Tour ‘97’s New Face: A Conversation with Wes Wehmiller
by Cyndi Glass
PRIVACY: What was it like playing with Duran Duran in the 1997 tour?
WES: I’m sure that anyone in my position would say the same thing….. There’s nothing like playing music you like in front of several thousand screaming fans.
PRIVACY: What kind of gear did you use on the tour?
WES: Ernie Ball, Sadowsky, & Fender Basses, SWR Amplifiers, Ernie Ball Strings
PRIVACY: We’ve heard that you’re a John Taylor fan – what was it like to play with Duran and play some of that old material you’ve heard all these years?
WES: It was especially thrilling to play the material in which John’s bass lines are a big part of the “hook”…. Girls On Film, Rio, Is There Anyone Out There, Friends Of Mine……
PRIVACY: Who came up with the new arrangement of Secret Oktober?
WES: Warren, as far as I know.
PRIVACY: How were the older songs (Careless Memories, Is There Anyone Out There, Secret Oktober) chosen?
WES: I remember rehearsing a bunch of “classics” and weeding out the ones that seemed appropriate.
PRIVACY: Did Warren enjoy playing them?
PRIVACY: How did you like doing backup vocals – is it difficult to sing and play at the same time?
WES: When I first started working with the band, I didn’t expect to be handed such a big role in the backing-vocal department. I ended up enjoying it more than I’ve ever enjoyed singing in the past. I’m still a novice in that area, but last year’s tour turned out to be great experience.
PRIVACY: How did the Duranies treat you?
WES: Great,… at least, the ones that I met. I don’t think I want to know what they’re REALLY saying about me…..
PRIVACY: Was your family really excited to see you on Jay Leno/Rosie, etc?
WES: I could always count on them to have everything taped.
PRIVACY: Do you know if Duran is planning to tour this summer?
WES: Nothing planned,… but, anything’s possible.
PRIVACY: How is playing a Duran show different from playing a WC solo show?
WES: I don’t think you have to be on stage to figure out that these two situations are different for a player. Warren’s solo gigs are unique for me becausethere’s an incredible amount of “playing” involved… That’s one of about thousand differences.I’ve always been a huge fan of Warren’s writing. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to pin-point similarities between his solo writing and his writing in DD. He’s a very open-minded and versatile writer.
PRIVACY: What are your favorite Duran songs to play?
WES: Out Of My Mind, Save A Prayer, My Antarctica (didn’t get to do that one)
PRIVACY: Were there any Duran songs that you have enjoyed playing over the years that they didn’t do on the tour?
WES: Absolutely. When I was 13 or 14, my favorite tune was “New Moon On Monday.” I remember pleading my case in rehearsal only to get laughed at.
PRIVACY: Now for the full Duran treatment (haha): what are your favorites:
Movie – Falling Down
TV Show – “The Larry Sanders Show” (HBO)
Color – Yellow (not that I’d put on yellow pants)
Foods – Indian food
Vacation Spot – Yosemite
Way to spend a day off – Playing hockey
What kinds of music and TV shows did you like growing up? – Too embarrassing
PRIVACY: Tell us about your current projects.
WES: My current project is laying low and trying to be as productive as I can…..without leaving the house.
PRIVACY: Where did you come up with the name “I,Claudius”
WES: “I, Claudius” is named after a play/TV series about an emperor of Rome…. That’s as much as I know.
PRIVACY: There has been some confusion about where you went to school due to phone interviews where things weren’t spelled out – was it Berklee in Boston or Berkeley in SF?
WES: Hah!….. that would be….. Berklee in Boston.
PRIVACY: Describe the members of Duran, three words each. 😉
WES: Yikes! I think I’m gonna have to fold on this one. I’m not THAT creative. Give me a few years,… I’ll work on it.
PRIVACY: Describe yourself, in three words.
WES: Obsessive compulsive disorder