reception with the old fans, Phillip had this to say, “100% across the board old fans are pumped”. This was very apparent while on stage. As the band started, keep in mind they were first of four that night, you could see the crowd move from the bar area to the stage. By the end of the second song you could count the people left in the bar on one hand. There was even an “old” fan there with a homemade t-shirt that asked “Who the hell is Dean Pizzazz”, a nod to the bass player. The gentleman who wore the shirt tells me the story of how Wayland came through and that his son’s band (a Denver act) played with them. He goes on to tell me about his wonderful encounter with the band and that they had made a lifelong fan of him. “These guys do it for the right reason and appreciate every single fan that comes to see them.”
One of the most impressive things I saw that night was the soul that they put into their live performance. You could see they wanted to be there and they meant every word and note they played. Stage-right held a treasure of classic guitars that would make any connoisseur drool from the mouth. Les Pauls. Firebirds and Teles all added to the soul brought to the stage. When you play live as much as these guys do, you become an extremely tight group. This is true both on-stage and off. This night was the last night the band played on this tour with Hinder, who had some shenanigans up their sleeves. During one song, Mark King, Hinder’s guitarist, came out with a guitar and wearing a wig and jammed with the guys. At another point in the set when Wayland vocalist Mitch Arnold had a tambourine part, he found that it had been muted by the use of duct tape. On the side of the stage were the guys from Hinder, laughing and pointing. I don’t recall the exact words, but some smart-assed comment came out of Mitch’s mouth and he played on like nothing was the matter. When they were done, the band thanked the crowd profusely for coming out.
Chances are these guys will be in your town soon. I can think of no reason why not to see them. Great live band, grateful musicians and the music speaks for itself. Check out the links below to see when they are coming to your city. You can also listen to the full audio below.