The Cult's Chris Wyse Interview
Chris Wyse is not just a bass player, but also a multi-talented musician. For nearly a decade he has served as the bass player for the Cult on record and on tour, but what many don't know is how impressive his resume truly is. He has his own band, Owl, which he writes, produces, plays bass and even sings. If all of this isn't enough, his resume of artists he has worked on sessions with is mouth gaping; the Cult, Mick Jagger, Ozzy Osbourne and Tal Bachman. I am thankful to Chris for taking the time to talk to antiMUSIC about the current Electric 13tour with the Cult, how he came to play with Ozzy, his friend Bob Rock and his time with Mick Jagger.
antiMusic: You are currently touring performing the 1987 Electric album in its entirety. How did the Cult come to that decision…and how long did the band have to prep rehearsing those songs?
Chris Wyse: We did the Love record live a couple years back and I think it just seemed like a good natural progression. Fans grew up with these records and they really get into it live. We jumped right in and did just a couple rehearsals.
antiMusic: Having not played on the record initially, did you have to reply on Billy and Ian to guide you as how to play some of these songs since a few have never been performed?
Chris Wyse: I just play it like the record and add a riff here and there. It was straightforward.
antiMusic: Was there a song from Electric that was the most challenging?
Chris Wyse: These songs practically play themselves, they are simple and powerful.
antiMusic: Is it hard to turn your creative juices on and off between your time with the Cult and your other band Owl? In Owl you wear many more hats, is it seamless going from one band to the next?
Chris Wyse: I find it very natural to go from one band to the other. Whatever I do I give 150%. Owl has some very physical bass playing and vocals at once so I usually have to work some stuff out on that front. Playing with a bow on the upright bass, you've got to have the right touch and not muscle it.
antiMusic: You have recorded two albums with Owl; is a third one on its way or will a new Cult album come first?
Chris Wyse: There will be new music for both bands in 2014. Owl is working on a new video for our new album The Right Thing
antiMusic: What is the most rewarding aspect of Owl for you?
Chris Wyse: In Owl I get to really experiment with my style of bass playing and songwriting. It's great to have that "no boundaries" approach. It's also great to be playing in the band together with my high school buddy, drummer Dan Dinsmore.
antiMusic: What was it like to play on Ozzy's covers record Under Cover? He covered quite an eclectic collection of songs; did you expect that from Ozzy?
Chris Wyse:It was an amazing experience with Ozzy and I loved the diverse bunch of songs. He is one of my heroes and I am proud and honored to be a part of his history.
antiMusic: My favorite songs from that record were when Ozzy was channeling the Beatles, because you could really feel the love in his voice. Do you have a musical equivalent to the Beatles?
Chris Wyse: Ozzy loves the Beatles and I agree with you that he gave a very heartfelt version. My Beatles are Sabbath and Zep.
antiMusic: Your Wikipedia entry shows you played on Mick Jagger's solo record Goddess In the Doorway from 2001, can you speak to that experience at all? Was it only the one song "Visions of Paradise"?
Chris Wyse: Playing a session with Mick Jagger was such a memorable experience. I did some bowed upright bass on "Paradise" and we ate dinner after with some killer red wine and had a great chat. I kept bumping into him in Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles after the session, which was surreal and cool. I really like him!
antiMusic: What kind of equipment are you using for the current tour? In addition, do you switch from tour-to-tour?
Chris Wyse:I'm an Ampeg Classic SVT kind of guy with new strings on my Fender p-basses. For me that is king with some killer drive setting on my sans amp.
antiMusic: Aside from New York and LA, do you have a favorite city to play?
Chris Wyse: Buenos Aries and Dublin rock!
antiMusic: Is it true you were recruited for the Ozzy record by Mike Bordin? If so, how did the two of you connect?
Chris Wyse:Yes that is true. I played in Jerry Cantrell's band, which is where I met Mike Bordin. He is a really cool guy and an amazing drummer. Jerry's band was truly great. Mike said "Chris, when the Ozzy gig comes up you're the man!" Sure enough he called me up and I was in the studio the next week. Just awesome.
antiMusic: You have a history of working with Bob Rock, who is also an accomplished musician, what's his secret when producing? Does he have a way of making the artist relax of striving to get the best out of them?
Chris Wyse: Bob has an ear for the chorus and song craft and is very, very talented. He has the "magic" that some people just don't have. We work well together and have always. We've got a special connection and hit it off right away when I did the Tal Bachman record. Bob is the real deal and he knows how to make artists feel comfortable.
antiMusic: Speaking truly as a fan, what do you think is the best album Bob Rock produced?
Chris Wyse: The Tal Bachman record sounds so good and has a diverse set of songs on it. It is really well rounded. We recorded with an orchestra at the Capital Records building and did some really cool things with tones on all the songs.
antiMusic: Considering you wear many hats in Owl, did you ever call Bob Rock for advice?
Chris Wyse:I have indeed. He suggested a few different things with some of my choruses.
antiMusic: I know Steve Harris was always a big influence on you, but what about Cliff Burton?
Chris Wyse:I was more Steve Harris, Geezer Butler and John Paul Jones at first. Later I got into Master of Puppets and Cliff. I appreciate finger players with lots of ferocity, but Steve created the initial spark for me.
antiMusic: What did you think of Rock handling bass duties for Metallica on St. Anger?
Chris Wyse: Bob is just a super talent. And he actually said to me that he wished he could get me in to record but the band was going through too much at the time so he handled the bass duties. He said in Bass Player Magazine that he modeled his tone after me in "The Truth behind Metallica" issue, and I was Bob Rock's only suggestion to audition for bass in Metallica's "Some Kind of Monster." Bob is simply the best.
antiMusic: OK, last question- after the Cult finishes their tour in September, what are your plans with both the Cult and Owl?
Chris Wyse:The Cult has Australia and UK/ Europe in the following months and Owl has a couple shows in NYC in between those dates as well as a new video coming to further support our new album "The Right Thing". Owl and The Cult both have new music to come in 2014!!
Read Tony's review of The Cult's show in Chicago here.
Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMUSIC Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He can be contacted at tonyk AT antiMUSIC DOT com and can be followed on Twitter
The Cult's Chris Wyse Interview
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