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Fish, chips and rock n roll - Wilson's review of the UK


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The last time we spoke with Wilson, they were getting themselves ready for their first headline tour of the UK.

After three weeks in Blighty how do Detroit’s hard-rock, party boys find our quaint, little island?

Wilson’s fortnight-long trip across our green and pleasant land was one fuelled by booze, partying and fuckery.

Sat outside the Joiners in Southampton the band’s slightly hungover lead singer, Chad Nicefield, and lead guitarist, Jason Spencer, gave us their official review of our nation.

Our rock n’ roll fans, our bars, our booze, our food, our taps, our roundabouts… Nothing was safe. They even get the chance to vent about their “overly obsessed fan” Rex Ruffkin (who looks suspiciously similar to lead singer Chad in almost every way): 

How’s this visit to the UK been?

Chad: “The past two weeks of our lives have been the highlight of my thirty-three years of existence.”

Jason: “And the jetlag is still there. Still very much there.”

Chad: “Every city has left a lasting impression on us, and it’s been really cool.”

Are the UK fans just as crazy as the fans in the US?

Jason: “Just as crazy if not more.”

Chad: “We’ve had our expectations blown wide open. We came here with very little idea. We never thought there’d be anybody that bought a ticket to see us. We didn’t know what we were gonna be walking into. The past few weeks have been quite the explosion in our minds.”

Have you met any fans on the street or outside of the shows? Apart from Rex Ruffkin.

Jason: “There was one guy, he got to a venue at one o’clock. Which was two hours before we are even supposed to be there. It was freezing, and apparently he thought he could get into the venue early. That didn’t happen. He waited until the doors opened.”

Chad: “That was our first show. So our first experience of the UK was arriving to a person that was there, waiting super early to get in!”

And we’ve already seen Rex Ruffkin in your shower in Newcastle. Did you bump into him anywhere else?

Chad: “He’s been following us around. Every day, we see a little bit of him. We try to keep him out of our dressing rooms and stuff like that. If he’s in the crowd, he’s in the crowd. Sometimes he talks to us, but we typically don’t let him into our environments, he’s an asshole. Drinks all the beer, takes all the showers, uses all the towels…”

Jason: “He’s pretty much ten hours behind all of us. He could be looking at us right now!” 

Do you have a favourite show from the tour?

Chad: “I’m gonna go with a tie between Glasgow and London. They were unforgettable shows. Plus, encores are weird. You don’t know if you’re gonna do them or not. You don’t know whether people really want you to do them. Seeing as we haven’t done the headlining thing before here and we don’t know when we’re coming back, we tried it out. And we were greeted on-stage not just to people chanting ‘Wilson’, ‘One more song’ or something like that, but to them chanting ‘Detroit, Michigan’. We were like ‘What the fuck is going on?!’. I’ll never forget that, ever. It was the most surreal moment I can remember.”

Do you have a favourite city, outside of the shows?

Jason: “When you pull into a venue, you only see a lot of shops and stuff like that.”

Chad: “And I know this is going to seem like it’s just everybody’s favourite, but because we haven’t done it, I’m going to say London. Where we played last night, the Barfly, it was right across the street from the Roundhouse, which we played opening up for Halestorm. And it was right down the road from the markets, and you get to experience a little bit of culture around the venue – because your entire experience is based upon where the venue is in these cities.”

Jason: “I was trying to think of the driving. I wanna say Glasgow, just because of the drive up there and the hills. That’s awesome. We don’t get that back home very much. The US mid-west in general is pretty flat.”

What’s the funniest/most memorable moment of the tour?

Jason: “Most of the funny moments are kinda blurry…”

Chad: “Our band, typically, doesn’t get very many days off. When we had a day off on this tour, we usually spent those driving. But we spent one day in Froggatt in Derbyshire, and we got to go to Sherwood Forest. And that is something you don’t ever think you’re going to see. So we got to experience that, the city, we took pictures. It was just an amazing day.”

Did you encounter the notorious weather that Brits always complain about?

Chad: “We are from Detroit, Michigan. And we encounter a lot of the same weather patterns, like one day it’s going to be rainy and shitty and the next day is kinda sunny. It’s been dreary the entire time we’ve been here. The only thing that I will say about the crap weather is the venues don’t use heat. Being cold all the time sucks ass! So when you get into a venue and you’re like ‘I’ll go into the green room for a second to warm up’ and the heat’s not on, that’s a little bit of a bummer! But other than that, we’re used to the sporadic weather patterns. It’s actually warmer here than it is back home right now!”

