Tag Archives: Those Darlins

Interview: Henry Wagons

Once upon a time – a couple months ago actually – I met a man. I met a big, tall, Aussie man who gave me a towel.

His name was Henry Wagons. He was the opening act at a Those Darlins show I attended and caught me completely by surprise, not just because he gave me a towel but also because he was an amazing artist.

Throughout his set he talked about his band back home, Wagons, that he had to leave behind due to the cost of traveling.

I was intrigued and wanted to hear more of this band, so after his set I grabbed myself a copy of The RIse And Fall Of Goodtown.  Henry was happy to sell me a CD and also chatted with me throughout the night. Turns out he is a big deal in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia.

Henry was a cool cool man and I should add that CD I purchased from him was amazing.

Recently, I was able to catch up with Henry and talk about him and complete randomness:

BHP: The name Henry Wagons is not that well known in the states yet but that is a different story in your homeland correct?

HW – Its true. I think I’m on the D-list back at home. My band does quite well in Australia and I’m a presenter on a TV show so I have enough of a profile to expect to get invited to celebrity filled premieres, but never actually get invited.

Tell me a little bit about yourself…

I’m a Gemini. I like to go to the movies. I’m organized but not a neat freak. I love holidays sipping pina-coladas on a hammock but rarely make it out onto the sand.

Good enough, so how did you get your start as a musician?

I started playing music quite late. I only got into playing the guitar after I finished high school. I became friends with stoner Pink Floyd fans at college, and they couldn’t really talk, so I learned some licks.

In the early days I played in a couple of noise/jam bands, then kinda wanted to try my hand at more traditional song-writing, so found my way through my Mum’s record collection and became fascinated with the likes of Johnny Cash, Tom Jones, Rod Stewart and other manly singers.

Can you give me a brief history on how your band, Wagons, was united?

I went to school with most of them. I was the only one who did my homework.

I started Wagons as a kinda throw away recording project, making a little tape of country songs in which I played all the instruments. I cut and pasted the covers together. Really lo-fi 4 track recordings. I wanted to play them live at a local open mike night at a metal/hardcore pub. I asked my mates to help me out. We got offered our first gig out of open mic night and there seems to have been enough momentum and good times since then to keep it all going. Who knew?

We all take it quite a bit more seriously now and are thankful that people still want to hear us play. I think it really helps to have humble beginnings and relatively low expectations to keep things in perspective.

Pic by Michael Christian
Pic by Michael Christian

How would you describe Wagons to someone who has never heard of them before?

Imagine if Elvis, Johnny Cash, Nick Cave, Dick Clarke, John Wayne and John Forgery all had a child together, and that child was a fat, over-excited nerd. How cool would that be! What was the question?

No idea.  Who are your major influences?

See the proud parents above.

When we spoke outside of the Beachland Tavern weeks back, you mentioned a few things that had me thinking. First off, you were talking about a Visa is needed in the states to perform?

Its true. A lot of bands slip into the country under the radar, but we did this last trip on the books. The performance visa cost us $2.5K. That’s a lotta burgers.

Luckily we are in a position to afford that kinda outlay, but I feel sorry for smaller bands wanting to play in the States for the first time, before you have too much happening at home.

You also mentioned that your homeland helps pay for performing out of country? How exactly does that work?

There is so much red tape you could bind and gag Elvis’ entire fan club.

You basically fill out forms and prove you are a real band, doing good work and, thankfully, government arts funding is there for you.

I understand you left your entire band back home because it was too expensive to fly everyone out. Did you save up for this? Will you be able to do it again, maybe with more of the band?

I definitely want to be able to bring the band over. Wagons music is made to a pretty grand scale, so it would make sense to have a beat behind it.

It is expensive to come over to the US. You can imagine the flights themselves for five band members is thousands and thousands of dollars, let alone transport, food and accommodation.

