Can they pass the rock ‘ n’ roll road test?
ANDREW Stockdale believes firmly in the power of the road test for his songs.
That’s why he took Wolfmother out on the road for a run of regional dates in December.
And fans who tune in to the band’s support set when they take the road with Lenny Kravitz and The Cranberries this month will also get a taste of songs planned for Wolfmother’s third album.
From there, they head to Europe for two months of shows playing many of the major summer festivals, from Italy to Norway and Sonisphere in Britain alongside Kiss, Queen and Faith No More.
Stockdale has been writing and recording for the follow- up to 2009’ s Cosmic Egg at the studio in his Brisbane house.
‘‘ We’ve played a lot of the songs live and the reaction to them has been really good,’’ Stockdale says. ‘‘ If a song falls flat on its arse live then it’s not going to happen.
‘‘ With our first record we had been playing songs like Woman and The Joker and the Thief for a year before we put it out. I remember the record label and our manager were saying, ‘ What song should be the next single?’
‘‘ They had tested the songs with these listening parties in LA and all this stuff, trying to work out which songs would work best on the radio. ‘‘ I said, ‘ I don’t know anything about hits but that song The Joker and the Thief, people go nuts when they hear it. At every show. So just put that out’. And they just played that song at the Super Bowl.’’
Obviously fans at those early Wolfmother shows did know something. While The Joker and the Thief was the last of a series of singles from the band’s massive self- titled debut, in Australia it charted the highest of them all.
That debut album took the Wolfmother name around the world, established the band as festival favourites, and won the Best Hard Rock Performance award at the 2007 Grammys.
There were fireworks to come, of course, with the break- up of the original line- up and Stockdale
touring with new players after Cosmic Egg. Stockdale returned from Sydney to his hometown of Brisbane, where he has built the studio where he is now working.
‘‘ It’s got vintage everything and the stuff we’ve recorded there sounds raw and exciting,’’ he says.
Stockdale is not sure how much, if any, of these recordings will be part of the final release and says it’s possible there will be more recordings done for the album with an outside producer.
Still, Stockdale is confident in the quality of the tunes he has ready. And he gives an insight into how he has written them. ‘‘ I’ve been writing in all kinds of ways, on the acoustic, at home, in hotel rooms, writing on a banjo then taking that to the guitar.
‘‘ I like to get on the drums and come up with a really cool drum beat, something that’s not predictable. It’s the beat that’s so important to our music and that’s the basis for a lot of the songs I’ve been writing.
‘‘ If the rhythm is good then I feel like everything else follows. A melody is hit and miss. You never know if it’s any good. But rhythmically, you can always feel the energy of a good song.’’