Webb Wilder Biography
Webb and Landslide Records have combined to re-release an updated--and long out of print—version of the Webb Wilder And The Beatnecks classic, It Came From Nashville, now subtitled The Deluxe Full Grown Edition, on September 21. The digitally remastered and repackaged reissue includes all of the sizzling material from the original vinyl and cd editions, plus six previously unreleased live tracks, plus some distinctive live patter, from the same period. Of special note on the bonus tracks are Wilder’s versions of Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Steppin’ Out,” Little Jimmy Dickens’ “Hole In My Pocket,” the LeRoi Brothers’ “Pretty Little Lights of Town” and the recording debut of “Webb’s Theme,” which made its premiere in Webb Wilder, Private Eye: The Saucers Reign, the 1986 short film which helped spawn the Webb Wilder phenomenon.
All tracks on It Came From Nashville (The Deluxe Full Grown Edition) feature the original band: Webb Wilder on lead vocals and guitar, Donny Roberts (a.k.a. “The Twangler”) on lead guitar, Denny “Cletus Wollensak” Blakely on bass and Jimmy Lester on drums (who now as Les James handles the drum kit for Los Straitjackets). Produced by R. S. Field, the CD includes a number of original songs composed by Field, as well as distinctive covers of Steve Earle’s “The Devil’s Right Hand,” Roy Orbison’s “Move On Down the Line,” and Steve Forbert’s “Samson and Delilah’s Beauty Shop.”
And fans should be delighted that Webb and Field will soon be at it again. Plans are in the works for an all new Webb Wilder album—as rootsy and rockin’ as ever—to be recorded in the fall and released by Landslide Records in early 2005.
Hailing from Hattiesburg, MS, Webb Wilder, along with his boyhood friend R.S. Field, absorbed the blues and country sounds prominent in the south of the 1960’s. With influences from the British Invasion stirred in, the two forged a sound that resulted in a unique mix of pure rock ‘n’ roll. From the beginning, Wilder and his band, now known as the Nashvegans, have played intelligent, clever rock music. Their five highly praised albums, It Came From Nashville, Hybrid Vigor, DooDad, Town & Country, and Acres Of Suede, conjure up a sound that defies comparison to other contemporary rock ‘n’ roll bands. In concert, Wilder thickens this gumbo with a strong dash of hillbilly wit and character, offering mediations, incantations, and codes to live by between songs.
Webb Wilder is also an actor who appeared in director Peter Bogdonavich’s The Thing Called Love, in the acclaimed underground classics Horror Hayride and the aforementioned Private Eye (collected in the video compilation, Webb Wilder’s Corn Flicks), and in director Danny Boyd’s cult favorite, Paradise Park. He’s a “multi-media threat,” as the Philadelphia Inquirer put it, and a guy who proves that “being off center can be very much on center.”
Music critics have always warmed up to the Webb Wilder juggernaut. The Associated Press described the band’s music and stage performance as “a gloriously amalgamation of grunge chords, killer grooves, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins theatrics, a healthy sense of humor, and great pop melodies.” The band is “part Georgia Satellites, part Dave Edmonds, part Elvis Costello and altogether wonderful,” beamed BILLBOARD. It’s “full of wit and personality, and devoid of technological or conceptual gimmickry,” added the HOUSTON POST.
To movie critics Webb Wilder the actor is “Fess Parker on thorazine,” a “saturnine hybrid of James Brown and Jack Webb, whose cavernous deadpan intonations and crack timing make Corn Flicks a must.” Of Corn Flicks, the CHICAGO TRIBUNE said “it’s Twin Peaks with MTV thrown in the middle,” while the LOS ANGELES TIMES described it as a fertile field of free-form word play that reflects a literary underpinning.:”
But no one describes Webb quite as well as the man himself. He claims to be “the last of the full-grown men” and “the last of the boarding house people…a four eyed guy who doesn’t smile a lot, but who doesn’t frown much either…an outsider who feels as thought he’s on the wrong side of the tracks no matter where he’s at, and a guy who knows every thrift shop and plate lunch joint in town.” As for his band Webb says, “we play both kinds of music, Rock and Roll.”
Webb Wilder is also a man with a credo: “Work hard, rock hard, sleep hard, eat hard, grow big, wear glasses if you need ‘em.”
What pulsates from the speakers is only part of the Webb Wilder experience. “We don’t just give people music,” he says. “We give them some humor and entertainment. I’ve always liked that pre-rock time when everybody had to be a song and dance man. They all had to tell jokes and sing and do something else too. What I want to do is sing, play and entertain in a package that is noteworthy and special and sort of my own thing.
With five cool albums, including the revitalized It Came From Nashville, and the world tuning in on XM Satellite Radio, Webb Wilder continues to blaze a rock ‘n’ roll trail across the country. Stay tuned…there’s plenty more to come.