Interview with Brad Wilk, Drummer for Audioslave|
Interviewed by Patrick
Patrick: What’s up Brad? How you doing?
Brad: Good how are you man?
Patrick: Great. Where are you calling me from?
Brad: I’m calling you from Los Angeles, from my house. I have a few days off so I’m … hanging at the house.
Patrick: Speaking of a few days off, you guys have been touring nearly non-stop since February. How’s that going?
Brad: Yeah. Well after not touring for 2 ½ years. It’s awesome. It’s what I live for. I’ve had an awesome time. It’s very exciting. Everything’s new again. We feel brand new as a band.
Patrick: Are you looking forward to Lollapalooza?
Brad: I am definitely. There’s a lot of great bands. A great side stage. Jane’s Addiction … you know.
Patrick: I just got an advance copy of the new Jane’s Addiction album and am really digging it.
Brad: Yeah. I like it. It’s good.
Patrick: What’s the biggest difference between touring with Audioslave and touring with Rage?
Brad: There’s a lot more women at the shows (laughs). We all get along a lot better now. We’ve kind of all been through the bullshit. That helps. Those are the things. You don’t want to be on the road with people you hate all the time.
Patrick: When my wife and I caught your show in Denver we noticed right off the bat that you guys were smiling and having a good time. Is that the key for this band? Having fun?
Brad: That’s definitely a big part of it. We definitely would not be doing it if it wasn’t. It doesn’t mean you have to enjoy it 24 hours a day 7 days a week either. It’s like a roller coaster. You deal with the ups and downs like any other relationship. You have a respect for one another, you love and respect and that carries a long way towards creativity.
Patrick: When did you first start out on drums?
Brad: I started playing drums when I was 14 years old. I got a practice pad. I actually started playing a practice pad at 14 years old. I played on that for about a year.
Patrick: Who or what was your influence for going that route musically?
Brad: I would say the first person I wanted to play like was Keith Moon. My brother brought home the “Kids are Alright” record. It was wild. You know there was connection between these four people. Taking a live situation to a level that’s really on the edge. Then I heard John Bonham and really starting to understand where he placed his notes and how much that meant. I remember hearing that one time in a room and really tripping out. I just got the new Led Zeppelin DVD and they’re hands down the best band that’s ever been on a stage. Mind blowing.
Patrick: Where did you first meet up with Tom and Tim?
Brad: I met up with Tom in ’90 and started jamming together. We needed a bass player and Zach brought Tim in.
Patrick: I read that you played in a band with Eddie Vedder. Is that true?
Brad: Yes that’s true.
Patrick: What was that all about?
Brad: I had a friendship with him. It wasn’t really a band we were just good friends. He’s a great musician.
Patrick: What were your thoughts when you first heard Chris was interested in your band?
Brad: Initially I thought about Badmotorfinger and I just started tripping out. That’s a serious record right there. I just love his voice so much and appreciate so much about him. It sounded awesome. But initially, we thought “is this gonna work?” I just remember the first time we started playing. It sounded great.
Patrick: Did you guys actually audition other lead singers before Chris came along?
Brad: I guess B-Real. But it wasn’t like an audition or anything. We were looking to start a new band and he was still in a band – Cypress Hill. So he was the only guy we jammed with. Chris was the only guy we were serious about starting a band with. We feel very lucky that we didn’t go through that horrible process of trying to find another person. We got real lucky. The first guy we picked, we had great chemistry with.
Patrick: Back when rumors cropped up about the band breaking up, was there ever a doubt of where the band was headed?
Brad: Was there ever a doubt as to where the band was headed? There’s a doubt everyday as to where this band is headed. That’s what life is all about. Figuring out those doubts and then not worrying about all the doubts you have and all the fears. You can’t be controlled by those. It’s there, you have to ignore it.
Patrick: What was your mindset when rumors started about the band breaking up?
Brad: Um. I’m not sure what you’re talking about.
Patrick: You know, back during the whole issue of the band having different management and whatnot and deciding to break up. Did that actually happen or was it all just rumor?
Brad: That never actually happened. The four of us never sat in a room together and said ‘the band is broken up.’ Between the four of us, we never thought the band was broken up. That was actually something that came from the management side. And you know what it’s stuff that like is so beyond us now. It’s a thing where we had two managers who were great in their own right that didn’t work well together at all. That puts such a strain on a band that you can’t solidify yourself. You feel like you’re being pushed and pulled in different directions. The music was worth doing this. We enjoyed it, we enjoyed working together. And that’s the most important thing. And as long as that was there, I wasn’t too worried about it.
Patrick: Were you aware of the situation when the so-called “Civilian demos” were leaked to the public?
