The NAMM Show 2018 Interviews: Wayland
Making their way to this year’s edition of The NAMM Show at The Anaheim Convention Center was Wayland, checking out the new gear and playing a special performance at the Heritage Guitars booth. With a recent album entitled Rinse & Repeat, new music in the works including a single co-written by Shinedown, and massive amounts of touring ahead, expect to hear a whole lot more from this Michigan-based collective in 2018 and well beyond.
Highwire Daze Online caught up with three of the members of Wayland at The NAMM Show to discuss musical instruments, working with Keifer Sutherland when they were on his Ironworks Record label, being managed by the one and only Jesse James Dupree of Jackyl and a whole lot more! Read on.,.,.
Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Wayland.
Mitch: My name is Mitch Arnold and I am the lead singer and rhythm guitar player for the band.
Nigel: My name is Nigel Dupree and I am the drummer.
Dean: My name is Dean Pizzazz – I am the bass player and I sing the harmonies – and I like to consider myself the Resident Badass.
Since we are at the NAMM Show, let’s discuss musical instruments. What is your weapon of choice and why?
Mitch: One of my favorite guitars that I use is a Fender Telecaster. That’s kind of my workhorse guitar. Other than that, we also play Heritage Guitars which is based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. They make some really good guitars there as well.
Nigel: I’ve currently been playing a Chris Richards Jr custom kit but I’m also a fan of the Ludwig and I also play Sabian cymbals.
Dean: I’m a fan of the Fender Precision basses. That’s what I play – I have two of them and they’re great. They sound great – they have a nice weight – good tone – they attack really mean. They’ve always been great – they’ll continue to be – and that’s why I use them.
Is there any overall story behind your current album title Rinse & Repeat?
Mitch: Actually Nigel came up with the idea. We were kicking around a lot of different names of the record and Nigel actually came out and said “I think it should be Rinse & Repeat.”
Nigel: I think it’s just a reflection of a few different things. You can apply it to life – you can apply it to music. No matter what phase you’re going through or what you’re into, you’re constantly in inner reflection or perfecting…
Mitch: Or sexual intercourse…
Nigel: …any of the sort.
Select two songs from Rinse & Repeat and what inspired the lyrics.
Mitch: I think just the way we live our life. Rinse & Repeat is just a direct reflection on what we’ve been through in the last few years on the road. There’s songs written on the road – some of them are about being on the road – some of them are about being away from your family – some of them are about that inner self-reflection like Nigel was taking about. But all the lyrics came from very real places and very real situations for us.
Who produced the album and what was it like working with them?
Mitch: Justin Rimer at Crosstrax Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. And he helped co-write some of the songs and it was a wonderful experience. And it was a great way to make a record for sure!
Nigel: And the latest single coming up has some co-writes as well with some of the guys from Shinedown. The song’s called The Ghost and that will be coming out in the next month or so.
What was it like working with the guys in Shinedown?
Mitch: We’ve been really good friends with Zach Myers the guitar player for a very long time. We did end up writing with Brent Smith via email actually – I’ve never met him personally. I’ve been in the room with him several times, but we’ve just never met. They’re great guys! I’m not super close with all of them, but Zach has been a really good friend to us for a long time.
In the wonderful world of the Internet, you can write songs with people you have never met before…
Mitch: Absolutely! Personally I feel better with writing a song with the person in the same room, but you gotta do what you gotta do man.
What has it been like working with Jesse James Dupree?
Dean: Working with Jesse it’s cool. I’m sure Nigel would have a different answer than this. But he’s more of a big brother and coach than he is a tough mean manager – which he can be – don’t get me wrong. And he’s really inspiring. I’ve noticed that when a band needs to make a business decision, he’s not really pushing his ideas on it but letting us think for ourselves. He’s just is great teacher is the way I would say is working with Jesse.
