Interview with Troy Payne | The Wake


THE WAKEHere’s an old interview that Tom Stamates from Cathedral 13 made to The Wake a few years ago…

The interview for The Wake was a natural one for cathedral 13 since I had been a huge fan of theirs since stumbling upon mask which I found a local CD shop. From the first moment that I put the CD and I was absolutely blown away and it’s one of those CDs that was an instant classic the moment it was released.

At the time I was doing short interviews on Cathedral 13 which were entitled 13 questions with and then the name of the band that I was interviewing at the time. Most of the questions were fairly brief to the point and somewhat tongue-in-cheek as well. My goal was not only to fill cathedral 13 with music that I wanted to listen to you but interview the fans that I wanted to know more about as well.

The interview was conducted by email and the questions were answered by Troy Payne. Later in time 13 questions format gave way to more elaborate interviews. A dedicated show and cathedral 13 special featuring the week is certainly long-overdue but perhaps the time is come to revisit that.

First off what is the present line-up of the band?

Troy Payne: A good question. I would like to know the answer myself. You see, there are those who are in, those who say they are in, those who say they’d like to be in, and those who occasionally you wish to strangle. To the best of my recollection, anyway.

How did you all meet and at what point did The Wake begin?

Troy Payne: The original guitarist Richard Witherspoon and I started playing together in high school – officially becoming The Wake around 1986. Rich and I met bassist James Trammel at a Jesus and Mary Chain show in 1987. In need of a new drummer, we were then introduced to Daniel C. in 1989 at our favorite haunt of the late 80’s – Crazy Mamas. Finally, James met keyboardist Robert Brothers and Rob joined the fray in 1991. (It would be irresponsible here not to also acknowledge the other players who each in their own way contributed valuable service to The Wake: drummer Scott Rozanski, bassist Steven Creighton, guitarist Mark Gamiere and bassist JT Murphy. Many Thanks.)

There has been a large amount of time since that last release by The Wake. Had the band broken up or were members involved in any other bands or side projects during that time?

Troy Payne: Shall we pick at that scab too? Why not. The short answer is no. The Wake did not break up. Of course life is more complicated than a short answer. Since the time of our last release the band has experienced several difficult personnel changes – some were self inflicted, others were not. There have been issues with our record company. Simple yet exasperatingly consistent problems such as logistics and scheduling have forced us to change from primarily a live band that rehearsed four or five nights a week, to a studio project that slowly ekes out tracks as time permits. Perhaps most importantly, it has taken time for us to put things in perspective and to indeed become inspired again after all of the disappointments and disillusions that accumulate after years of living the life of a club level musician. Certainly, music, the music business, and all of our lives, have changed dramatically since 1996. The Wake‘s transition or evolution, has encountered both bewildering lulls as well as great and rapid bursts of growth. OK. Its over now you can open your eyes.

Musically or non-musically, what are the influences of the band?

Troy Payne: I can only speak for myself on this as others may feel differently, but I will say this: Musically the list is broad and varied with predictable overlaps across members. Books and film have also played a roll, but the biggest influence has and continues to be life. All of these things combine and are the life-blood of the Muse. However, the Muse has a rather thin skin and is prone to jealousy and general moodiness. If one does not show the proper amount of respect and attention – the Muse will fall silent. All aboard for Crazy Town.

How do you describe your music to people?

Troy Payne: It depends on who I’m talking to. Certain comparisons and descriptions are completely lost on some people. It really is not something that I like or that I am comfortable doing anyway. How do you describe yourself objectively – without bias or self-consciousness? I prefer to leave the descriptions to someone else and then disagree with them.

What is the band currently working on and are there still plans for a new release?

Troy Payne: Over the past year we have been hinting, and then talking about several possible releases. The first of which was a? best of? Cleopatra Records compilation which was to include lyrics, a video, and some unreleased audio tracks. Sadly, this project is dead. The second and still viable project is a release of all new material. We have and continue to write and record new material which I believe is as good as if not better than anything previously released. The 25 million dollar question: When in the hell will it be released? Soon, relatively soon, never? I don’t know. All I can say is that we are still trying and that we want it to happen. We are also considering other options like just releasing a track or two at time via the internet. The longer you bare a burden, the better it feels when you lay it down. I agree. Complete rubbish.

When working on new songs is there any sort of process that the band goes through (music first, then lyrics or viceversa) or is every song conceived in a different manner?

Troy Payne: I have found the best process is for me to stand naked singing and playing my guitar in a stiflingly warm and darkened room, while the rest of the band applauds wildly from outside the door. Just kidding, I can’t really play and sing at the same time. – Seriously, the process is a bit different each time though typically the music or a melody comes first. Generally there is a sense of the overall mood and style of a song, though sometimes it can take an unexpected turn.

Outside of music, what other things are members of the band interested or involved in?

Troy Payne: Let’s just say that everyone has their own unique and separate personal lives and that we all continue to communicate with the common language of music. Outside of music I guess that we are just regular guys with different lives. Kind of like standing in front of a giant fog machine isn’t it?

If you could form a music super-group, (a musical dream team) who would be in it?

Troy Payne: OK, I’ll play along. Here’s the line-up: vocals Peter Murphy, bass Simon Gallup, guitars Jimi Hendrix and Robert Smith, drums William Rieflin, and keyboards Martin Gore. All the kids are asking: Who???

What is the strangest experience the band has encountered on tour?

Troy Payne: Do you mean strange like – getting treated like professionals: having signed contracts honored, shows promoted, booking agents that finish booking the tour before the tour is half over, or do you mean strange like – naked women showing up at the door of your hotel room in Mexico City, or getting stranded at a York, Nebraska “Motel 8” for ten days of unrelenting hell?

Gloria Estefan once sang “the rhythm is going to get you”. Do you think she was bluffing or do we all have one more thing to worry about?

Troy Payne: Well like all forms of contraception, the rhythm method is only effective if used properly.

What can fans expect out of the new material in comparison to the previous releases?

Troy Payne: I’m not sure what they can expect, but I think I know what they do expect of the new material, and I believe that it will stand on its own.

Thanks once again for all of your time and participation in helping put this together. Any final thoughts?

Troy Payne: This interview has taken entirely too long and I’ll never again consider participating in another one of these ridiculous question and answer sessions specifically designed to invade our privacy and pressure us into appearing thoughtful and well-bred. That’s final, and yes I’ll also get the web site updated as soon as possible. Man.


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