On March 18, at Backroom Studios in Rockaway, New Jersey, Will Wood will be performing for a live concert film and live album release entitled “The Real Will Wood.” This event is guaranteed to be a true spectacle, as Wood has established himself as one of the most theatrical and thrilling artists on the scene. You can (should) PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE SHOW HERE. It is already approaching a sell out, so act fast.
The first time I had seen and reviewed a Will Wood show, he struck as a total anomaly. Appropriately, a quote from one of the godfathers of psychedelic drugs, Hunter S. Thompson, resonated with me; “A high-powered mutant of kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” Since then, I’ve gotten the opportunity to speak with him a good amount and he was generous enough to offer an interview about his upcoming live filming/recording. Still, I have to admit, Will Wood is no less an enigma to me today as he was the very first time I saw him on stage, but that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? To transcend explanation and rationalization, because otherwise it wouldn’t be art.
Either way, the following is the exclusive N.J. Racket interview with Will Wood. Please remain seated, fasten your seat-belts, and keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.
N.J. Racket (NJR): You’re an extremely talented musician. Your music unique and complex while being both engaging and challenging to the listener. However, my impression when I saw you perform, and the general impressions of people whom I’ve spoken with about your performance, the music doesn’t seem to set you apart as much as the performance itself, the presentation, the charisma, some of the wild antics. How was the approach to your live shows developed? How deliberate is the madness or does it just come naturally?
Will Wood (WW): Bear with me while I try to shake the trash out of my distracted head. My heart is pounding ash and steam through stiff veins. My performances are delayed reactions to brain damage and trauma- and the little nightmares in waking life that buzz around your head like gnats on a damp summer afternoon. Like the way you shout when you slam your finger in the hinge of a door in an attempt to slam it dramatically. When I go onstage, I am surrounded by tiny little insects and my fingernails are bruised to hell. Nothing is without reason, but that doesn’t mean it’s on purpose.
NJR: How important is the overall visual aesthetic of the show?
WW: I hate a concert, but I love a show. I want bright lights, I want drama, I want bold colors and loud noises and spectacle. People don’t want to see the same thing over and over, they want new experiences. It’s human nature – it’s why we do drugs, why we have sexual indiscretions with strangers, why little kids spin around and circles for hours on end when they first discover how strange of a feeling getting dizzy is. If I’m going to exist, I’m going to take every opportunity I can to make it interesting for myself and anyone watching. If I’m not being entertaining with every piece of myself, I’m not doing my job, and I’m getting bored. I don’t want people to just look at me, I want people to want to look at me.
NJR: What is the symbolism of your “Third Eye?”
WW: It stops working if I tell you.
NJR: Because of how significant the visual components are to your performances and how well they’re incorporated, a live filming really seems like an all too perfect idea. What inspired you to put this together and how long now has this been a goal of yours?
WW: I had no choice. Something has been wriggling around behind my eyes for a few months now – a sick, sour little headache that grows and shrinks over and over. Like a cluster headache patient desperately trying to grow psilocybin cubensis in his bedroom closet, this is an analgesic. This is the draining of a swollen eyeball. The Real Will Wood is a form of respiration. Finally scratching that nameless itch in my fusiform gyrus. Reaching into the back of my own head and stripping the wires.
NJR: As far just the audio recording, what do you feel is the benefit, or what there is to gain, from doing a live recording as opposed to a studio recording?
WW: There’s a difference between an album and a live performance, much like there is between a movie and a play. But as for benefits, I’m not thinking on those terms. Do I strike you as a man with good judgment skills and proper methods of weighing out pros and cons of a decision? This is all abstract, lofty, art-fucked nonsense with no apparent rhyme or reason and I can’t say I’m certain I always understand my own excuses for doing the things I do. Consider it arbitrary, it may very well be- but I know one thing for sure: I’ve never done it before. And that’s a good reason to kill a cat.
NJR: Tell us about the overall process of setting up this show. What have been some of the challenges? What is unique about this setup?
WW: The Real Will Wood is from a different place than what you’ve seen me do. It speaks in glossolalia and breathes pure nitrogen and has a second stomach for storing expired food. It’s going to be me, my keyboard, my daughter, and every raw tangle of neuroses I can pull out of my esophagus like a magician’s scarf. Have you ever tried carving a phrase into your own skin for the sake of remembering it? Maybe a pretty girl’s phone number or a reminder to pick up your dry cleaning? It’s like that.
NJR: How are you preparing for this show? Are you doing anything outside of your normal routine?
WW: Breathing exercises, psychotropic drugs, hand workouts, dialectical behavioral therapy, diaphragm expansion methods. I stare into mirrors and let my eyes go out of focus, and don’t blink until they water and I see the perspective shifts on the different features of my face. I look at myself until I don’t look like myself anymore. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on confetti, streamers, noisemakers, colored lights, equipment. I’ve loaded up shopping carts at dollar stores with a head full of anxiolytics and stolen baskets from supermarkets. I’m trying to catch gnats and peel off my black and blue fingernails.
NJR: On a personal level, what does this show mean to you?
WW: It stops working if I tell you.
Adam gave man-birth to N.J. Racket and is as close to an "editor-in-chief" the site has. He's a god awful photographer.