Mitch: Jesse’s been with us for a long time. He’s one of the truest, bluest guys in the industry and he’s never wavered with his stance with us. In an industry that is full of flakes and people that don’t follow through, he is one of the only people I know that is a man of his word and continues to be through the years. It’s always a joy to work with him. He can be a pain in the ass, but we love him man.
Nigel: I definitely see him as a fatherly figure. He’s been there for me my whole life, mainly because he is my dad. But it’s amazing – he keeps the line with being a dad and being a manager – he doesn’t crisscross it. If my opinion isn’t jibing with the team, he lets me know, and it’s a very balanced, healthy thing. It’s very cool – it’s a very nice, easy dynamic at the end of the day.
When you first approached your dad and said “Hey, I want to be in a band,” what was his first reaction to that?
Nigel: My dad’s always supported me being into music. Before I was in Wayland, he was representing them and I was doing several different musical things myself. So when it came time for the opening up in Wayland, I jumped on drums. It worked for everyone. We were basically living in the same world as it was. Now it’s just whole one band.
Dean: I don’t think we even ran it by your dad when you joined the band. I think you just decided to do it. “Hey, I’m in Wayland now!”
Nigel: It was a natural evolution.
Mitch: If I remember correctly, whenever Phil (Vilenski – Wayland lead guitarist) called Jesse about the situation –our drummer was leaving and we needed to find somebody else – the first thing that Jesse said was “Well, Nigel is a mother fucker!” That’s what he said. So I think he was already thinking that way. We just got lucky. Nigel jumped right on in immediately – which was awesome – literally and figuratively.
What was it like working with Kiefer Sutherland?
Nigel: Kiefer’s a great guy! He will literally give you the shirt off of his back. And you don’t find those humble qualities in too many people of his status. And his love for music is beyond that of many musicians even. From his extensive guitar collection to who he goes to see in concert. I follow him on Instagram and he’ll be like at Aerosmith one night and then Matchbox 20 the next. It’s cool, because he’s a true music lover. Him and his father Donald Sutherland – they bonded over music as well. During my time around him, he told stories of that. It’s just cool for someone of that status to be all about music and also just be grounded. Very good guy!
What could one expect from a live Wayland show?
Mitch: It’s a bad ass rock and roll show with a lot of heart – a lot of energy – a lot of intensity. You’re gonna forget about your concerns – you’re gonna forget about your worries. I think that’s what a great band is supposed to do – to take you away for a little bit and set you back down.
Nigel: It’s a night of a musical journey. If we’re headlining, we definitely get to spread our wings and show off all of the different dynamic styles that are written into the band. In the nights that we open, we always like to tailor the set to the mood of the night, because Wayland has that catalog! We can go in and depending in what needs to go down – whether it’s acoustic or we go in with full stacks and drums risers – we have the catalog to build the set that caters to the night.
Dean: I think another thing that I can say about the live show is that you’re going to get a real honest performance from four guys that love to play their music together. We don’t play to tracks. We don’t really try to prepare any choreography in our show. It’s just us being in a band and playing music and giving an honest performance. You’ll get a real honest, wonderful performance.
What’s up next for Wayland?
Mitch: We are going to be touring all throughout 2018. We have a tour coming up with our friends in Otherwise – they’re a band from Las Vegas. We’ve got some really great shows on deck – one of them down in Florida – we’ll be playing with our friends in Blackberry Smoke – that’s going to be an incredible show. Other than that, we’re going to be putting out new music this year and writing more new music – and just touring our asses off.
Nigel: We’ll be out at Rocklahoma this year as well. And we’re also doing Rockfest up in Cadott. So we’re hitting some of the big festivals as well.
And the very last word?
Dean: I’m going to go with Utopia.
Mitch: I’m going to go with coffee, because I’m going to totally get some coffee over there.
Nigel: Rock and roll!
Mitch Arnold – Lead vocals/guitar
Phillip Vilenski – Lead guitar/vocals
Dean Pizzazz – Bass/vocals
Nigel Dupree – Drums/vocals
(Interview and NAMM photo by Ken Morton)