The Towering Hard Rocking Anthems of Wishing Well
The Towering Hard Rocking Anthems of Wishing Well
Wishing Well present towering hard rocking anthems in the grand tradition of Black Sabbath, Michael Schenker Group, and Uriah Heep. Do Or Die is the name of their latest magnum opus, jammed packed with killer tunes and dynamic musicianship – and now available worldwide via Inverse Records. Highwire Daze recently checked in with guitarist and founding member Anssi Korkiakoski to find out a more about their dynamic Do Or Die manifesto, touring with various members of Michael Schenker Fest, their upcoming shows with TANK, and other rock and rage topics. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Wishing Well, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Anssi Korkiakoski and I’m the guitar player of Wishing Well. I started the band in late 2014 with our first drummer Rick Radioactive when we started rehearsing songs for our first album Chasing Rainbows. I’d been writing and recording what would become Wishing Well material years before that, on my own in my home studio. For some reason in 2014 I then decided that I had to take this thing further and make Wishing Well a real band. I’d had some attempts earlier but they were not fruitful, or I just didn’t have the energy or time or whatever to do that, but in 2014 the time was ripe.
Where are you based out of and what is the local music scene like there?
We all live and work in Helsinki. The local music scene is OK, we have plenty of venues to play from small bars to bigger rock clubs and concert halls. Finns love music and hard rock and metal has always been very popular up here so we’re not complaining.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the Do Or Die CD title?
It’s our third album and it’s time to make things bigger and better and get more people involved in what we do. We want to keep going, doing our thing no matter what. We have invested a lot of time and energy for the band and we want to see it bear fruit. We were also looking for something more aggressive and striking, and because the title track came out pretty well we decided to use that. The problem in English language in rock is that everything has been used before and sounds like a cliché too!
Select two songs from Do Or Die and what inspired the lyrics?
Sermon On The Mount comes basically directly from the Bible. It’s about Jesus and his famous speech and teachings. Sometimes an epic song requires epic lyrical ideas and you sure do find them in the Bible! I’ve used religious themes before and will use in the future too, they are in many ways the strongest there are and will stand the test of time. Of course you must be careful not to make it too pathetic.
Cosmic Ocean is a “different” song musically, it’s not rock or metal and thus needed totally different lyrical content. I don’t want to write love songs so I tried to write my ideas of life, and that is that we’re all the same, born of stardust. There’s a collective soul and we’re all part of it, and our purpose on earth is to dig deeper, search for answers inside our minds.
Who did the cover art for Do Or Die and how much input did you have on it?
American artist Brandon Moore painted the cover art and I had absolutely no input on it, I just selected it from many great paintings I had in mind. Our budget does not support the idea of hiring Derek Riggs to work exclusively for us, but that would be very nice!
What could one expect from a live Wishing Well show?
Loud, Hammond driven ear orgasms. Bad jokes. Sing-along. Big mistakes, maybe somebody falling off the stage! We’re no show band, it’s all about the music, we try to perform that as well as we can.
What was it like touring with Doogie White and Graham Bonnet of Michael Schenker Fest fame and what were some of the highlights?
Touring with those guys was fun but business as usual; you do your thing and they do theirs and it’s hurry hurry hurry! I love touring with Graham, and my highlight every night is to see Graham perform. I love his voice and personality, he’s my man. Another thing is Joe Stump’s guitar playing. Last summer my highlight was listening him to absolutely kill Michael Schenker’s Rock You To The Ground on stage. That guy is Yngwie Malmsteen and Ritchie Blackmore and Gary Moore and Michael Schenker in one person and he’s phenomenal. He also gave me a guitar lesson, the only one I’ve ever had. I did not understand anything but it greatly inspired me!
What are you looking forward to about your upcoming shows with TANK?
Obviously the tour had to be rescheduled for 2021 but what can you do. TANK guys are all lovely fellows and very good company so we all enjoy that a lot. They are also a very good band with a bunch of great songs. Twin guitars by Cliff and Mick together with David Readman’s soulful voice make a pretty irresistible combination, and they have a good following in Finland. I missed them back in the 80s because I thought they were too punkish – now I know I was wrong!
If Wishing Well could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Very interesting question… Black Sabbath on Heaven And Hell Tour. Why? Because that’s the best band ever!
Has Wishing Well ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
Yes, in 1980, in my dreams! I’m referring to the previous question… But seriously, no we have not, but that would be cool. However, that would require a well planned cooperation with a suitable management company/booking agency plus band/bands and suitable venues. I hear that hard rock in USA is not what it used to be back in the day, and that it’s not so easy there today. But we have not made any serious efforts to reach those markets, it’s just too far away now. But nothing is impossible.
Are you currently involved with any other bands outside of Wishing Well?
I’m not but all other members of the band are! They should focus on Wishing Well!
What’s up next for Wishing Well?
Promoting the album is now the number one thing with interviews, cutting a new video, finding radio play and so on. All shows have been rescheduled for the fall or next year but of course we do not know when the crises is over and we get back to normal. Personally I try to utilize this situation by writing new material for the next album little by little.
Any final words of wisdom?
Listen to Wishing Well. Because you’re worth it.
Anssi Korkiakoski – guitar
Rafael Castillo – Vocals
Juha Kivikanto – drums
Arto Teppo – Hammond Organ
Rick Becker – bass
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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