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A Conversation with Wes Wehmiller – by Cyndi Glass

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?

WES: Yes.

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