I’ve come over as an ambassador for the band, to get a feel for whether our stuff might work. I feel good about it. I think, provided I don’t cover my floors in plasma screen dancefloors we will be able to bring the rest of the boys next time.

How important is this solo tour for you?

As much as I love having the boys around, I do love playing solo. I can settle into a long and boring story on stage with a guitarist telling me to shut up.

What was it like going from big crowds in Melbourne to opening for bands like Those Darlins to smaller crowds? Did you feel you were right back where you started?

I try to give my all no matter how many people are there. I’ve felt that way since day one. When it comes down to it, I feel it’s a honor to have anyone’s attention. I’m always going to respect that by putting on a show for em.

Besides, I’m always playing Madison Square Garden when I close my eyes.

What is so different about the American lifestyle you like / hate?

The excellent junk food is a constant source of pleasure and horror. There is nothing I like better than sinking my teeth into the local junk food specialty, be it Chicago pizza, Philly cheese steak, Portland Voodoo donut etc. You guys do guilty pleasure food soooo well it kills me. Problem is, it is also killing me.

What are some of your favorites here in the states?

My favorite roadside chains are: Cracker Barrel, Chipotle, and Starbucks.

Each of these guys brought me so much joy for different reasons.

How are the accommodations during your visit?

Accommodation has been great. I has gotten to know the Day’s Inn franchise very well across the country. When I see those weather beaten white glowing signs out the front of a 70’s yellow brick motel I feel like I’m home again.

In your opinion, do you think Americans dress funny?

Ronald McDonald dresses pretty weird.

How did you get hooked up with Those Darlins? I understand the Cleveland show was the first night you played with them. Who were you performing with prior to that show?

I met Those Darlins at SXSW last year, and we were going to do a tour with them. It was all locked in…we even did a photo shoot together and were on the covers of magazines back home in preparation for the shows (ask Matt to give you the pics!!). Then Nikki broke her arm and had to pull out of the show!! Was a great shame it didn’t work out. But, despite the adversity, Wagons and Those Darlins have been friends ever since.

Before Those Darlins I played a few shows with Justin Townes Earle and Bobby Bare Jr. Both amazing American songwriters and performers!

How long was your trip to the states? How many cities did you play?

I was in the US for about 3 and a half weeks, visiting 13 towns all, across the country. Planes, trains and automobiles. I gather it’s not a massive tour by US standards, but we got around a bit for our first time here.

How have the crowds been during your opening performances?

I was a little worried about playing the opening slot. I haven’t been the warm up guy for quite a while. I was hoping I hadn’t lost my mojo for getting the crowd to be quiet and listen to what’s going on. As it turns out, everyone has been great and quite respectful. Maybe everyone is straining to understand what the hell it is I’m saying in my weird accent. Whatever the reason….I’m not fussy.

Was there any one city that seems to favor you over another?

Justin Townes Earle’s bass player Josh gave me a bag of bacon and choc chip cookies in Bellingham, WA. That city stands out for that reason.

I understand you headed to the UK? What went on over there?

Mostly fantastic Sunday roasts with Yorkshire pudding, Jammy Dodgers, Jaffa cakes, soggy but good fish n chips, pear ciders and cold weather. Playing a couple a gigs in London too. It’s mostly a holiday, but I’m playing over here a little bit before a run of shows back in Australia over Summer. Gotta record a record over New Year’s sometime too!

Is there anything here in the states you look at and shake your head at? Meaning are there major cultural differences you have noticed?

I shook my head when I was crossing the border into Canada and they asked if I was carrying any weapons.

You have a certain upfront humor that I loved but could offend someone easily. Has anyone taken your jokes the wrong way yet?

Someone once asked me the same question as you, with the addition that he was almost going to ram me into the drum-kit behind me. ‘Almost’ was the operative word. A lot of people almost get offended.

Do you have any fun stories you wish to share?

