A few months back, Astatine Music had the pleasure of sitting down with Wayland, a band from a small town in Michigan which bears their name. Last time we saw them they were on tour with Hinder. Before that performance we were able to go on the bus and have a chat with the whole band. It was a great talk and one hell of a show, as we reported. A few days ago the band came through town again. They have literally been on the road since the last time we talked to them. I was extremely excited to have the chance to sit down with them again to talk about their last few months and what sort of plans they have coming up. As expected they are still the same guys as when I met them before. They remembered me and welcomed me back with a huge hug. In a world full of divisive lines and political strife, we need Wayland. The band reminds us that all the world needs is a little Rock N Roll with a bit of soul to feel good.
When it comes to live shows the band is second to none. Whenever we are in the same city I will be sure to see them again and again. Even at the small Marquis Theater in Denver these guys play like they’re in front of a stadium. The Marquis, which holds roughly 400 people, was jam-packed with Wayland fans that night. There was no doubt who drew the crowd. I could hear stories in the line outside about fans meeting Phil one time after a show or getting their picture with Mitch on the bus. From young twenty-something ladies to scruffy, haggard men, all are fans of the band. There was quite a buzz in the venue even before they took the stage. The reason their fans talk of them in such a way is because these guys put their entire heart and soul into their work. This is not just a way for them to stay out and party or chase women, but it sure doesn’t hurt the prospects of doing so either!
One of the first things we notice about Wayland is how damn tight they are as a band. There is no question that these guys play live all the time. As you can see from their tour history, they are true road dogs. From the first note of “Rabbit River Blues” we could hear the soul in their performance. Most bluesy-rock bands take a song or two to “warm up” and feel the crowd. Wayland stepped out in-the-zone. Not even a broken string on Phil’s Gibson hollow body could slow these guys down. As the band made it’s way through the set list, which was a great slice of the their catalog, the crowd got more and more into it. I rested my trusty concert camera on a speaker and just watched the crowd get sucked into the performance. Lead singer Mitch Arnold has an incredible gift. The guy was given (rather worked for) a Ronnie Van Zandt-grade voice. We can see and feel the soul that this man gives to the microphone. It’s not only him; all members (Dean, Phil and even drummer Nigel) have voices that are better than most of the garbage being heard on top-40 radio.
Let’s get back to vocalist Mitch Arnold. The guy has a voice that will draw you in and give you goosebumps. He can scream Rock N Roll but can come back and sing you a song that makes you question the era we live in. Not only can Mitch sing amazingly well but he plays guitar, backing the incredibly talented Phil Vilenski. Mitch did stop the show for a minute to talk with his audience. He took some time to remind everyone that with all the crazy things going on in this world we need to remember that there are great things out there. We can’t focus on negativity. Life is too great to get hung up on the bad things we experience. This is something that really rings true for me personally. I have seen some of the nastiest metal bands stop and do the same thing. Music, whatever genre, is supposed to lift us up. From the earliest days as cavemen we made music to forget our problems. Humans need music and we especially need positivity at this point in human history. With all of the issues that divide us it is great to have Wayland to remind us that life is to damn good to waste it on anything other than what drives us.
Another great example of the generosity of their live performance is that these guys actually re-arranged their set list to accommodate a fans request of “Come Back”, a song they don’t usually play live. After the show, these guys were out with the fans shaking hands and exchanging stories from gigs past. Wayland is a class act all around. These guys had one thing on their mind that night and that was to make friends and show them all a good time. A young friend of mine, who has incredible music taste for his age, had never heard of them before, despite growing up in Michigan as well. He only needed 1.5 songs before he was on iTunes purchasing Wayland’s 2017 release, “Rinse and Repeat”. Which is really the point of this article. Give the band a maximum of 6 minutes on stage and you will be a fan. No doubt, if you like rock music in any shape or form, you will be a Wayland fan after that brief amount of time.
I was able to speak with Mitch for a few minutes before they took the stage that night. He told me that the band was going take a bit of time off the road to really focus on writing and recording some new material. The description he provides of the new music is simply this, they are going back to what got them together. The music. The heart and soul that they have. They will be writing from their hearts. Keep an eye on the band to see what’s coming up. I cannot stress my 6-minute-or-less analogy enough. They will have you hooked. Their tour schedule will bring them through your city before you know it and you better be prepared to get some tickets!
Mitch Arnold – Lead vocals/guitar
Phillip Vilenski – Lead guitar/vocals
Dean Pizzazz – Bass/vocals
Nigel Dupree – Drums/vocals