Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
WM: I’m primarily a high velocity rock artist with a current hankerin’ for heavy guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. But that may change depending on whatever creative breeze hits me. If you listen closely to what I do, you’ll hear hints of pop, folk, country, and blues. I’m an America born in the 20th century, so my musical DNA is infused with all of the influences that implies.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
WM: I’m a shameless songwriter, singer, guitarist, drummer, producer, engineer, and percussionist.
I’m a proud 7th generation American. Born in a typical small town in central Pennsylvania. I’ve been fortunate to have traveled the world, so I feel comfortable wherever I am. I now call the Philadelphia area home.
I’m a founding member of American cult rock quartet, Nitro. Not the LA glam outfit that graced the MTV airwaves in the late 80s. We came first. Dana, John, Brad, and I formed Nitro in 1980 and were part of the US’s answer to the NWOBHM, so I’ve got more than a few years of writing, recording, and gigging under my belt. When I step outside of Nitro for musical fun, I don’t have a static lineup to my band, so it depends on what/where I’m playing.
In early 2020, I signed with Philadelphia-based Electric Talon Records to release my new snarlin’, slammin’, howlin’ album “Mobocracy”.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
WM: The musical list is really long, but as a songwriter, it certainly starts with The Beatles, Dylan, Neil Young, Brian Wilson, and Queen. As a performer, it’s Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Queen, KISS, AC/DC, and Van Halen.
As a songwriter, Paul McCartney is head and shoulders above so many. Paul’s abilities, not just a writer but as a vocalist, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist are rare. The guy delivered the blistering proto-metal of “Helter Skelter”, the delicate baroque pop of “Eleanor Rigby”, and everything in between. Paul’s the complete package in rock from my perspective.
Non-musical is certainly my family and friends. They continue to shape my mind, heart, body, and spirit. I have earned degrees from a few great American universities, so traditional western academics helped focus my intellect.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
WM: Honestly, I’m not interested in conquering the world and I try to keep things simple.
I’m not trying to be cute when I say….write, record, gig for interested audiences, rinse, and repeat!
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
WM: I mostly write by myself, but a few songs on Mobocracy were written with Brandon Yeagley and Bishop of Crobot, and John Hazel of Nitro. The second single, called “Victorious”, was written with my co-producer, Lectriq.
The themes span a really broad range. But, although not deliberate, and mostly inspite of my design, they inevitably reaveal themselves to be about me in some way.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
WM: Social media is de rigueur, so I’m relying heavily on it, as well as organic word-of-mouth. So tell two people, please!
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
WM: There is a duality to it. As a music lover, I think it’s great. The possibilities and variety are endless. In an instant, you can enjoy and support any artist on the planet. Also, there is no filter. I like my art unfiltered. I want it directly from the artist, not put through some kind of thing not conceived by the creator. Most important is that any great artist can now have access to a global audience. So, all of those great artists that never had access to the biz, now don’t have to deal with any gatekeeper. If you are a great artist, and you have a little initiative, the world can marvel at your greatness without you having to sell your soul to some commercial machine that typically waters it down. I believe that, because of the internet, audiences will find great artists that would have otherwise never been discovered.
The flip side is that there is just a lot of noise to cut through. I mean predictable obviousness that’s just pedestrian mind-numbing sameness. Wading through that is painful for those trying to discover the 4 leaf clover in a football field one blade at a time.
Finally, the flip side of the flip side is that there is no income for artists from recorded music anymore, and very few; probably less than 5%; make a living by doing music only. If they do, it’s a serious slog for them. Always writing, gigging, or recording. Nobody is forcing them to do it, but we all know that streaming money is not going to the artists. Something has to change since this approach to a healthy music industry is just not sustainable.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
WM: That list is soooo long, but a few that instantly come to mind are:
Halleluja by Leonard Cohen
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
That Thing You Do by The Wonders
Bed of Nails by Ottmar Liebert
O Marie by Daniel Lanois
Norwegian Wood by John Lennon
There She Goes by The La’s
Man In The Long Black Coat by Dylan
Pocahontas by Neil Young
Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin
God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
Walk This Way by Aerosmith
Ain’t Talking About Love by Van Halen
Crazy Train by Ozzy, Rhoads, and Daisley
….I will stop myself there or I’ll go on forever.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
WM: Not much really rubs me the wrong way except rude, impatient, selfish, insensitive, narcissistic, racist, hurtful people that don’t wield power for the good of others. Anyone come to mind?
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
WM: Certainly listening to the final mastered version of Mobocracy alone in my car at full fuckin’ volume.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
WM: Although any songwriter worth their salt always has something in progress, I am finishing up a new album of farm-fresh songs for 2021 release. It’s certainly not a Mobocracy sequel. I hope it will be a pleasant surprise for any audience of mine that is open-minded, adventurous, brave, and joyfully eager to staying out of the middle of the road and ready to head for the ditch with me.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
WM: My new record, Mobocracy (and a few delicious nuggets of surprise) can be found here:
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