I’ve been a fan of Wayne Everett for many years now. I couldn’t just limit myself to just 12 questions, therefore, a super-extended interview with Wayne is here for your enjoyment. the release of this interview coincides with the kind-of-launch of somewherecold’s sister site, *PoP*. The site covers independent pop music.
Give us a little idea of who you are and what you do?
My name’s Wayne Everett, and I write and record songs. Tonight I’m playing drums for a goth band, though.
When did you first get involved in playing music, and in what capacity were you involved?
When I was 14 or 15 I wanted to play guitar, but it looked really hard with six strings and everything. So I started playing ukulele. It only has four strings, so it was easier. Then I got frustrated because I couldn’t play my favorite songs on it, so I switched to drums.
How did the Prayer Chain form?
The other guys had started the band and written some songs. I happened to see them play at a show, and they said they were looking for a permanent drummer. So I went up and said, “Hi. I play drums!” After an audition, they said, “The kid’s alright! He’s in!”
The Prayer Chain created some incredible music. Tell us about your involvement in recording and writing for Mercury, the group’s masterpiece.
Thank you for the compliment! My memory is fuzzy, but from what I remember, we wanted to challenge ourselves and hopefully make something sonically unique. We were influenced by indigenous music, particularly African and Middle Eastern music, and we hoped to fuse that with Western rock & roll.
When we sat down to write the music, we did it semi-acoustically, and I brought a number of basic rhythms to try as a foundation for the music. Some songs started from the percussion or drum patterns, and some began from a bass or guitar line or chord progression. But it was very fluid and almost conversational, in the sense that as one person contributed something, it drove someone else to do something related to it. Ultimately it was very difficult to complete, but the original writing sessions were very exciting and scary. For us, we were going somewhere we’d never been. Maybe it was a one-way ticket…
How did your experience in the Prayer Chain affect your thoughts on music?
It basically reinvented them. At first, it exposed me to new music, stuff like the Stone Roses and the Mission U.K., which at that time was very much underground in the U.S. As we explored music together we grew also as people, we started to challenge each other musically and exposing each other to new musical frontiers. Steve Hindalong was also a huge influence on me in terms of the way that I hear and appreciate music.
You produced a fun cd for Steve Hindalong called “Skinny”…tell us what it was like to record with the high calibre of artists you brought in.
Steve invited them to play, and everyone wanted to do it because it was for Steve’s record. We all had a great time, and it was an honor for me to work on those songs.
The Lassie Foundation came next…how did it form?
In between Prayer Chain tours, Eric asked me to jam with him on some guitar stuff. We both played guitar, and then we figured that I’d be better off singing rather than playing guitar. We made LF’s first ep “California” at Andy’s house, during which time I got my hair styled by friends who are now playing violin for Moby. I don’t know why I remember that.
The Foundation started out as a fuzz/dream pop band…how did it evolve into the pop-rock band of the later years?
Musical tastes change. Some people can play the same music their whole lives, but I can’t. As you find out new things, you get into different modes and styles. I think it’s just natural. Some people criticized LF for being too 1992-Britrock-shoegazer, but I think the songs transcend that movement.
What was it like for you to step from behind the drum set and sing lead vocals for the Foundation?
Terrifying. The drum set was my security blanket, and then it was ripped away from me. For the first few months I could barely walk onstage without already having a good pep talk…
During the time you were in Lassie, you also played for SF59. What was that experience like?
I started played for SF59 while I was in the PC. In fact, for the Mercury tour I played both sets. It was fun playing for them–Martin and Cloud are good friends, and they’re hilarious to tour with. But I was broke, and I had to get a 9-to-5 job to get some money. Being in SF59 prevented me from doing that, so I had to quit.
Did you get to add your own musical ideas to sf59, or was it a Jason Martin dictatorship?
Jason is SF59, and he’s very specific about what he wants. Occasionally he was open to input maybe on arrangements or something, but most of the time he had everything planned out.
Why did Lassie end when it was shining so bright?
Bands don’t age like wine. Some people think the Stones are a great example of guys who can grow old with their band, but that’s crap. They haven’t written a decent album since “Tattoo You” or longer. On the other hand, I did see them in 1989 in support of a crappy album, but they were awesome. And they were, what, maybe 45 years old then? Lassie had to end because we were fed up with the personal dynamic. It wasn’t healthy–for the music or for the soul.
How was the whole Cush experience for you? Are you still involved with Cush?
I love making music with my friends, but I can’t stand being in the Christian music scene. Cush is an elastic entity, and I’ve had something to do with some of the records. It’s another great project involving a lot of people I respect, but it’s also very focused on Christianity, which is something I’m not interested in at the moment. So it’s a little bit touchy all round. If they ask me to do anything, though, I’ll do it. They’re my friends.
Your new cd, KingsQueens, is due out any day now. I am terribly excited about this cd. can you describe the sound on it for us?
Sometimes it’s really hard to describe your own music because you think it sounds like a certain thing, when other people not close to the recording will say it sounds like something totally different. So I don’t know. It’s pretty pop, I guess. Some songs have a 60’s thing, while others have a 70’s or 80’s sound perhaps. I’m not sure what it sounds like.
Who played on this cd with you?
Lots of super-talented people who I couldn’t pay enough: Frank Lenz, Campuzano, Dickie Onassis, Levi Nunez, Jeff Schroeder, Matt Fronke, Greg Riley, Tatiana Simonian, Lori Lenz, Julie Martin, and maybe others.
Was it hard not being in a collaborative band…having to write and make the musical decisions yourself?
Yes and no. I wanted to do this record as a creative exercise, and in some ways it was easier to be able to make decisions. Then again, there’s a lot more room for self-doubt when you’re the only person making the decision. So that was frustrating at times. But Frank did an amazing job with the production, so that made some things much easier.
What does the future hold for Mr. Wayne Everett, after KingsQueens?
More music. I’ll be co-writing some songs for a Dutch artist, and I’m hoping to get some long-awaited projects off the ground — especially a musical based on the life of Jack the Ripper. I’m thinking of calling it “Saucy Jack.” Whaddaya think?