Wire Train has not been together for awhile, but sometimes you’ll find a member or two playing Canadian online slots and other games online.
THERE’S a woman in San Francisco who’s been going down to the Treasure Island Naval Station harbour every Sunday for the last 30 years. Years ago, she went down there to wave her husband goodbye. Before he sailed, he told her he’d be back on a Sunday. They told her that he died years ago but she refused to grieve. Instead she goes down every week and waits for him to come back. “We found out about her when we went there for a picnic,” says WIRE TRAIN’s Kevin Hunter explaining the origins and intricacies of the band’s new single “Should She Cry?”. “I guess you have a collection of things that you find symbolic and in this case I managed to find one, or rather one found me.”
Wire Train are back. Though the Californian four-piece, who at one point were being touted to take over the mantle of rock’s heroic saviours from The Waterboys, have crept in so quietly their presence may have escaped you. A protracted legal battle with their old record label has kept them quiet for nigh on three years, making it necessary to effectively split up and start again in order to secure a new MCA deal. During the lay-off, guitarist Jeff Trott recorded and toured with World Party and drummer Brian MacLeod worked with, in ascending importance, Michael Jackson, Madonna and The Mothers. Individually at least, they’re in demand.
The experience of the extra-curricular activities is reflected on the recently released “California Republic” LP. It’s a funkier, less bombastic more organically folky, at the same time retaining an-up-all night, out-there rumbustiousness. A far cry from the perfectly crafted pop of 1986’s “Ten Women” which largely predated Karl Wallinger and Lenny Kravitz’s mining of mid-period Beatles by three years.
“It’s not really an Irish kinda folk, it’s kinda R&B folk,” says Hunter. “We investigated that Beatles thing and and we were on the front side of the time period when it was cool to do. If more people had listened to ‘Ten Women’, borrowing from the Beatles would have been cool two years earlier. This year Lenny and Karl have had a lot of success with it but we had to do something else.”
It’s always been the romantic observation, the symbolism and the situations and the loving way they’re all put together that’s ensured that Wire Train’s appeal has been traditionally limited to a precious few. “California Republic” signals a straining of the literary chains and Hunter promises the next one will break them completely.
“I’ve been calling the LP we’re writing now ‘Colossal’. Cos it’s my impression that most of the things that you and I love about Wire Train songs are completely lost on the public. So I thought it would be really interesting to do an album completely devoid of subtlety where every word was a capital letter word and where every guitar note was huge. To take the Wire Train aesthetic and push it all forward and make it more available. I’ve done four albums a certain way and at a certain point you have to make a fundamental change, artistically as well as commercially. I give myself credit for waiting this long hoping that people would catch on.”