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Exclusive Interview: Laura Wilde
The ferocious debut – Sold My Soul – from Laura Wilde, the 22-year old hard rock import from Down Under (Melbourne, to be exact) was enough to land her on the upcoming Ted Nugent tour. Wilde is exactly that. She’s a hard-charging take-no-prisoners balls-to-the-wall rocker who wrote it all, sang it all, played lead guitar, bass guitar and drums on her powerful debut. Totally fearless, citing such influences as Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Joan Jett, and Dave Grohl, Wilde intends to knock out crowds on her leg of the upcoming tour.
“It’s truly an honor to be invited to tour the USA and I feel so privileged to be selected by such an established rocker,” exclaims Wilde. “I promise to crank it up to 11 and shake the foundations before Ted brings the house down.”
Laura Wilde, at 16, was playing bass professionally. Her bottomless capacity for guitar knowledge manifested itself at 17 during a well-timed job at an instrument store. She suffered through one year of college to please her parents (“I found the environment to be too suppressive and conservative,” she says). At 18, her amazing chops landed her in recording studios as both a bassist and a guitarist for a plethora of major names. Her looks certainly didn’t hurt as she wound up as a fixture on television (Australia’s Got Talent, as a presenter and part of the house band). Still, all she wanted to do was rock.
Now, with the release of Sold My Soul, a video of the title-track single, and a series of dates with Ted Nugent, America will get to see what Australia already knows. Laura Wilde is the real deal. She will rock your socks off.
We caught up with Laura to talk about her passion for music and all things rock n’ roll. Dedicated and fearless, she is ready to prove herself to music fans everywhere.
When do you first remember music really grabbing your attention?
I grew up on a nice diet of 90s rock music when I was a little kid. My parents put the TV on rage. (rage is an all night music video program broadcast on ABC TV on Friday and Saturday nights in Australia). We used to bop around to music on the TV screen. One of my biggest influential years was 1993. I still have a video tape that’s got all this awesome early 90s rock n’ roll. Every time I listen it just transports me back to when I was a kid rocking around the house! (laughs)
Do you remember seeing someone and thinking, “This is what I want to do”?
That very video tape has “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz. He’s standing there with his Flying V, rocking out with his band. Everyone’s jumping around and dancing and having a great time. When I saw that as a kid I was like, “Wow! I want to be this guy when I grow up!” (laughs) Now I play a Gibson Flying V as well, so you can see his deep-seated influence.
I heard that you’re not just a guitarist. You play several instruments, right?
I went to an all-girls school when I was trying to start a band. No one was really interested in putting in the hard work to make it happen. They would ditch everything if it didn’t immediately sound great. I wanted the bass line to sound like this and I wanted the drums to sound like this! (laughs) When I got into the studio nothing had really changed. I was just trying to make it sound the best I could. When you’ve got something in your mind you want it to sound a certain way. It’s frustrating when someone else comes in and puts their spin on it. I did a bunch of co-writes on this record so I wanted the instrumentation to be as close to what I wanted as possible.
That’s really a nice of way of saying that nobody is as good as you, right!? Play it my way or get the hell outta here! (laughs)
(laughs) No, no! There really wasn’t a lot of hardcore rock n’ rollers in Melbourne, Australia! I remember someone telling me that “nerdy rock” was really in at the moment and that’s what we needed to play. Really? A Stratocaster through a clean amp? That’s fine. That sound has it’s place but not in my music. I really love playing with other musicians because you learn something new from everyone. I’m not going to horde all the instruments like the Gollum of instruments – “My Precious!” (laughs)
You even have a custom model Flying W.
I got it last July. A guy in Florida heard my music and said it was great what I was doing and that someone my age was playing rock music. He said he would like to build me a custom guitar. That was amazing that someone wanted to do that after hearing my music. He made me a Flying W – the W is for Wilde. He put these blazing ’57 Gibson humbuckers in there so it’s an awesome guitar. Unfortunately I can’t play it live because the pickup selector switch is in the way every time I strum. I use it as a kill switch so every time I strum it turns the guitar off!
You had originally planned on going to college and getting a “real job.” How did that work out?
It didn’t work out! (laughs) Plain and simple! I finished school and went to college. When you finish school it’s like you’re free to be who you want to be. I was dressing in my rocker clothes – no uniform for me anymore! Even though we didn’t have a uniform in college, people were still picking on my clothes and making remarks – “Oh, are you on your way to the motor bike convention?” I told ‘em I wish I was! I was at the age where I could do this and give it my best shot. If I fail I’ll know I tried with no regrets.
What did the parents think about that decision?
When I put it that way…I said give me a year. Most musicians spend all their time drinking and partying. I promised that I was going to work really hard and make it into a career. Each year has been about baby steps. I’ve progressed and I think they’re pretty happy with the way things are going.
I know you’ve been in the States for a while now. Did you visit before you relocated?
My dad worked for a company and their head office was in New York. We got to visit America a few times and I always loved it. It’s a beautiful country. In 2009 he had some business trips and I decided I should set up some music meetings. I ended up getting a really good response over here – even better than Australia. They told me I couldn’t really go back and forth to Australia – out of sight, out of mind. They told me I would have to take the plunge and move over and that’s what I did.
Was your first move straight to Los Angeles? What did you think of it?
Yes. It was a bit of a spin out. When I got on the plane it hit me that I didn’t have a return flight. It was sink or swim – wherever I’m thrown I have to stand. It took a couple of months to settle in.
Let’s talk about the record. I hear a few different styles: rock, punk, pop. I hear influences from T. Rex to Joan Jett.
There are so many influences. It all boils down to a timeline of what I listened to as a kid: Foo Fighters, Green Day, Nirvana. Then, when I was 18 or 19, I decided to delve more into their influences: Guns N’ Roses all the way back to Elvis and Little Richard. Three genres that definitely influence me are rock, glam and punk. That’s what makes me tick.
The website, video, merchandise and your overall image seems like someone really spent a lot of time putting it together. How involved are you in that aspect of things?
I’m very, very, very involved! (laughs) People keep telling me I need to let someone else do it, but every time I let it slide just a little bit they end up screwing it up and making it out to be something it’s not. It’s me so I should be involved as much as I can.
I see a theme here! That’s why you play all the instruments! Nobody else is good enough! (laughs)
(laughs) This is the initial setup of who I am. I should keep it as much “me” as possible. Eventually, when people get to know me better, I can let things go because they know what I do.
Laura, I appreciate you taking time out for this! What would you like to say to everybody to wrap things up?
Hard work and perseverance will set you up to get where you want to go. Be yourself and have fun. Be happy – that’s the way to live life!
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