Last night the White Wives , an alternative punk rock band hailing from Pittsburgh, PA celebrated their first full-length album release, “ Happeners ” that will officially be in stores June 28th. This may not seem like much of a big deal since CD releases happen quite frequently, but in this instance, it’s like watching a shooting star from its inception. The cosmic dust that came together to create this astrologic musical wonder are parts iconic punk band Anti-Flag (Chris Head and Chris #2 Barker), the lyrically creative Dandelion Snow , and the drummer (Tyler Kweder) from Pittsburgh punk rock up starts American Armada . And the glue that’s given this project weight and mass in this infinite universe called the music industry is Billy Joe Armstrong’s (Green Day) co-owned Adeline Records . With some really big names associated with White Wives, you might think it unfair of me to speak of them as a new or local band, but I assure you White Wives created their demo before Adeline Records bought in and members from Dandelion Snow and American Armada have been putting in their time as undiscovered artists. There is a really interesting article by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that explains some of the bands history and how they met and another article in the Pittsburgh City Paper that discusses the group dynamics, which I think is awesome because now I can talk about one of my favorite parts of White Wives, Dandelion Snow aka Roger Harvey. Although Chris #2 contributes heavily, Roger Harvey is mainly the voice and lyricist behind White Wives. Few can pull off the wavering sentimental singing (and not screaming) that Harvey has been honing since his solo days and this gives White Wives a distinct edge from other alternative rockers on the rise. I caught up with Roger Harvey through email and he was kind enough to give us a better idea of things from his perspective as a young talent being discovered by answering a few questions.
BB: Tell us a little about what signing with Adeline records meant to you personally.
Roger: Signing with Adeline is incredibly exciting for me. Also, extremely scary. I have never really been involved with music on this level. Adeline came to us while I was doing a Dandelion Snow tour in Europe. I woke up to an email in Switzerland saying in brief "We like your band, we want to release your record. Thanks." It seemed to just fall out of the sky and I didn't know what to expect going into it. Pat and everyone at Adeline believes in what we do just as much as we do. So it has been awesome to actualize some of our big ideas. It's a pretty perfect situation. We have been extremely lucky.
BB: Have you met Billie Joe Armstrong or any of the other Green Day members in person?
Roger: Ha ha. I met Mike Dirnt when I was 15 years old. He came out to a show at the Great American Music Hall in San Fransisco to check out some bands I was traveling with at the time. That's the closest I've come to the Green Day guys. Dookie was the first cassette I ever bought. It was Blue. I remember cleaning my parents house and once I finally earned my allowance I bought the record and the next week I was listening to Longview in my bedroom pretty loud. My parents told me that it wasn't suitable for a 10 year old. I dug it out of the trash that week and never did my chores again. Ha ha.
BB: With all this recent success and publicity, is it hard to stay levelheaded? What’s your best advice for staying focused on your goals as a band?
Roger: Our goals are very reasonable so feeling successful is very easy for us. We take everything one foot in front of the other. One step at a time. It's easy to stay focused when we are so excited about all our accomplishments. I think that success in the arts in this era is all about celebrating your victories as they come down the line regardless of the size. We feel very lucky to have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time and definitely feel very indebted to everyone who is keeping their ear to the ground for us.
BB: How do you manage both Dandelion Snow and White Wives? Do you plan to continue your solo career?
Roger: My solo music is very important to me. In juxtaposition, it is amazingly rewarding to make music with people you love. I am very grateful to have White Wives. I think the project is extremely necessary for all of us at this point in our lives. As for Dandelion Snow I have a lot of big ideas in my head and a whole mess of songs. I know that it is important for me to stay really focused on the Wives right now. We have lots going on and I believe in what we’re doing very truly. I like this process to be very organic more solo music will come out when the tides are right.
BB: Lastly, what’s your favorite junk food while on tour?
Roger: Ha ha. Good question, I've been vegan for 8 years therefore eating well on the road is not the easiest thing for me. There are a lot of opportunities to party on the road. So I'm always balancing that out with keeping my head level. That is my junk food. Truthfully, I'm not an ideal candidate for this question, so let's ask Chris Head... "Swedish Fish & Hot Tamales, wash it down with Mountain Dew". Head always takes the late night drive shifts and I think junk food and indie rock records deliver us safely from city to city. Whatever keeps us safe.
The White Wives sound is transcendent of any one distinct genre. It has the great energy of a punk band, all the charisma of indie rock, and the creative hooks to make it sound fresh in the mainstream. “Happeners” is an eleven song album that feels like that long summer in your late teens or early twenties where you realize life isn’t fun and games anymore and you’re going to have to fight really hard to get a little something you can call your own. This theme is all too fitting with the first song on the album being called “Indian Summer”, a meteorological phenomenon where summer is still trying to hold its ground into the looming fall like how we all try to hold on to youth but change is inevitable. The album continues to take us on a journey through chin up punk anthems like “Sky Started Crying” and “Hungry Ghosts”; heart on your sleeve Roger Harvey ballads like “Spinning Wheels”, “Another City For A New Weekend”, and “Like A Runaway Slave” which echoes “nothing ever stays the same”; genre transcending tunes like “Grow So Wild & Free”; and downright catchy hook filled tunes like “Paper Chaser”. I believe sound bites are a dying art nowadays, so I also love the genius sound bites included in the album to accent the sentiment of several songs. In conclusion, it’s reassuring to know that the youth of America will be clinging to this album based on its epic sound but will get something deeper out of it through its intelligent and thoughtful lyrics. You can listen to “Happeners” online in its entirety at AbsolutePunk.net right now!