Name: The Wiggins
Origin: Houston, Texas, US
Genre: Garage-rock, Pop
from The Greatest Apes EP (Girlgang Records & Tapes, 2005)
from Feed The Ghost 7" (Dull Knife, 2008)
from The Wiggins 7" (Needless Recs, 2009)
[A lovely Q&A with Jon Read aka The Wiggins after the jump]
1. How would you describe your sound in a few words?
A pop song being played too loud on a tape player w/ a dying motor. Someone once called it “a home brewed opium”, or "prozac", I dont remember.
2. Name 3 bands without whom you wouldn't exist.
Jeez.. It’s really hard to narrow it down to just 3 bands.
Theirs a lot of stuff that people assume that I was influenced by that I only became aware of recently. Suicide is an example. Don’t get me wrong, I fucking love Suicide, but I was already deep in the Wiggins universe before I’ve ever knew of their existence. Same goes for The Country Teaser, Big Black, and more recently to the Crocodiles.
Also a lot of the artist I’m really inspired by, that I simply lack the talent to sound anything like. Most of these artists include legends like Johnny Cash, Desmond Decker, Patsy Kline, and Otis Redding and Bands such as The Breeders, The Doors, Nirvana and The Modern Lovers/Velvet Underground. And so on, and so on. But the bands that really MADE me want to make music..(drum roll)..are…
#1: Nukey Pikes: In the early 90’s one of my best friends worked at an underground record store. He (Coleman) was into ALL kinds of different FUCKED UP music. Most of it was too weird or heavy or arty for my teenage mind to wrap around, but ever now and then something would perk up my ears, like the Nukey Pikes.
Nukey Pikes were mostly a an experimental noise thrash band, but in the middle if the chaos they wrote these perfect little weird pop numbers. The lyrics were in broken English thrown over the music in a passionate alien bark. I fell in love by the end of the 7”. It was such sweet raw stuff. They knew exactly how I felt, the loneliness, the angst, the comedy of life, it was all on this obscure little record made by people I’ll never meet on the other side of the world.
#2: Sock Eye: Meanwhile, back on my side of the world, in Ohio, we had bands like Sock Eye.
I think I only got to see them twice and never owned any of their recordings. I think they had a tape out, which was later put on vinyl after they broke up (1993?). Either way, I can’t imagine it’s a 10th as awesome as the groups live shows.
The first time I saw Sock Eye was at an Anal Cunt show in Akron. The venue was just a stairwell in an abandoned tire factory. Anal Cunt never showed up, but a bunch of arty punk bands played anyway, then Sock Eye ended up as the default headliner. The 4 or 5 piece band played w/ 200% unholy ghost power to a crowd of 11 or 12 souls and whipped us into frenzy. They got louder, drunker, and looser after each song. It just got better and better. The lead singer (known as Dave Sockeye), dance and shacked around stage (or rather the bottom of the stairwell), as he spit inaudible lyrics into the radioshack microphone. It was punk, I guess, but perhaps from being isolated in northeast OH, Sock Eye really made the genre there own, and it was ugly, raw, and badass.
#3: Ichluga: I may be breaking the rules w/ this band, because I was in it, but I can honestly say that The Wiggins would not exist without Ichluga.
In the late 90’s I was in a band it Kent, OH called All American Kids Club, it was basically a Velvet Underground take of pop-punk (fronted by Tex Kerschen, now the lead singer of the legendary Indian Jewelry!). We played for years and the band performed all over the area. We never could produce any good recording, so we just sold tapes we recorded off a boom box. After doing this for years (2 or 3), we all got bored and started hating each other. The band eventually split it to two more arty bands. Ho Tu and Ichluga. We ended up playing shows together all the time.
Ichluga was made up me, Matt Zoll (bass player), and fronted/lead by Matt Clement(check out his band Kong Sauce), who was the last of many drummers in All American Kids Club. What made Ichluga interesting was that it was a “rock” band that used a drum machine.
We didn’t know what we were doing, but we just did it. Some people said we reminded them of Devo, but that was just a lazy comparison. Ichluga wasn’t cute or bright (w/ the exception of one or two songs). And none of us were huge Devo fans (not that we didn’t like them). Ichluga were heavy and mid tempo, dark (but not goth) and very danceable.
I remember once, after this house party show, this girl came up to me and asked, “What kind of music IS that? What do you call the style?” I don’t remember how I answered the question, but remember thinking how cool it was that Ichluga had no obvious genre. We were simply making music we loved.
But the short reason I choose Ichluga is this band made me see the drum machine as a “real” instrument, and as limitless as any.
3. If you'd have the chance to work with any film director, who would that be?
4. Tell us a bit about the making of these songs.
Sometimes I program a beat and bass lines, and then come up w/ the rest. Other time I do the polar opposite: write a song on the guitar, then program it or just leave it at that.
Lyrically, I sometimes write about girls I love, difficult experiences, depression or boredom. But most Wiggins songs about geeky shit. Songs about: zombies, angels, robots, god(s), wild animals, or the end of the world.
5. Do you still buy CDs/vinyl/ tape?
Vinyl and cassettes. But I mostly listen to the radio.