10 Questions: Henry Wagons


Wagons frontman, Henry Wagons has a renegade-country rock attitude and the songs to back up that outlaw image. He took some time to answer our questions via email about the new record, the music and his nerdy must-haves on tour.

Q: You’ve got a new record out, “Rumble, Shake and Tumble,” what can you tell us about it?

A: I’m a proud father. This record is the culmination of our last couple of years of travel to new places, meeting a whole bunch of new people and absorbing a bunch of new musical influences that result from it. We’ve put it all in a meat mincer and hopefully we have a nice burger at the end.

Q: The album art is interesting, there’s all sorts of people and quite a few ladies. Can you describe the scene and what’s happening in that moment in your mind?

A: It’s a shot of the ‘Wagons cult’. Mostly friends, fans and family. Our previous album, The Rise and Fall of Goodtown also had a cult like shot on the front, but that looked like we were straight off the fields from a hard and honest day on the plough. This shot is supposed to be the same cult, a few years down the track, a bit wealthier, a bit bigger and a bit more screwed up. I thought holding a guilded goat skull would get that across loud and clear! It was kinda inspired by the amazing group shot on the front of Bob Dylan and The Band’s Basement Tapes.

In terms of what was going through my mind, it was probably, “I can’t wait to put this goat skull down”. It was quite gross.

Q: You’ve been compared to all sorts of voices and styles, but how would you describe your sound?

A: It’s kinda fat Elvis, crossed with a nearly dead Johnny Cash with dashes of the cheekiest Tom Jones. Our live show is Vegas stage floorboard rocking and rattling outlaw country.

Q: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

It’s not particularly rock n’ roll, but probably teaching English. It’s what I did before becoming a full time musician. My creativity would be expressed in reading comprehension exercises, to a largely unappreciative audience.

Q: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

A: What an obtuse question! I like it.

It looks like a broken vintage Ham Radio that’s valuable on ebay.

Q: How has your music and style evolved over the years you’ve been performing?

A: I think was are definitely a road hardened band, capable of playing to most audiences. We can dish out good entertainment, be it to the dregs of a fancy dress bucks party or to thousands on a festival stage. We’ll show up and give it our all, like complete idiots, no matter how many people are staring at us.

In terms of musical style, I think early Wagons was very Cash influenced, and now its broadened to being influenced by Cash and Elvis and whoever influenced and is influenced by them. That a much broader palette!

Q: What is your musical guilty pleasure, the one artist or album that you don’t admit to liking?

A: Rod Stewart: Foot Loose and Fancy Free.

An amazing voice with amazing hair.

Q: Besides your instruments, what are the top 5 things that you must have while on the road?

A: Traveling around as much as I do, I get a little edgy if I’m off the grid, so a lot of my most prized possessions are involved with keeping in touch with home in as wide a variety of ways as possible.

1. iPhone

2. laptop (Macbook Air – so easy to get in and out of your back when going through airport security)

3. Wifi modem, so I can bring the internet with me everywhere

(I feel like a real nerd at this point)

4. GPS Navigator.

5. Cigarette ligher power adapters so I can plug in everything in the tour van and stop the band from smoking cigarettes in the car

And there you have it – geek central.

Q: What’s on your mix tape?

A: Never Been to Spain (2007 Remaster) / Elvis Presley
Indian Creek / Porter Wagoner
Changes, Circles Spinning / Moby Grape
Harlem River Blues / Justin Townes Earle
Hung My Head / Johnny Cash
Alone Again Or / Love
In Dreams / Roy Orbison 2:52
Friends Of Mine / Adam Green
Jolene / Dolly Parton
The Weight – The Band with The Staples / The Band
Pots and Pans / The Kills
Sometimes At Night / Jessica Lea Mayfield
Molina / Creedence Clearwater Revival
Highwayman / The Highwaymen
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain / Willie Nelson
She’s A Rainbow / The Rolling Stones
Million Dollar Bash / Bob Dylan & The Band
Goin’ Up The Country / Canned Heat
It’s A Living Thing / ELO
Out On The Weekend / Neil Young
Down In Mexico / The Coasters

Q: Is there anything people listening to your music need to know?

A: Buckle in, you are about to be thrown around by some love, lust, tenderness and death.

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