Call of the Wild
By John Bergano
In less than two years, Los Angeles quintet The Lonely Wild have put out an EP, executed a national tour and are independently releasing their first full-length album, The Sun as it Comes, this summer. With so much momentum building for the self-described “folk rock band with a Western cinematic vibe,” it’s no wonder drummer Edward Cercedes muses—when asked what the one thing is fans probably don’t know about them—that “we’re good in bed.”
Band mates Andrew Carroll, Ryan Ross and Andrew Schneider met while attending Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Jessi Williams, who was singing with another local band, was persuaded to team with the aforementioned boys. Then Cercedes answered a Craigslist ad, and went on to drum himself in. The group clicked and soon developed lofty aspirations. Recalling how The Lonely Wild was born, Carroll said, “Down to the wire, I threw the name out there and it fit the tone.” Needless to say, the name stuck
Inspired by the likes of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Talking Heads and Johnny Cash, the group experiments with mash-ups such as Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” and Pink Floyd’s “Money.” They cover such songs as “Highwayman” by The Highwaymen and “Dancing in the Dark” by The Boss. Carroll believes the band’s strength is in its strong songwriting abilities. “We’re not a jam band,” the principal songwriter says, adding that the group’s vocal harmony produces a vivid mood for each piece.
“Right Side of the Road” is a song that conjures up dusty visuals of a tiresome trek West, with the band’s noteworthy male-female vocals acting as the driving emotional force in its music. The duel vocalists’ spot-on harmony is especially noteworthy on a track titled “Dead End,” which is a slow-paced serenade highlighting Williams’ country-sweet voice and Carroll’s rugged Western crooning.
The Lonely Wild gained steam and a following—despite nearly losing their percussionist—on a self-promoted tour that took them to New York City. Amidst a night of debauchery and discovering The Big Apple’s under-the-radar watering holes and speakeasies, “[Cercedes] wandered six miles to Central Park,” recalls Carroll, “until the cops kicked him out.” Miraculously, he found his way back to the hotel and the tour continued with its drummer unscathed.
The Lonely Wild’s ability to produce thoughtful music, all the while not taking itself too seriously, helps it achieve a mature sound that strikes a chord with the masses. Part country, part rock n’ roll, part Spaghetti-Western soundtrack, The Lonely Wild is as infinitively creative as each of its members are disciplined musicians. With lyrics that explore social dilemma and economic strife, traditional American ideals are not lost or forgotten. The band’s messages are carried out via radio-friendly tunes fit for road trips and barbecues. In a sense, The Lonely Wild is about discovery.
A truly independent band, with a self-fulfilling spirit and passion for making music, the band mates hold down day jobs as they fund their work, which they’re generous enough to give away for free on their website. CDs, vinyl and T-shirts can be had . . . for a small price. After all, the band would like to make a profit somewhere.
Earlier this month The Lonely Wild was headed to SXSW on a schedule that included five shows. Now it returns to Southern California and gears up for Pappy and Harriet’s, an eclectic Western bar that Carroll believes “will play well for our sound.” The event has been dubbed “Camping in the Desert” by the band.
After all, nothing seems as honest, simple and enjoyable as sitting around an open fire singing about Westward Expansion-type themes while drinking a brew. Thank you, The Lonely Wild, for instilling old school American ideals.
The Lonely Wild at Pappy and Harriet’s, 53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown, (760) 365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com. Sat., March 31. 8pm.