I’m an avid Tweeter and Facebooker – I wear glasses…I’m a nerd. I have shared a lot of my stupid happenings on there. Befriend me! I swear virtually befriending me is probably better than the real thing!

Why should someone check out Henry Wagons and the music he makes?

Because they have finished their daily chores, logged off their email, called their mom, walked their dog, starting to get bored and are looking for something absolutely fucking mind-blowing to do.

Check out Henry Wagons on FACEBOOK and MYSPACE and even TWITTER.

Concert Review: Those Darlins / Turbo Fruits / Henry Wagons – Beachland Tavern – Cleveland, OH – 09/21/2010

Face it, the Beachland Tavern was really not that heavily packed last night, but every music lover that set foot in that bar for the Those Darlins / Turbo Fruits / Henry Wagons show all were treated to an amazing evening of music.

Three bands with three different backgrounds played the small stage not caring one bit how many tickets were sold. They were there to rock out and have fun with their fans, and that is exactly what happened.

It’s been about a year since Nashville’s Those Darlins graced Cleveland with their beauty, not to mention their amazing music making abilities.  The ladies had a rough start to the summer when one of the Darlins took a tumble at a Southern Ohio music festival breaking her arm.  This was just a small set back but their ladies (and drummer Lynn) had to take an unwanted break.  Just a few months later the band regrouped, recorded a second album to be released in 2011, and hit the road doing what they love to do best.

If anyone knows something about the man behind BHP (you know, the guy who writes all this stuff) it is one thing: BHP hearts Those Darlins.  I saw them 4 times alone last year.  Overly impressed with their sound and live show-woman-ship, I never missed a show.  Needless to say when I discovered they were coming back to the Beachland, I made plans to be there.  I was excited to see them and hear perhaps a new song or two (more on that in a bit) but what I did not expect was the surprise that was the opening act, a man named Henry Wagons.

The moment I walked into the tavern I looked at the stage and there he was, a 6-foot tall Australian man with an acoustic guitar in hand.  With shaggy hair, glasses, mustache and a sweet green headband he was already playing a song to the minimal crowd that seemed to suckle around the edges of the bar.  He sung with an outlaw country vibe that immediately caught my attention.  I felt I was listening to an Aussie version of Waylon Jennings but also had an amazing sense of humor.  He called out the crowd a few times, made reference to the longest walk ever he experienced at Cleveland-Hopkins Airport and ended his songs with comedic heavily acted strums to his guitar.

Playing his own rendition of Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler”, or so he said, the crowd went crazy for it.  I laughed when Henry Wagons said just before playing the song , “I wanna be like Kenny Rogers in another 10 to 15 years,” and also commenting that he lacks the silver-lining at the current moment.  Another track he played had him screaming “Willie Nelson” over and over, it was amazing.

The winning song of his set to me was a cover of “Never Been To Spain”, a classic Elvis song that was in fact, not written by Elvis.  While playing his set he commented that he was just one man from his band back home called Wagons and that it was his first trip to the states as well as his first night with Those Darlins and Turbo Fruits.  After taking to his manager, who was touring with him later in the evening, I learned that they could not afford to have the whole band come over this time around but hope to change that next time they go on tour.  After buying a Wagons CD after his set and listening to it on the way home all I have to say is this: I can not wait till Wagons plays the states.  The CD is incredible.

Up next was another Nashville act called Turbo Fruits.  They were a blend of Nashville and Detroit that was overly impressive, think Hank Williams meets Detroit Cobras.  They had 50’s riffs in some songs and dipped into a blues feel during other tracks that had me almost overanalyzing them at times.  My conclusion of them was simple though, they were a kick ass band that really put on a show.  I especially enjoyed “Dreams For Sale” and “Volcano” and even went so far as to grabbing their LP after the show to check them out some more.

Finally the headliners of the evening, Those Darlins, took to the stage.  This time around there were five folk on stage, the three Darlins, drummer Lynn, and some other dude.  One would assume that they have a touring guitarist to help out with their shows or perhaps even help Nikki Darlin with some of the guitar duties seeing how she did break her arm in half as mentioned earlier.

