Craig Wedren: Are We

Craig Wedren has long been a favorite of mine, both solo and in his game-changer band Shudder to Think, for always pushing his songwriting in new directions, and now he’s taking the same adventurous spirit into video. Wedren will be releasing a new album that will also have a companion interactive film, both titled Wand, in May. You can check out the 360-degree interactive video for the first single, “Are We”, at the link below.

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Craig Wedren/Greg Dulli at the Grog Shop in Cleveland, OH, 10.16.10

Craig Wedren

Given my long-standing love for Greg Dulli (generally referred to in my world by his proper name: Greg fucking Dulli), it was a given that I would jump on tickets to this special acoustic show, Dulli’s first solo tour. When it was announced that Craig Wedren of Shudder to Think would be opening, my eyes nearly rolled back in my head. In the later 1990s, before bands began breaking up and band members died, my holy triumvirate of music was topped by the Afghan Whigs with Morphine and Shudder to Think anchoring the other corners. I was fortunate enough to see each of these bands play before tides turned, and I cherish the memory of those shows. To be able to check in with the frontmen of two of those bands in one night was a special treat.

Wedren looked exactly as I remembered seeing him back in 1997 when Shudder to Think toured in support of 50,000 B.C.: fresh, lean and handsome with a spectacular smile and a sparkle in his eye. Mixing his solo … Continue reading

Game Changer: Shudder to Think

It seems every music fanatic has at least one: a game changer. A band or album that slapped them upside the head, jarred them from complacency, shocked them into a different way of hearing or a different way of thinking. We’ve read the stories, about how, either through words that spoke to them in a way no one had spoken to them before or through an arrangement of sounds that were nothing like they had ever heard before, their internal worlds were forever changed.

My biggest game changer to date has been Shudder to Think. In 1994, I was heavily into Jeff Buckley and made a point of listening to the artists he covered and the artists he noted as favorites. Jeff had good, eclectic taste, and one of his well-documented favorites was Shudder to Think. S2T’s fifth studio album, Pony Express Record, was newly-released, and their video for “X-French Tee Shirt” was getting some play on MTV. It sounded weird to me. It was jagged and aggressive with frequent time changes and unconventional melodies. I had no idea what to make of it. I couldn’t even determine … Continue reading

Ponderous Wank: Connection

There is an alchemy that occurs when music is made. There is no formula, though. You cannot, for instance, take man + guitar + harmonica and get Bob Dylan every time. You cannot take sweeping samples + beats that feel like they grew up from the ground and into your soul + rhymes about Shaolin Kung Fu and get the Wu-Tang Clan every time. Even if you could come close to recreating that kind of magic in music, there is still the unpredictable variable of the listener. I love A.A. Bondy, but I don’t love every “folk” singer-songwriter with a guitar. I can barely come up with a handful of artists who could fit that category that I much care for. (And I have a hard time thinking of Bondy as a folk singer at all due to the loaded concept that term has come to engender over the years.)

The thing about music is that it is not a science. It’s human, living, changing thing. The musician brings her background, her emotions, her voice, skill, style, attitude, etc. The listener brings his experience, preferences, mood that day, memories, etc. Sometimes it all manages to fall into place and the … Continue reading