» Contact Us
» Advertise With Us
» Newspaper Ads
The Wallflowers return from unexpectedly long hiatus
The Wallflowers are back in full bloom again -- but for awhile it looked like that would never be the case again.
The Los Angeles-based group -- best known for its quadruple platinum 1996 album "Bringing Down the Horse" and its Grammy Award-winning hit "One Headlight" -- decided to take some time off after its 2005 release "Rebel, Sweetheart." The band members never felt they were breaking up, but as keyboardist Rami Jaffee notes, "The problem was the break kept going."
Nevertheless, frontman Jakob Dylan -- who formed the Wallflowers with Jaffee in 1989 -- says he never worried that the group was over.
"Knowing everybody as well as I do, I knew we weren't done," says Dylan, 42, who's the youngest of the four children from Bob Dylan's first marriage. "We had a good, healthy break and got a little distance and a little appreciation for all of us to realize what a good thing it is to have the collaborative possibilities with the band and people you've been with for a long time.
"It was just a question of time."
Now, of course, Dylan can tell any doubters he told them so. The Wallflowers released their sixth album, "Glad All Over," last month and are currently on tour to support it. But Dylan acknowledges it took some doing to execute, primarily because of the situations the band members got themselves into during the time off -- particularly Dylan himself, who released a pair of solo albums, and Jaffee, who did a slew of session work and became an adjunct member of Foo Fighters.
"We've been trying for the last year and a half," Dylan says with a laugh. "It was a lot of work getting everybody to find the time. We all wanted to go but you take on commitments when you take those breaks. People find things to do and get busy.
"Because of our schedules, we weren't able to get together beyond the telephone or a dinner here and there. We weren't able to make much music until we got to January of this year."
Nevertheless, Jaffee maintains, "The break...was a blessing in disguise. It made us so much more hungry to have a good time." That happened when the band -- Dylan, Jaffee, longtime bassist Greg Richling and new members Jack Irons (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam) on drums and Stuart Mathis on guitar -- hit a Nashville studio with producer Jay Joyce to make "Glad All Over."
"If we were going to start again, we had to let it break open," Dylan says. "What that means for us was to be spontaneous, bring the joy back into the group. We had to go back and start referencing, listening to the rock 'n' roll music we liked when we began.
"I wasn't positive how it was going to work out, to be honest. But the first day we got back together to play music, it felt right, and I started to feel good about it."
Dylan was also stoked to have the Clash's Mick Jones, a personal hero, join the Wallflowers for two of "Glad All Over's" songs -- including the first single, "Reboot the Mission," which addresses the group's reunion.
"It would be preposterous for me to say ('Reboot the Mission') doesn't sound like the Clash. That was our intent. I even mention Joe Strummer in the song," Dylan says. "So we thought, 'Let's take it all the way home and see if we can't get Mick to participate somehow. I've met him a handful of times throughout the years and just saw him when he played in L.A. with Big Audio Dynamite...so he was fresh on my mind.
"He had mentioned doing something together, so I just called and he was into it."
The good news coming out of the sessions is that the Wallflowers atypically recorded more songs than they needed, which means a head start on a next album. There's every intention of making that happen, too, according to Dylan and Jaffee, making the Wallflowers a going concern that they hope won't spend another seven years apart.
"We want this to be four to eight years solid, pumping out records and touring and building this again," Jaffee says. "We want to build a new generation of fans who can grow with us from here." Dylan adds that the group "doesn't feel spent at all. I've done records before where we're exhausted, nothing left in the tank. I could do one again next week if we could.
"I feel like the band is more fired-up now than we've ever been," he says. "It was such a relief to know we could go in with confidence and (make an album) in a different way that we hadn't done before. It's very encouraging."
The Wallflowers and Traper Schoepp & the Shades perform Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $28 day of show and $55 for mezzanine. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
Send your thoughts and comments to