Laura Wilde sells her soul for rock 'n' roll

Young Aussie rocker making a name for herself
By Peter Lindblad

Laura Wilde is touring with Ted Nugent
and recording an LP in 2013
Winning over a crowd that’s come to see Ted Nugent is no mean feat. 

By sheer force of will, Aussie spitfire Laura Wilde and her band of sleazy, glammed-out rock ‘n’ roll outlaws did it, and she was asked back.

Wilde may not be a household name in the States, but she’s quickly gaining the kind of bad – that’s “bad” as in really, really good – reputation that Joan Jett has cultivated over years and years of musical rebellion. At 23, she’s already opened for the likes of Shinedown and Fuel, and when she was only 19, she moved to Los Angeles and recorded her debut album, Sold My Soul, a platter released by the Vice Grip Music Group that had a swagger and an attitude that older artists would give their eye teeth to get back.

A native of Melbourne, Australia, Wilde was a presenter for the Down Under TV show “Beat TV” and played in the “Australia’s Got Talent” house band, but she needed to spread her wings. Her desire to be a serious songwriter and performer was too strong to resist.

Influenced by the likes of Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Suzi Quatro, Wilde is looking forward to getting back in the studio later this year to create the follow-up to Sold My Soul. And there are plans for her to write a song with none other than Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler.

So get ready world. Wilde, chosen in 2012 as one of the 25 Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock” by Revolver magazine, may look all sweet and innocent, but she plays a mean guitar and those who underestimate her do so at their own peril. Wilde talked about her background, touring with Nugent and her plans for world domination in this recent interview.

The rest of 2013 promises to be pretty exciting for you, what with you planning on recording the follow-up to Sold My Soul and touring again with Ted Nugent. Are you where you thought you’d be in your music career by age 23?
Laura Wilde: I feel very grateful for the opportunities that I have had so far in this musical journey. I am so privileged to have been able to release my debut record last year and do three national tours opening for such amazing artists.

Where are you at in the process of making the next LP? Can you give us some idea of what it will sound like?
LW: I'm still in the writing phase of the next LP, continuing to add to the pool of material to select from. With the next record I'll be drawing more from my older influences but still keeping the punk-rock 'n' roll-glam fusion. 

You’re going to be writing a song with Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler. How did the idea for this collaboration come about? What excites you most about working with Geezer?
LW: I have been a huge fan of Black Sabbath for as long as I can remember. Their material is legendary and has stood the test of time. It's such an honor that he would consider collaborating with me.

When did you know you were going to be a songwriter? Does the process come easy for you or is it a struggle in some ways?
LW: I have been writing songs since I was about 8 or 9 years old; they weren't exactly fabulous, but I have always used the songwriting process as a creative outlet. I find that some songs can pretty much write themselves if you're really in the zone, but otherwise, it can be a struggle. For me, it's best to just let the process flow naturally and come back to something later if you get stuck.

Listening to the song “Sold My Soul,” you seem to have fallen in love with America. You moved to this country when you were 19. What was that experience like, and how did it influence that song?
LW: It was so freaky leaving for the airport and pondering the fact that I had a one-way ticket to Los Angeles and would be over there indefinitely. I was so excited to be moving over to the United States; however, nothing can really adequately prepare you to leave behind your family and friends. "Sold My Soul" was written in that euphoric state that I was in after moving to America and mentions all of the places that i wanted to visit whilst on tour.

Being from Australia, what do you think of the rock ‘n’ roll scene in this country, as opposed to your homeland?
LW: The Australian pub culture brings along certain elements of a rough-and-tumble camaraderie that is very conducive to writing rock music. Australia has given birth to rock 'n' roll greats such as AC/DC, Jet, Wolfmother, Silverchair and INXS. America has a different history and different influences entirely. Also, America has a far greater population and therefore a greater mix of different genres.

Australia has such a fascinating musical history, but it’s one that’s always been a bit of mystery to Americans it seems. If there’s one thing U.S. audiences should know about Australian rock ‘n’ roll, what do you think that is? Do you feel any kind of responsibility to open doors for other Aussie acts in the States?
LW: Australia, over a long period of time, has amassed a cultural fusion from many different parts of the world. This, of course, applies to our music scene, too. Our rock 'n' roll has a certain sound that is inherited from many different influences. Our Australian rock 'n' roll forefathers certainly paved the road to international success for the rest of us, so there is naturally a responsibility to pay it forward to other Aussie artists. 

You’ve toured with Shinedown and Fuel. What did you learn from those experiences?
LW: Being selected to open for Shinedown and tour with Fuel was such an honor, but with such incredible opportunities, the pressure is really on! It makes you really step up and work a lot harder to deliver a high standard if you are going to be sharing the stage with such industry greats. 

What’s your favorite memory of touring with Ted Nugent from the first tour? Is he at all different from the public persona we’re used to seeing?
LW: The best memory of touring with Ted Nugent last summer would have to be the Ohio Rib-Fest in Maumee. We were able to sample all of the delicious local food and the turnout for the show was huge! I think they counted about 15,000 people. Being able to perform to that sized crowd was the most amazingly surreal experience. Ted is a larger-than-life character who is passionate about music and has been a pleasure to work with. It has been an honor to share the stage with him.

How did the Nugent crowd receive your material?
LW: Initially, last year it took the first half of our set to win over Ted Nugent's audience. Usually, by the end of the show, everyone was getting into it and having a great time. This year we have had a far warmer reception from the start of the set, which has been a lot of fun!

Talk about the making of Sold My Soul. What was the toughest song to record and what song most represents what you’re all about?
LW: Sold My Soul was recorded over a four-year time period. The first song, "All Alone," was recorded in 2008, when I had just finished high school in Melbourne and the last track, "Sold My Soul,: was done in Los Angeles. The title track, I found, was the most challenging as I played all of the instruments and produced it myself. But overall I really enjoyed every step of the process, from writing the songs to recording demos to the production of the whole thing.

You’ve done some TV work, playing in the house band for “Australia’s Got Talent” and being a presenter on “Beat TV.” What did you enjoy about it, and ultimately, do they help turn people on to the kind of traditional rock ‘n’ roll that you love? 
LW: These opportunities were such a wonderful experience as I was able to stretch myself musically by playing a vast range of styles and having the chance to experiment with different sounds. It was great to be able to see the scene from a different perspective by interviewing other artists.

How did being included in Revolver magazine’s “Hottest Chicks of Hard Rock” 2012 affect your career? 

LW: Being selected to be in Revolver magazine's "25 Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock" was such an honor, especially when I saw the company I was in! It was very helpful in increasing the awareness about my music and the tour schedule at the time.

You’ve cited Jimmy Page, Slash, Hendrix and Suzy Quatro as some of your influences. What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to, and who do you wish you’d seen play live in their prime? 

LW: Dave Grohl's Sound City Players' concert was one of the best live shows that I've seen so far. It was the coming together of so many different legendary artists, everyone from Dave Grohl to Stevie Nicks to John Fogerty and many more. I would have loved to have seen Elvis in his prime. That would be an epic show! He remains the "King of Rock 'N' Roll."
What’s the plan beyond 2013? How do you envision your career unfolding from here on out?
LW: That's the funny thing about life ... it's all a big mystery! The current wish list is just to be able to expand on what we've done so far. To be able to write and release more music and perhaps even eventually tour internationally would be a dream!

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