By: Lori Smerilson Carson

Creating a band of brothers both literally and figuratively, has led rock band WICKED to make an incredible mark in the music industry since their original formation in 2012. Now, these extremely talented musicians have recently released their latest album Living Like A SUNBURN (SUNBURN) that basically encapsulates their musical experiences. They are taking their new rock songs, as well as some of their previous tunes, out on tour, and Florida fans will have the opportunity to catch their shows with RAVEN on May 2nd at Handlebar in Pensacola, on May 3rd at Conduit in Orlando and on May 4th at Piper’s Pub in Pompano Beach.

Catching up with Bassist Danny, he revealed some details about the new LP and tour that he and his brother Lead Singer/Guitarist Chad Michael, Guitarist Scotty V and Drummer Gunnar are about to embark on, a bit about their past, and what fans can look forward to.

SFL Music: How did the new tour come together with RAVEN?

Danny: It’s really kind of funny. It’s a full circle thing in the history of WICKED because our drummer Gunnar, his father used to roadie for RAVEN way back in the day. So, as the years go on, of course those guys still talk, but who would have thought that we would have been playing with them. I think it was last year, we did a couple of one-off dates with RAVEN in Boston and Rochester, and it was famous. Those guys are lunatics, like they’re super high energy, and that’s really the motto that WICKED always goes by, is high energy rock and roll. So, it was like a match made in heaven, at least at those shows, and the crowd loved it. I think the Gallagher guys came back and said, “hey, we’re going on this North American tour.” We were like, let’s do it! When have you heard of a hard rock, heavy metal tour like this in the last couple of years? It’s super exciting!

SFL Music: What can fans look forward to with this high energy show?

Danny: Well, we just dropped our latest album SUNBURN and we’re gonna be playing some awesome tracks off of that as well as tracks off of THE LAST AMERICAN ROCK BAND. When you go to a WICKED show, it’s not only high energy, it’s theatrical, but it’s all about bringing everybody that’s at the show together in that moment. That moment that you’ll never get back, or it’ll never be the same again. I think its super cool the way we do it because there’s a lot of crowd and band interaction that creates that connectiveness. You’ll see people in business suits next to punk rockers or heavy metal folks, and they’re just in that moment. So, you come out and you’re gonna become part of the family. That’s our pitch to you, plus a bunch of pranks and antics between us and RAVEN and the other bands. So, that should be a riot (he laughed).

SFL Music: Do those pranks take place generally?

Danny: It’s something that’s happened before, and if we come back from this tour without a bunch of stories of us pranking each other, then we did something wrong (he laughed).

SFL Music: Are these things people will see or are they behind the scenes?

Danny: Well, I’m gonna tell you this. We’re fashioning our RV with a whole bunch of cameras and we’re gonna have a film crew out there, so we plan to capture all the good, peek behind the veil, behind the scenes stuff.

SFL Music: People can see it on your social media?

Danny: We’ve started a YouTube series called the ROCK & ROLL CIRCUS SHOW. So, if you haven’t seen the first two episodes, people could go on there, check that out and there will be more. Especially after the tour.

SFL Music: I did hear (and see the video of) the title track and songs “Gorgeous” and “Lost In The Dark”. I loved the hard rock with the great riffs. What would you say inspired your latest song “Lost In The Dark”?

Danny: “Lost In The Dark” was kind of cool. I think all the songs, we finally kind of took a step back and said, let’s not be afraid to pull in influences from wherever. So, it’s interesting. You can see a little bit of variation between the songs. “Lost In The Dark”, that was us at our best just saying, like Toto’s one of my favorite bands. How do we blend that with some 38 Special, Boston and Thin Lizzy and just mash it all up and make it WICKED. Heavy harmonies, very melodic like, and that was really what we were going for on that one.

SFL Music: What about the title track that goes with the album SUNBURN?  Is there a theme with the album?

Danny: Yeah. Definitely a theme. I mean, that one had a little bit more of that power, pop influence in it and punk rock, but lyrically and the way it ties into the theme of the album was, it really is an album of reflection of the first several years of us being you know, kids just trying to be rock stars and learn how to be musicians. The ups, downs. The good, the bad, and I think experience is the best story teller. So, “Sunburn” really goes in line with that motto of too much of a good time, and going back for more when you just haven’t learned your lesson yet. So, it was pretty fun to kind of put pen to paper on that one (he laughed).

SFL Music: What would you say inspires your music in general? Like you were saying, life lessons and experience?

Danny: Yeah. We like to keep it real. We’re afforded the opportunity and are very fortunate because one of the unique parts of this band is that we live together, and we’ve been living together for seven years like an old school band, and that means that we have a lot of experience that we get to share. So, whether it’s going on vacations or day to day life, love had and lost. All that good stuff. We try to pull from that. We’re not singing about dragons and space ships. So, we try to keep it real, and it’s almost like a diary if you will, at times.

