Amidst the contemporary musical landscapes, a band emerges like a flamboyant phoenix rising from the ashes of conventional sound. Wild Machine, the torchbearers of Greek glam/hair/poser metal, bring their unapologetic energy and reckless attitude to the forefront of the scene. Myth of Rock and Ira Bounia spoke with the band and got the answers in an exclusive interview!
Good evening, everyone, and happy new year! Before we dive into the musical discussion, we would like you to introduce the current lineup of the band.
May everyone have a wonderful year! For the past year and a half, we’ve been: Johny Hott – lead vocals, John Yell – guitars and backing vocals, Billy Dagger – guitars and backing vocals, Simon Key – bass, Chris Jones – drums.
You are one of the first hard rock bands in Greece. Since 1999, you have had numerous performances in our country and abroad. Tell us a bit about the formation of the band and who came up with its name.
We started in high school, and there was no connection to the band then. Essentially, in 2004, we took the form and style that we have followed ever since. The initial name was War Machine, inspired by the Kiss song. We were thinking about covering a song with the bassist at the time, and simultaneously, we agreed on the song and the band’s name. Unfortunately, he passed away in a car accident at the age of 18 in 2001. We even designed the logo together. We changed the name later to better suit a hard rock/glam group without deviating too far from the original name and logo. I won’t hide that I would easily change the name even now; I’m not a big fan, but I don’t care anymore.
Listening to your music, one discovers a blend of hard rock and metal like Judas Priest and Poison. Tell us about your influences.
Those two names you mentioned are absolutely on point, although it may sound like an oxymoron, they blend quite well. Our foundation is the Australian sound (AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Angel City), classic ‘80s heavy metal in its more rock expression, like the early albums of Saxon or Krokus, ‘70s glam, and of course, Kiss. I could also list some punk-influenced names and obscure/avant-garde bands.
What difficulties have you faced in the 25 years you’ve been active on the scene, given that you started in an era without the luxury of social media and YouTube?
We were young back then, late ’90s/early 2000s, moving with flyers and posters. We were more carefree with fewer obligations. I can say that we didn’t need these luxuries; there was a different charm in seeing only the poster in front of you and going there out of curiosity instead of scrolling and having everything laid out. Also, there were fewer intermediaries and “parasites” to book a show. Generally, everything was more direct and straightforward. In the end, technology made everything more complicated, and in a rock ‘n’ roll band, I don’t know how well it fits. Of course, we should also mention the positives, especially regarding the availability of your material and the speed of information.
Is there a consensus of opinions among the band members?
To be in this band, which has a history and a style, means agreeing with what Wild Machine advocates. There will always be disagreements in details, but the essence remains, and we build new material together.
Regarding the composition of the songs, do all members actively participate?
Since we are a rock ‘n’ roll band, jamming and feeling are required, so everyone contributes to the final shape of the song.
Let’s go back to November 2007, when you shared the stage with Skid Row at An lub How do you feel about that particular live performance?
It was a powerful live show, and we don’t even have a photo from that gig. Tragic. A good friend of mine suggested that I contact the organizing company to be added as support. They happened to have seen us live and included us without any intermediaries or PR. I remember Budweiser baskets going in and out of Skid Row’s dressing rooms, and Johnny Solinger (R.I.P) was a great entertainer. I envied his charisma. Metalheads were coming and telling us, ‘Sorry for mistaking you for sisters due to the image; you guys are really strong.’
January 6th is approaching, and a big event is happening at Temple with two powerful tribute bands for Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe. How do you feel about the upcoming live show?
It was fair, and it happened. We might go on early, and it might be a relatively challenging day (it’s a holiday), but we’ll change their lights. Anyone who attends will enjoy it. People already know what Snakebite and Dr. Crüe mean. What could be more guaranteed? We would also like to emphasize that anything that comes out (at least in rock) from 1973 onwards has an element of Alice Cooper. Categorically.
Do you have a surprise cover in mind?
Four surprise covers of songs. The attendees will enjoy them, and we know that people were expecting something like this since playing only originals at an event with two tribute bands would be a bit odd.
Is there a new album in the works, and what is the next stop for live shows?
The album mixes are finished, and singles might be released, as is the trend today. I think we owe a music video that we haven’t made yet. Also, for the 10 (+2 COVID years) anniversary of the album ‘Wild Machine – II’ (2012), we are planning an anniversary show, playing it in its entirety.
Thank you very much for the time you dedicated to me, and I look forward to seeing you on Saturday. Can’t wait!!!
A thousand thanks, see you at Temple. Have a great year, everyone, because the world deserves improvement in the current situation.