Brad: Yeah I was aware of it. That sucked. That to me is the worst part of the Internet. It’s not when people download your record. It’s when people download your demos and say it’s your record. You know calling your band by a name that it isn’t, which was probably better in the long run. But that is definitely a really frustrating thing. You know if you’re an artist and you do a sketch and you’re not even close to getting started or finished for that matter and all of a sudden its out there for people to see. As an artist. That sucks.
Patrick: How did it get leaked?
Brad: There was someone in Seattle that was recording with Chris, I believe and it got leaked out of that. So you just gotta take precautions.
Patrick: How did the initial song writing process work?
Brad: Basically we went in a room. Didn’t have any preconceived notions of what we were gonna sound like. It was all, for the most part, very intuitive. And, a lot of rocking and not a lot of talking and I love that. So we’d get into a room. Tom would come up with a riff, and me or Tim would add something or Chris would and it would just grow from there. Pretty much every song was like that. Our work ethic was great. We were in there for hours a day. Writing songs. We’d write one to two songs a day. That feeling is really … you know when you’re burning like that … I feel like we took advantage of that. You wanna do that when you’re in that mode.
Patrick: When we were standing in line waiting to get in and see you guys some dude came up to us and said “Are you here for Soundgarden or Rage?”
Patrick: And my wife was like “Uh … we’re here to see the best of both worlds.” But there were people that were like “dude, I’m here to see Soundgarden!” Did you guys get any of that when you started?
Brad: (laughs harder) Ohh that’s the first I’ve heard of it. (laughs again) I think that’s kind of funny. I totally understand it. When people have their favorite band, it’s hard to let go of that. If someone’s like, you’re going sort of with this attitude of kind of steeping back, waiting to see what it’s going to be like. Maybe you’re gonna be hoping that a Soundgarden or Rage Against the Machine song plays. And, for those people coming to see that, that’s not really going to happen. We’re now at a point where … we’re very comfortable that we both came from bands that had important pasts, but we don’t want to base this band on that. This band is about this band. That’s why we don’t do Rage songs or Soundgarden songs. It’s weird because we have not gotten a lot of that. And people have been super supportive and that fucking kicks ass that we’re out there every night, knowing your history and having people accept you as a band and be way into it. It’s a good feeling and the way it should be.
Patrick: What was it like hooking up with Josh and Nick (from Queens of the Stone Age) for the “Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys” soundtrack?
Brad: Awesome. I love those guys. They’re great musicians. I loved playing with them. It was really cool doing a movie soundtrack. I’ve never played to a movie before that was kind of a trip. I think those guys are awesome.
Patrick: Do you have plans to collaborate with them again, or was this a spur of the moment thing?
Brad: Well, they do those desert sessions, but nothing has come up. Those guys are great musicians, so it would be great.
Patrick: If you could, is there anything you’d change about your path to where you are now?
Brad: I really don’t live like that man. I don’t. I think life is what it is. To go back and cherry pick or regret, it’s not something I would do.
Patrick: What is your take on today’s rock scene and the bands that have taken charge of the airways?
Brad: I think you’re always gonna have a lot of shitty music on the radio and you’re gonna have good music on the radio. It’s always been like that. You’re gonna have cycles of bands that play a certain type of music. Music really is the cycle of life. It really is just a vibration. That’s why we’re so connected to it. It’s really what our souls are all about. Some people are affected by different kinds of music. It’s really the tone and the way that you’re playing the music that makes a person react to it a certain way. Some people like to turn on the radio and react that way, and other people like to find their music at their local record store and react that way. There’s good and bad music in every band and on every radio station, it’s just up to the listener to pick it out … My shit is another man’s steak dinner … or my steak dinner is another man’s shit. (laughs).
Patrick: I was wondering where you were going with that.
Brad: Either way.
Patrick: If you could share the stage with any bands past or present, who would they be? Your ultimate fantasy show and Audioslave is playing.
Brad: Probably be Audioslave, Jane’s Addiction and Queens of the Stone Age.
Patrick: Weird, you’re gonna do that later this week.
Brad: (laughs). Yeah … I guess we are.
Patrick: But what about Led Zeppelin? You wouldn’t want to play with them?
Brad: Are you kidding me? (voice raises) Have you seen those Led Zeppelin DVD’s?
Patrick: No, actually I haven’t.
Brad: They're the fucking greatest band in the world. I wouldn’t even think of getting on stage before that band. That band is hands down, will be the greatest band to ever step on the stage. It is fucking mindblowing. I trip out on it. I’m so glad they released it cause “The Song Remains the Same” definitely didn’t do them justice. And these DVD’s are just unbelievable. I would love to play with the Who. Or, I would’ve loved to before John Entwistle unfortunately passed away.
Patrick: Well Brad thanks for talking to me and I look forward to seeing you at Lollapalooza this summer.
Brad: Great man. Well I hope we fucking rock your ass off (laughs).
Patrick: Don’t worry about that.
Brad: (laughs) See yah.