Opening for Clapton Makes the Wallflowers Glad All Over
When listeners first heard the hypnotic, disco-inflected "Reboot the Mission," the first single off the Wallflowers' recent Glad All Over CD, they could probably be forgiven for the momentary shock. But upon closer listen, the song's roots were more firmly planted in Clash numbers like "The Magnificent Seven" and "This Is Radio Clash" than dance-club music. Not surprising, since Clash singer/guitarist Mick Jones guests on it.
James Minchin The Wallflowers in 2013: Jakob Dylan, Greg Richling, Jack Irons, Stuart Mathis, and Rami Jaffee
"That track started at my dining room table at home when I was fooling around and thought, 'Can I hinge an entire song around a bass line?' Something like 'With or Without You' by U2 where it's hypnotic and unchanging," says bassist Greg Richling just days prior to the start of a national tour where the band will open for Eric Clapton.
"And it was a bit of a planned homage to the Clash. So Jakob [Dylan, singer/guitarist] just said, 'Let's get Mick on it' and saw him at a Big Audio Dynamite show. Six months later, he agreed to do it, and we exchanged files. Though I wish we had been in the same room and recorded it."
Released last year, Glad All Over is the band's first new studio release after a seven-year hiatus that saw the Wallflowers tour a bit but allowed Dylan to release solo CDs and Richling to produce and form another group.
The bassist said that the break was needed and ultimately enriched the relationship between co-founder Dylan (who formed the group in 1989), original member Rami Jaffee (keyboards) and Richling himself, who joined in 1993. The rest of the current lineup includes drummer Jack Irons and guitarist Stuart Mathis.
"I've known Jakob for 28 years and Rami for 20 years, and what we noticed after coming back was the huge chemistry between the three of us, though we did wonder what it would be like," he says. "But things went smoothly and quickly in the studio."
And while the band's usual songwriting approach involves Dylan showing up with lyrics and basic chords, for Glad All Over, he just had the words. So the music was a truly collaborative effort among the entire band, much of it coming out of informal jams.
A lot has changed in the music industry, rock radio, and how people receive and listen to music since the Wallflowers' last record, and even more so than when they had big radio hits with "One Headlight," "6th Avenue Heartache," "Three Marlenas" and "The Distance" from their hugely successful 1996 release Bringing Down the Horse.
But Richling says --despite the fact that the Wallflowers have their own app now -- they won't be changing what they do much to suit technology or changing tastes.