SFL Music: What would you recommend to an up-and-coming band?

Danny: Listen, I can’t push the topic enough. If you’re an up-and-coming band, you got to pay your dues just like we had been doing over the years. Like, take your licks and learn from them, but enjoy it. I mean, what’s the point of doing it if you don’t enjoy it, and that’s what we really made sure that it was. Part of the core of our mission was, this is all about fun. It’s all about giving people a moment of escape, and if you’re not enjoying it, what’s the point? The only other thing I’d say is, write your music. Write your own original music. There’s not enough of that out there. There’s a million and one people playing somebody else’s song and making some good hard cold cash off of it and good on them, but there’s something special about when you create something, and then you see that creation blossom. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s one of my favorite aspects of what we do.

SFL Music: That’s great advice! What made you decide to become a musician? What influenced you?

Danny: I’m gonna be honest with you. It was my grandmother, and funny enough, she was really the heavy musical influence for myself and my brother Chad. I know that the other guys had the fortunateness of their fathers being into music and stuff, into rock that is, but my grandmother, we would sing with her. She raised us like a mother, and we would sing all different kinds of music with her, and actually on the album, we put aside the macho-ness and we wrote a personal song in dedication to her, and that’s “Summer & Sun”, the acoustic one.

SFL Music: Oh, that’s cool! Was that because you wanted to pay tribute to her?

Danny: She played a big part in our lives and like I said, even in the later years of her being on this earth with us, us four boys in the band, we’d be doing a show in New Jersey say, and we’d drive back that night. We’d always make sure Sunday afternoon; we stop by and see Babcia. Polish for grandma.

SFL Music: That’s really nice. People should keep that in mind these days. Are there any new videos or anything else that fans can look forward to?

Danny: I’m glad you asked. It’s funny because we do have some cool surprises coming out as we set out and set our sails for tour. We’ve been toying around with some re-mixes just for the fun of it. I think a lot of people get really rigged and siloed with the genre that makes them feel comfortable and that’s great. However, as musicians, like I mentioned about the influences, we kind of spread our wings a little bit and it’s cool when you write a song like we were talking about, like the theme, the message behind some of these songs that we’re proud of, you want to share it with different types of people. So, our remixes that we’ve been playing around with, they’re a little dancy and stuff like that. Sure, maybe our rock and metalhead fans aren’t gonna be totally into them although, some begrudgingly admit that they love ‘em, but it’s almost like a different way to communicate to somebody. Like a different language. So, we’ve got a couple of remixes, acoustic, dance style coming out for some of the singles like “Gorgeous”. So, those will be a surprise. Then we got a cool video for the rock track “Cali” on the album that will come out while we’re on tour. That one, I’ll give a little teaser on it. It’s a very casual video of us boys just hanging out in California after we took a thirty-eight-hour straight trip, Rochester to Huntington Beach to shoot some of the other music videos. Its super eight footage of us just having a good time in good old California.

SFL Music: You guys are from the Northeast, correct?

Danny: Yeah.

SFL Music: What do you find most inspirational about being from the Northeast?

Danny: That is an interesting aspect. We’ve always been as kids, the typical cliché California dreaming kind of boys you know, got to get out of town. Got to get out of New York, but I think that, back to our roots and to your question is, it affords us this different culture. This different upbringing, and there’s an edge to New Yorkers, you know what I mean? There’s a little bit of that more street flavor, kind of like back in the day with Kiss and New York Dolls. And as much as you try to scrub it and throw clothes over you to make you look different and everything, it’s still enrooted in you. I’ve found over the years, that’s a nice thing. It’s a unique thing that you can’t get rid of and it makes you who you are, and it comes out in the music. I think it’s a little bit of that punk edge and some of the different stylings around them. So, I find it interesting, and I think the influence of always that lust to kind of like get out, get past the grind and find some salvation and something fun, is a good thing. Look poets, musicians, writers, most of the time, you’re writing about the things that you desire, that are going wrong or good. So, if you don’t have those dynamics, what do you have to write about?

SFL Music: Very true. Was there anything else you want fans to know?

Danny:  We’ve got a lot of dates out here with RAVEN Make sure you check out the website. All the dates are on there. It’s wickedrocknrollofficial.com and our social media wickedrocknroll. You can find us anywhere on that. Check out the album. Support original music and listen, like I said, if you’ve got an opportunity to come out and see the tour, see the shows, do it!  We’re gonna have a great time. We’re building a rock n’ roll metal community and I can’t wait to add everybody into the family. So, we really appreciate you guys.

SFL Music: Plus, we’ll get to see some pranks, right?

Danny: That’s right. It’ll be a blast (he laughed)!

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