Wolfgang Marrow Goes to The Republic of Mielie Pop 2018:
It’s pretty cool when you’re mates keep going places. I grew up listening to Wolfgang Marrow before they were known to South Africa and they’ve made tons of people happy since then. Having the opportunity to interview them is every friend’s dream. So prepare for some gonzo journalism that concludes with the profound realisation that the only thing worse than warm beer is no beer! Also YAY for Mieliepop!
Richard Chemaly (RC): Your guitarist plays with one of the sickest guitars I’ve ever seen. Is there a cool back story behind it?
Wolfgang Marrow (WM): It’s an Eastwood guitar from a company in Canada – Airline guitars….Louwki is a huge fan of a band called Left Lane Cruiser from Fort Wayne, Indiana and the bassist Freddy who is also a chicken farmer had a little Skype chat with Louwki and recommended this git as a good slide guitar option , especially to get those dirty finger nail sounds.
RC: I’ve noticed your sets are a great balance of original work and covers. How do you decide who to honour with a cover?
WM: We try to only do two covers per set and keep it mostly original content, our choice of covers stems from our days as a wedding/pub band in the sticks playing in the middle of nowhere and anything … we like to pay homage to the bands that built our ears: namely Bob Dylan, Sea Sick Steve, Left Lane Cruiser and Tom Petty- before he died, it’s too sad to cover now.
RC: You’ve recently moved to Johannesburg. How’s that experience been and what’s it done for your music and your career?
WM: Well , Louwki has been in Jozi since 2016 completing his Masters in Geology, Sandy moved this side to lecturer in art in August 2017 and we can’t tell you what an amazing move it has been, although we will always be small town ghosts, the big city has brought heaps of gigs and opportunities for art. I don’t think we’ve ever been this happy.
RC: We’ve seen you at a couple of fests in the past so playing Mieliepop shouldn’t be too different. Do you just do your thing or do you approach each fest differently?
WM: Louwki spends a lot of time curating sets to suit the event, one can never guess the mood before hand and we mostly take our cues in the end from the crowd, band as boat and crowd as the sea sort of malarkey. I can say we have a lot of new songs that we are very eager to take out for a swim.
RC: What does Sandy drink to maintain her vocal range?
WM: Cheap wine cheaper cigarettes.
RC: Louwki cut his hair and looks less like he’s going to rock a riff and more likely to sell me a car. Have you had any cool, we weren’t expecting such awesomeness feedback following sets?
WM: Louwki lives in the corporate world by day as a geologist, only to find out that they all have long hair in any case. He now claims to be saving loads of cash on not buying any hair products but still secretly uses all of Sandy’s.
RC: As a band who doesn’t just throw lyrics together but seemingly takes the time to write about pertinent and insightful stuff, how do you manage creative difference?
WM: Louwki and Sandy write the songs, it’s probably the only thing they never fight about, and I think it’s because they are pretty much the same kind of losers and fear and love mostly the same monsters. Louwki writes the melodies and Sandy writes the lyrics but there are songs where the roles where reversed, it keeps it spicy. Strange Beasts a track on the Bad Advice album is actually about this process.
RC: I’ve been trying to do the thing artists hate and compartmentalize your music but, for the first time in my music journo career, simply can’t. Too much pace for blues but too much soul for rock ‘roll. How do you identify your music?
WM: We actually get a lot of flack for that , pick a side scumbags , but I think our new album “ Small Town Ghosts” will push us into a less broad category, what that is…we still cant tell you. We love the blues, country music, rockabilly and punk rock so it gets a little violent. We just write the songs we want to hear and hope for the god damn best.
RC: Looking forward to your set. I’m buying. What’s your poison?
WM: Ahhhhh any dam thing, the only thing worse than warm beer is no beer!