Guitarist/songwriter Rick Wartell started the legendary Trouble in 1977 Chicago. Six studio albums and 18 years later, Trouble is largely looked at as one of the bands that gave birth to American Stoner Rock/Doom Metal. Trouble toured with The Ramones; with Pantera; and performed three times in the 90s at Einhoven, Hollands prestigious Dynamo Festival. It was an honor to be able to play that kind of music in that day and age and be recognized for it by younger bands today, says Wartell.
Wet Animal was born the year Trouble ended, 1995. The brainchild of Wartell, and West Virginian singer/guitarist Shane Pasqualla. But by 1999, Wartell and Pasqualla were family men. Family life interrupted all good rock intentions for a few years, but by 2003, Shane and Rick got that ol rocknroll itch again, and they just had to scratch it. The two started collaborating on new material. They recruited Jeff Oly Olson to play drums and Michael Vito Diprima to play bass, and went into the studio armed with massive amounts of ideas and the considerable chops to pull em all off.
The result is the exceedingly strong self-titled Wet Animal CD with 10 tracks in a compact and musically succinct 46:40. One definite highlight is Soul Alone, with the heavy grooves of Trouble updated Wet Animal-style, a great hook, soulful rock vocals, and a big big chorus, This is what I imagined when we first formed Wet Animal, Wartell explains. He produced the effort between two studios in hometown Chicago and Massachusetts. Left Behind is more mellow straightforward bravely old-fashioned classic rock in that Stairway To Heaven motif with another solid hook and a lot of emotion. The radio-ready Outside A Hole is a real gutsy rocker. We had a lot of balls to play that song in that way, Wartell says, because its only one note throughout the verses, with the accent on melody. (Hell, if 60s soulman Wilson Picketts Funky Broadway can use only one chord throughout the entire song, why not one note in a Wet Animal verse? You dont get extra points in great American soul and rock music for using more notes and chords!) You want complexity? Fade Away features guitar effects extraordinaire, not to mention overdubs that takes the listener on an upndown ride, rockin slow before it blossoms out. Stoner Rock fans, take note!
On concert stages later this year and next, Wartell and Pasqualla will utilize the talents of Richard Lee Gardner (who previously played West Virginia blues bars with Pasqualla) on bass, and drummer Marko Lira (of Illinois metal band D-connect). Response from the first few live shows in Chicago has been great. One show, in particular, with members of Metallica, Corrosion Of Conformity and Smashing Pumpkins in the star-studded audience, according to Wartell, was one of the best feelings Ive had in a long time.
Wet Animal has signed an exclusive contract with Escapi Records.
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