Wagons have an appetite for chaos
GIVE the man a sandwich and you’ll likely have a friend for life.
That’s the feeling you get after talking to Wagons’ founder and frontman Henry Wagons.
While we do talk about everything from their latest album to touring the US and beyond, conversation always leads to food.
Henry is at home in Melbourne after returning from the band’s first tour dates in Tasmania, off the back of their fifth album, Rumble, Shake and Tumble.
"It was freezing cold," says Henry. "Actually, it’s probably the most country thing I’ve ever done. I was going to bed in my jeans every night. Yep, sleeping in denim.
"The food down there is fantastic though. The fish is straight from the Bass Strait and into my mouth!"
Rumble, Shake and Tumble comes out of a life on the road. It’s gritty, country blues at its best.
In the last two years Henry has had many upheavals and changes as a result of life on the road.
"You never spend more than two weeks in one place," he says. "You encounter so many people and the album reflects that – it’s called Rumble, Shake and Tumble for a reason.
"And the food, I mean I know where you get the best black coffee, the best bacon and egg sandwich and I’m about to find out where to get the best hamburger when we go to the US."
"I’m hungry now, so that’s probably why," Henry says laughing.
Considering the muse Henry has found on the road, it’s lucky he decided to read Rolling Stone a few years back, when a reviewer urged the band out of Melbourne and on to the road with a few choice words.
"I know a lot of celebrities who are sick of the paparazzi say they don’t read magazines or read reviews and things like that but I quite like it. Every now and then there’s a key sentence that really resonates," he says.
"Basically what he was saying was that we were a great band that hadn’t made it anywhere because we hadn’t tried."
And Wagons, the band and the man, has been on the road ever since.
They were recently in the United States for SXSW, where the showcase sets appeal to Henry’s imagination.
"I love the short-set format," he says. "I think we really suit the variety show format. I’ve always wanted to be introduced by a guy wearing a bedazzled jacket with a really cheesy intro. We’d just play three really punchy songs and that was it. You’re left with your jaw open."
Don’t expect a quiet night in when you see the guys play in Lismore either. On-stage shenanigans are all part of the set. Wild stories, tyre tubes, and chicken pies are recent memories, but that’s not all, Henry says.
"There’s been stage dives, nudity, every cliche you can imagine," he says.
But after seeing Ms Grace Jones on stage at Byron Bay’s Bluesfest earlier this year it seems he may have a little stage envy.
"Anyone with a disco-ball gets an A-plus in my book," he says. "She had her elderly arse up there shaking, costume changes, the whole thing. It really made me want to get myself some arse-less chaps.
"I should be able to get some next time I’m there. Surely in Byron Bay you have tie-dyed arse-less chaps?"
If you know where to get Mr Wagons some chaps, perhaps you should bring them to the show.