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|Wolfmother return triumphant from their recent summer European tour that reinvigorated their faithful fans and thrilled newcomers with their world-renowned rumbling rock'n'roll show. Some audiences were treated to a few working tracks that are currently being laid down in the studio where the third album from the quartet is being recorded.
While much attention focuses on lead guitarist and singer-songwriter Andrew Stockdale, Wolfmother is powered by the tremendous engine room of multi-instrumentalist Ian Peres and drummer Will Rockwell-Scott along with the rhythm guitar of Aidan Nemeth. They are providing the bones to this new record which will aim to reproduce the raw grooves and jams at the heart of the original Wolfmother record created in Stockdale's photographic studio in the Spanish quarter of Sydney all those years ago.
For those not familiar with the genesis of Wolfmother a potted history is provided below.
Andrew Stockdale met Chris Ross at a party at his house through a mutual friend early in the new millenium. Upon Stockdale's observation of Chris' synth collection and general home studio set up the two got together a week later for a jam. The music created was as far from what one might call "rock'n'roll" as you would expect - more a French disco jam with various people jamming in and out on instruments over a sampled beat. Not much happened for the next few months except for the original creation of the track Woman.
The jamming went on and on for months on end. There was no vision in sight, it was more or less a mantra of sounds where those involved would search for the unknown. No song structure, no songs and no singer. The incubus of the first Wolfmother record lay dormant for almost a year until Stockdale put together a 5 track demo with Ross' colleague, Myles Heskett playing drums on one of the tracks.
Shortly afterwards Stockdale rounded up Heskett and Ross to be the band for a debut performance of the demo at The Hopetoun. The gig went off, it was the first venue where they had had played "Woman" live and encouraged by the reception the three decided to give it another shot and do another gig. In preparation for their next performance they decided to make a new demo and write a few songs together. This demo ended up becoming the E.P. featuring Woman, Dimension and White Unicorn.
The next gig was at Vic On The Park as a support slot. Upon arrival at the venue the then band of Stockdale, Ross and Heskett had no name. At the last minute Ross suggested the moniker Wolfmother from an Tom Robbins novel called Skinny Legs and All he had been reading and both Heskett and Stockdale reluctantly accepted the title. As history would have it the name stuck and the band became Wolfmother.
Four years of touring playing hundreds of concerts around the world ensued along with their major label self-titled debut selling at multiple platinum volumes and garnering awards along the way - and there WM Mark I thundered to a untimely full-stop as the creative tension within the band spilled over into the private domains of its founders.
With the best of Buddhist intentions Ross and Heskett moved on in 2009 to let Stockdale, in the public mind the embodiment of the band, continue the Wolfmother tradition and form WM Mark II. Back now in Brisbane a connection is made with Dave Atkins from The Resin Dogs who agrees to plays drums on a few new demos. Atkins recommends a young musician from the Gold Coast, Ian Peres. According to Stockdale - "this kid walks into my studio and pretty much plays every Wolfmother song to the tee!" The final piece of the puzzle is provided by guitarist Aidan Nemeth, who convinces Stockdale to make the new incarnation a four-piece.
Cosmic Egg is then made in L.A. at Sunset Boulevard Studio with Producer Alan Moulder of My Bloody Valentine, The Smashing Pumpkins, Ride and Nine Inch Nails fame. The songs that comprise the record come together from different times and places, geographically and mentally - according to Stockdale at the time "some of the songs were written rather spontaneously during the last 2 weeks of tracking, some have been floating around in one form or another for 2 years."
Fittingly the title for their sophomore effort relates to the age-old black hole theory of optimism, where the implosion of a star doesn't instigate a disappearance or destruction, rather a new beginning of a new universe. Cosmic Egg kicks off with the wide-open road riffing of California Queen and takes the listener on a sonic ride from the thumping groove of Fields to the heaving sludge of 10,000 Feet and back via the Rhodes-led lament of Far Away.
Worldwide the new Wolfmother was the biggest selling Australian band of 2010. They play all the great festivals in North America and Europe and support AC/DC on the biggest selling tour of Australian history. The stress of extensive touring and time away from family gets the better of Atkins who leaves on amicable terms. Will Rockwell-Scott from The Mooney Suzuki takes his place behind the drum kit.
The third album is now being recorded. Sessions are taking place in the Wolfmother home studio with production duties in the hand of Stockdale who is looking to put the personality and creativity of the group all over the record by embracing a garage rock aesthetic.
Could it be a massive commercial risk? There is certainly no sense of that. The way Stockdale sees it, returning to the roots while trusting the symbiotic-like dynamics of the band just feels the right way to honour the true nature of the Wolfmother sound.
(Source: Official Band's Website)