To celebrate the start of the Wagons & Joe Pug East Coast Tour kicking off today, Timber and Steel’s KT Bell nabbed leading man Henry Wagons fresh of an international flight to ask him about the last year in the life of Wagons.
KT Bell: It’s been one hell of a year for touring for Wagons with some amazing stories from the road, a terrific album winning all kinds of praise and accolades, but tell me, has there been any quiet, out of the public eye moments this year that have helped you achieve it all and keep your head?
Henry Wagons: Having to sing Suspicious Minds and See See Rider at a family 60th birthday through a PA the size of a shoebox, only a couple of days after returning from a long US tour kept me pleasantly grounded. On top of that, the party finger food of dim sims and party pies was a refreshing change from a month of burgers and fries.
Another constant behind the scenes source joy for me is the ongoing development of my dogs Peeps and Gordon. They are always a welcome distraction from the hectic music stuff going on at the moment. Peeps continues on his path as a neurotic nerd and Gordon remains a carefree, yet kind hearted, village idiot. I love them both and miss them when I’m away.
KT: Rumble, Shake and Tumble has been really well received so far, what has been your favorite fan response to the album and are you expecting any crazy antics from fans on your upcoming tour?
HW: I always have time for audience members telling me they like the record after a show, but my favourite moments are when I hear about the record slipping into people’s everyday lives. I occasionally get people tweeting that they were enjoying the record in the car on the way to work that morning. I love the idea of being the soundtrack to someone’s day, slowly brainwashing them.
In terms of the upcoming tour, I’m hopeful of some surprises from fans. These days I seem to be getting known for having a passion for weird
foods. Someone in Tasmania gave me some blueberry, bacon and egg breakfast biscuits. They were surprisingly amazing! Some more gifts like that would be appreciated!!
KT: The last time we spoke, I was happily hijacking Rhythm Magazine’s Q&A with you at Bluesfest, what’s been the silliest interview question you’ve had since then? (or before!) I do remember reading something about Elvis wigs recently
HW: Someone recently asked me if I favoured Peeps or Gordon. The very idea I’d like one dog more than the other is outright silly and highly offensive!! (Peeps is a little better)
KT: Your East Coast tour has stellar support act choices, how did you come to line up those ducks?
HW: I first heard Joe Pug‘s name come out of Justin Townes Earle‘s mouth when I was on tour with him in Washington State. He was talking about Joe in the most glowing terms. So much so that I checked him out online and liked what I saw. Since then Joe and I met when we both played the same festival in Seattle earlier this year. He seemed like a really nice guy. Now, I can’t wait to spend some more time with the man touring together here in Oz.
Jordie Lane is also playing many of the shows. He is one of Australia’s finest songwriters at present in my opinion. I’m really glad he is on the bill too.
We actually plan to all play some songs together at the shows. There will definitely be enough songwriters in the one room to do so…we could do an amazing Kumbaya session if nothing else.
KT: You’re playing a couple of solo sets in some out of the way venues and you’re playing one of my all time favorite Sydney venues, The Vanguard. Do you have venues you believe fit Wagons more than others and what venue and what venues are you just dying to play?
HW: I’m looking forward to the Vanguard. Its a great place to both see and play music. There is something about it that is kinda spooky in a good way. If you squint, it could be taken out of a David Lynch movie.
I am not fussy when it comes to venues. I like interacting with whatever space I’m in. I’ve played the full gamut of venues, from being shoved in the corner of a room at a bar to big theatres, to the centre of a football ground. I generally love each and every one, provided there are a few faces pointed my way.
KT: Timber and Steel are excited to be co-presenting the Sydney leg of your tour, but we’d love to know where you think the folk scene is heading in the future?
HW: With the huge indie folk movement sweeping the world, folk music as a whole seems to have some very solid foundations. I think its up there with rock n roll as a kind of music that will remain powerful and present for a long time. It’s not like there is an overhanging threat that in a few weeks it’ll be back to Big Band.
KT: And finally, are there any upcoming acts you think Timber and Steel should check out?
HW: I am currently soaked in the US Americana scene having just returned from the Americana Music Awards in Nashville. I’d say I know a little more about the scene there than I do about local stuff at the minute. I loved a band called New Country Rehab from Canada. Jessica Lea Mayfield is currently exploding over there. She is great…haunting, naïve and wise at once. The Dirt Daubers are a really good time ye olde type band who killed it too. The Civil Wars are a phenomena. I hope you’ve got plenty of download space in your internet plan this month, cause if you don’t know these bands, you may have some work to do looking those guys up!