Regardless, Those Darlins wasted no time jumping into their set starting off with “Who’s That Knocking At My Window”, a familiar track to most of the crowd.  They sounded just as amazing as the previous times I saw them, if not better.  They looked happy to be up on the stage and aimed to make sure all were going to have a good time.

Things soon changed for the good when the band decided to play a series of new songs from their upcoming release.  With no setlist guiding their performance the girls would shout out the names of the songs and jump into them.  Playing tracks like “Boys”, “Be A Brother”, and “Waste Away” it was clear that their sound had taken a turn from the country/punk feel their first album displayed so well.

Their new material mixed up 70’s rock with indie rock yet did not drop the sound where they came from.  It was a good sound that all in the house went crazy for.  I know I am not the only one excited for their upcoming release.  To make matters even better, Lynn was providing back-up vocals on some of the tracks while Nikki focused on her singing duties losing the guitar.  Every time the girls announced a new song was being played the crowd just stood their in great anticipation for what was going to come next.  I can honestly admit that there was not one new song they played that I did not like and I was not the only one who felt that way.  These girls were turning heads at the Beachland and it was not just from their good looks.

Wrapping up their set they played “Red Light Love”, “Wild One” and “Night Jogger”, a new track off their recently released 7″ split with Funsticks, a Jesse Darlin and Lynnwood side project.  Making things even more fun they played the Funsticks song that appears on the 45 as well.  Yeah, I might have picked one of those up al well…

This was one of the better shows I have been to as a whole seeing that I enjoyed all three bands that played.  I can not even tell you the last time that I was this entertained by acts I had never heard of before.  I went in there looking for a country/rock night and left with a whole other experience.  Henry Wagons and the new material by Those Darlins were the major winners for me.

To think I almost skipped out on that show too.  I am so glad I talked myself out of it.  Totally worth it.

Contest: Win A Pair Of Tickets To The 9/21 Those Darlins Show & Their Night Jogger 7″!!!

Update: Contest is CLOSED!  Congrats to Gretchen for snagging up the Those Darlins prize pack courtesy of Oh Wow Dang Records!  Have fun at the show!!!

I have a pair of tickets to the upcoming Those Darlins show at the Beachland Tavern on 9/21 for one lucky winner.  I will also toss in freshly pressed copy of the their recently released Night Jogger 7″ as well.  See below for how to win…

Those Darlins are back at it again.  The trio of fine, fun ladies and drummer Lynn are back on the road looking for a good time nightly in various cities across the good ol’ USA.  Recently the band dropped a split 7″ featuring a new Those Darlins track on one side and a Funstix track on the other.  This is just a small taste of their new album which is scheduled to drop in early 2011.

Head over to the Those Darlins revamped web page for a listen at both tracks and even score yourself a free download of “Night Jogger” for a limited time.

Better yet demand that all of your friends head up to the Beachland Tavern with you on 9/21 to check out these country/punk darlings and Turbo Fruit.  It is going to be a good time and your help is needed to bring the party.  If you do not, you are missing out.  How do I know?  Because I have been there, done that, and would not mind doing it all over again – in fact I will be there (please hold your comments).  Their shows are not to be missed so just get your butt up there ok?

So how do you win?

All you have to do is comment below and make sure you enter a valid email address.  One winner will be chosen randomly to win a pair of tickets to the 9/21 Cleveland show and a 7″ of Night Jogger.

This is for the Cleveland, Ohio show only so I need to keep this contest local.  This contest was made possible buy the amazing folk at Oh Wow Dang Records.  I will pick a winner on this Saturday Monday evening, so hurry up and throw down a comment!!!