Jason: “But, it’s really wet here. My feet have been wet the whole tour! I’m constantly having to dry my shoes and socks!”

How are you finding the English bars?

Chad: “You guys have rock n’ roll bars! Where you go and dance to actual rock music. That fucking rules! It’s funny here because people will tell you how to get to places by using pubs as directional landmarks: ‘You go up to the pub and take a right!’, and I’m like ‘Did you just tell me to go to a bar?!’. Our favourite was the Cathouse, in Glasgow.”

And how are our beers compared to the US?

Chad: “It’s funny because in the US, we have a lot of breweries that we are really proud of. And here it’s the same. But we’ve unfortunately had to be drinking Carlsberg or something like that. They put that shit in our dressing rooms, so when we go to the bars, we’ve had so much beer that we’re just drinking liquor. We’re like ‘I don’t want any more fucking beer!’, because we haven’t been able to get any of the local brewery beers to try them. Probably my only complaint about the tour is we haven’t got to try any of the brewery beers. They always give us Jack Daniels.”

So did you get the chance to have any Lemmy’s, any Jack Daniels and Coke?

Chad: “Yeah I had a shit-tonne of them last night and I’m feeling it so hard right now. I wanna blow out a fucking toilet as soon as I can! And that’s the official name now too, that’s fucking awesome!”

How annoying are the roads: roadworks, roundabouts, etc.?

Chad: “The city driving in this country is really tough for us, because it’s all really small, and we have a long vehicle. Yesterday a scaffolding truck took off our wing mirror. We’ve hit a couple things: tight corners, curbs, stuff like that. London’s probably the worst for driving.”

Jason: “But in terms of getting from city-to-city, your highways are great. Roundabouts are awesome, especially when there’s nobody in them.”

Chad: “He likes them, I fucking think they’re stupid. Particularly because I’m like ‘Just let me turn fucking right! Why do I have to go all the way around this fucking thing?!’. I don’t get it! It’s fucking weird as shit. But the weirdest part of this whole entire tour is getting acclimated to being not only on the other side of the road, but the other side of the vehicle.”

How are you finding the English food?

Chad: “We’ve been rocking fish and chips and English brekkies. Our good friend Maggie, she’s been cooking us proper English dinner. We’ve been having oven-baked chicken and roast beef dinners.”

Jason: “But one time, we got back to her house too late, she was gonna make a stir fry. But it was like two in the morning, so we all lined up like lions and she just cut the meat. That was a sight!”

Was there anything about the UK that surprised you?

Chad: “The crowds. Every night has been really cool. I get in my head a lot before a show, especially when we’re headlining. You feed off the energy, and our band gets a lot of reviews about being a high-energy, rock n’ roll live band. We pride ourselves on that, because that’s our entire existence. I worry when I’m going out on-stage if there’s gonna be anybody there. If there’s one person there, I’m going to play like there’s a thousand people there. Every night I’ve been surprised to see people in the crowd. Whether it’s fifty or a hundred or whatever it is, they are there. They’re willingly giving their all, the same as we are. It’s awesome!”

And in the UK, are our teeth actually as bad as they say they are?

Chad: “Ha! We were just talking about that the other day! I was surprised, there’s some great dentistry going on here. I thought you were all just going to be mangled.”

Jason: “Plus there’s a lot of meth-mouth in the US now.”

Chas: “But it was funny because the first night we stayed in the UK, the news was on and it was an up-close shot of this older guy, and he had some pretty rad teeth going on. So it was kinda like ‘Maybe the rumours are true!’.”

What would your final rating of the UK be, out of ten?

Chad: “Eleven! Kick it up one more notch!”

Jason: “Nine point nine. The toilets over here use a lot more water than they need to use. And I was gonna say as well, what’s the deal with the hot and cold water? You have to wash your hands in the hot, burn yourself, then bring them over to the cold? What is the reason for that?! No-one knows!”

Who would you recommend the UK to?

Chad: “I’ll go with Against the Grain.”

Jason: “Red Stone Souls. People love rock n’ roll here, and they’re a great rock band!”

Chad: “If you like Black Stone Cherry, you’ll love Red Stone Souls. And if you like Motörhead, you’ll love Against the Grain.”

Check out our first interview with Wilson here.

Read our review of Wilson’s show at the Joiners with Reigning Days, Lonely Dakota and Arid Wave here.

Wilson’s latest album, Right to Rise, is available physically and digitally now via Razor & Tie Records.

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