Interview: Wolfmother Frontman On Drinking With Dave Grohl, Playing With Slash & Scott Weiland

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Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother is one of rock’s most powerful modern voices, yet has possessed something of a tumultuous and unpredictable career. After the smashing success of 2005’s self-titled Wolfmother debut featuring enduring rock radio singles like “Woman” and “Joker & The Thief”, the band’s lineup imploded for their second release, “Cosmic Egg”. The band’s planned third album was ultimately released under Andrew Stockdale’s own name; however, Stockdale reconsidered the Wolfmother brand and used the “surprise digital release” format for Wolfmother’s third record, “New Crown”, released in 2014.

After that experiment, Stockdale recruited legendary producer Brendan O’Brien for the band’s next studio output, Victorious. This record, releasing in February 2016, marks the first Wolfmother “event” release since 2009, being hyped with the release of two huge-sounding singles, “City Lights” and “Victorious”. I recently had a brief opportunity to chat with Stockdale, who reminisced on some of his earliest influences as a vocalist and looked ahead to a promising career relaunch with Victorious.

Can you tell us a bit about Wolfmother’s undocumented recent Scott Weiland tribute, and your earliest memories of STP?

We just did a free show at the Great Northern Byron in memory of Scott, playing a bunch of covers including “Interstate Love Song”. I remember seeing STP on David Letterman in the 90’s and falling in love with them!

Being a vocalist is much like being an athlete as far as building and maintaining your vocal range. As a young guy back then finding your own voice, were there any artists you’d sing along to?

When I was a teenager, I’d sing Pearl Jam, The Beatles… Blind Melon was one of them. I’d sing along to Perry Farrell, and realize I was able to hit the high notes! I’d be playing guitar with my brother or something, and I’d be coughing up a vein or something. [laughs] From there, I just sort of kept going.

Flash forward to now and you will be working with Brendan O’Brien, who worked with Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots, on “Victorious”. 

He’s done a good job of doing that “big” sound, viable for national radio… you know what I mean? He knows how to make that rock n’ roll sound in this day and age, when it seems like production has just been going through the motions.

You think you’ll be able to capture that stateside magic that Wolfmother’s 2005 album possessed? 

Victorious is going to sound fantastic on the radio anywhere in the world and it’s got the production people have come to expect. Ya know… some people need songs, some people need a haircut, some people need production!

A big moment in the years after that debut was your collaboration with Slash on his 2010 solo album, singing vocals on “By The Sword”. Can you tell us a bit about your experience in the studio with Slash? 

When you get to meet Slash, you also get to hang out with all the stars. When I went to LA to record I met Lemmy, Dave Grohl, Alice Cooper and all these icons. Wow, that was exciting. Dave Grohl was in the back room with a bottle of scotch, and when I walked in, he’s like, “Hey, you gonna come and sit?” [laughs] And I was thinking: “there’s no way I’m gonna say no to drinking a bottle of scotch with Dave Grohl!”

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I don’t think anybody could.

There’s a crowd of like thirty people around and he’s just telling stories. I had to do the Slash video the next morning…

Wow, that must have been difficult! [laughs]

[laughs] Difficult because I got to drink scotch with Dave Grohl? Yeah, I had to do the video the next morning, but Grohl was high on the priority list so I tried to do both at once. Slash… he doesn’t drink, and he’s completely straight.

Do you have any other dream collaborations?

Neil Young, Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, Eddie Vedder, Lenny Kravitz. [laughs] It’s not on my “to do list”, so to speak, I’m not the best at planning things out, but if I got the invitation from any of those people, I’d be there in a heartbeat.

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