Andrew Stockdale on new Wolfmother music and the upcoming Uncaged Festival

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Andrew Stockdale on new Wolfmother music and the upcoming Uncaged Festival

andrew stockdale
Words by Peter Hodgson

Plus, he gives us a run down on the gear he uses and his thought process moving forward in his career

“It’s given everyone a focus to kind of like do something and get excited about,” Wolfmother wizard Andrew Stockdale says of the upcoming Uncaged festival hitting Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in March and April.

“Bands, and people in general, need something to look forward to, something to put your energy into and to focus on.”

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Covid willing, Uncaged will be the first festival for most of us since the pandemic hit and put a whole industry out of work, and in a sense it will be a real ‘getting the band back together’ moment for bands and fans alike.

Joining headliners Wolfmother are You Am I, Killing Heidi, Twelve Foot Ninja, Magic Dirt, The Getaway Plan, Tumbleweed, Bodyjar, End Of Fashion, The Hard Ons, The Meanies, and many more.

Stockdale is hoping that it becomes a foundational moment in Australia’s musical future, a Sunbury for today.

“The next Wolfmother, the next Hard Ons or any other band could be some kids going to the festival, and then it kind of reinvigorates the whole scene and the younger bands get their thing going. And it also helps people bring the spotlight back on the bands that inspire them as well. And there are a lot of benefits from an Australian festival getting an Australian lineup and having the confidence in local talent to pull the crowds and put on a great event.

Wolfmother of course have a catalogue of absolutely monster tracks to draw from, substantially beefed up recently with the independent release of album Rock Out and standalone single ‘Midnight Train.’

“With Rock Out I was like ‘What do these 80’s stadium artists get to write about? They just write some generic, fun statement and then build the song or around that’,” Stockdale muses. “And I realised I don’t wanna weigh myself down with some biographical recounting of some story and blah, blah, blah.

“What am I gonna write about? I’m 45. I’m being locked down. I got three kids. What the hell am I gonna write about that? So I wanted to go back to my childhood or the 80’s or whatever and just have a bit of fun and just try to write fricking stadium rock that is slightly amusing.”

So wait up. Did this 80’s influence extend to the choice of gear on Rock Out? Did the trusty SG get temporarily set aside for a Loch Ness Green Ibanez JEM, or a banana-yellow BC Rich Virgin?

“It’s funny you should say that because I did acquire an Ibanez RG, so I used that for a bit of it! But in terms of guitars and stuff it was also Fender Strat, Gibson SG, Explorer, Firebird, whatever I’ve got hanging on the wall.”

Perhaps surprisingly for those who might imagine Stockdale surrounded by raging amps and vintage tape machines at all times, good old Apple Garageband was crucial to the songwriting phase of Rock Out, built-in amp sims and all. Those demos ended up stashed privately on Soundcloud for about a year while Stockdale tried to decide what to do with them: release them as is? There were talks with labels about putting the recordings out. “And then eventually I was like, I’m just gonna rerecord this with the band up at my new space in Bango and get that live-band-in-a-room sort of vibe and put it out.

“In fact, the gap between finishing the record and releasing it was like well, that’s it.

“I was like, oh man, I’m irresponsible. You know, I’ve got kids, I’ve got, overheads. I should be signing a deal. I should be like doing this properly and blah, blah, blah. And then I’m like, I see the deal. I get the deal put.

“It’s like, okay, so this is a three album deal. And then I’m gonna wait eight months for it to come out. And then there’s gonna be an option after a year. So that eight months plus a year is two and a half years. And then I’m gonna have to wait another eight months for the label to exercise the option for the second round after then I go, I’ll be 50 by then!”

Since then though, Stockdale recorded ‘Midnight Train’ playing everything at home by himself, drums and all, and released the standalone song with no notice.

“I put it out and it got double the streams of everything on Rock Out in one week! I’ve become a firm believer in no rollout, no plan. Just churn it out and let the public make their mind up about it.

“And sure, you get some positive feedback on the song, make a film clip, put it in the set list, do a bit of press or whatever, but I’m over the whole force feeding of albums for eight months telling everyone it’s amazing. Adele can do that. I’d rather freaking write another song.

“I was talking to another artist about five months ago. And he said he’d made a new record that’s not coming out until July next year. I’m like, ‘So are you just waiting for some record plant in fricking Croatia to make 2,000 copies of your records to put out with a hoodie and now you’re gonna wait for a year for that to make X amount of dollars?’

“Like, dude.”

Uncaged Festival Dates

Saturday March 12 – Melbourne, Reunion Park
Saturday April 23 – Sydney, Hordern Pavilion & Surrounds
Saturday April 24 – Brisbane, Eatons Hill Hotel

Buy tickets here!