Tour Dates (in case you were wondering…):

9/10 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl #
9/11 – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle #
9/12 – Myrtle Beach, SC – Island Bar
9/14 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506 #
9/15 – Washington DC – Black Cat #
9/16 – New York City – Bowery Ballroom #
9/17 – Cambridge, MA – T.T. the Bear’s #
9/18 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl #
9/19 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie (early show) #
9/19 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie (late show) #
9/21 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Tavern $
9/22 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall $
9/23 – Pygmalion Festival – Champaign-Urbana
9/24 – Iowa City, IA – The Mill $
9/25 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon $
9/26 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue @ 7th St. Entry $
9/28 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown $
9/29 – Lincoln, NE – Lincoln Calling
9/30 – Kansas City, KS – The Record Bar $

10/2 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
10/7 – Dallas, TX – Sons of Hermann Hall %
10/8 – Austin City Limits Festival
10/8 – ACL After Party @ Emo’s +
10/9 – Laredo, TX – Old No. 2

# W/The Strange Boys & Gentleman Jesse and His Men
$ W/Turbo Fruits
% W/The Soft Pack
+ w/The Black Lips

An Important Message From Those Darlins…

An important message form the fine fine ladies in Those Darlins (and Linwood):


Those Darlins here. We have a new website and along with it a new 7″, new T-shirts, and new tour dates. Let us know what you think.

Short, simple, and sweet just like Jessi, Nikki, and Kelley Darlin.  The 7″ titled Nightjogger is only $5 and is a preview of their forthcoming sophomore release (can’t wait!!!).

I love the cover and know what it is all about.  Do you?  The vinyl is actually a split with Funstix, a Jessi and Linwood side-project. For more info and to purchase the 7″ along with some other rocking merch head over to ThoseDarlins.com.

The girls and Linwood are current on tour once again and will be making a stop in Cleveland.  If you have not seen them yet now is your chance…  I am highly considering making the trek down to Louisville to see them play with Trampled By Turtles.

24 – Nashville, TN @ Billups Art Gallery (Heavy Cream release show)
27 – Morning View, KY @ Whispering Beard Folk Festival

8 – Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree #
9 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl #
10 – Atlanta GA @ The Earl #
11 – Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle #
12 – Myrtle Beach, SC @ Drink
14 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 #
15 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat #
16 – New York, NY@ The Bowery Ballroom #
17 – Boston, MA @ TT The Bears #
19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie # (early show)
20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie # (late show)
21 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern %
22 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall %
23 – Urbana, IL @ Independent Media Center – Pygmalion Fest
24 – Iowa City, IA @ The Mill %
25 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon %
26 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry %
28 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown Front Room %
29 – Lincoln, NE @ Lincoln Calling
30 – Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar %

1 – Columbia, MO @ Roots n’ Blues n’ BBQ Fest
2 – Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall &
7 – Dallas, TX @ Sons of Hermann Hall *
8 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Festival
9 – Laredo, TX @Old No. 2

# w/ The Strange Boys & Gentleman Jesse
% w/Turbo Fruits
& w/Trampled By Turtles
* w/ The Soft Pack

Those Darlins Return To Cleveland!

You didn’t think I actually forgot about Those Darlins now did you?  I admit it has been quite some time since I talked about the band I was pretty much obsessed over in 2009.  After all I only saw them four times live and probably posted way too much about them but whatever…I like to share what I love.

Those Darlins have not really been around these skirts of town in a while.  Earlier in the year they played a folk festival down in Southern Ohio but I was unable to make it there.  Sadly Nikki Darlin broke her left forearm in two places while there forcing the band to cancel their tour.  If you want the full story of what happened click HERE.

Honestly I am not sure they have even been to Cleveland yet this year.

Well that is all about to change as Those Darlins have set a date for a Cleveland show.  So mark your calenders on September 21st and head on over to the Beachland Tavern to see one of my favorite acts do their thing.

Opening for them is rock act Turbo Fruits hailing from Tennessee, home of the Darlins too.  It’s going to be a great night.  Cowboy boots optional.