Have you ever wondered what Pink Floyd's album "The Wall" would sound like if it were recorded country style? This idea may not have occurred to you but bluegrass country group Luther Wright And The Wrongs decided the time had come to record the classic album with the twang of a banjo and familiar barnyard sounds. Now that we have peaked your curiosity, you are invited to discover this unique band in our exclusive interview with lead singer Luther Wright.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your band mates?
"I've been playing music for about 12 years. I also play in another band called Weeping Tile with fellow Canadian singer Sarah Harmer. During the time I was performing with Weeping Tile, we started talking about putting together a country group, which would include me, our drummer Cam Giroux and our road manager Sean Kelly who plays bass. I had written many country songs over the years and wanted to have a band to play them with. We gathered up a few musicians and started performing together. Weeping Tile took some time off and Luther Wright And The Wrongs became a full time project.
What were you doing before joining the group?
I always played music but I worked in the film industry, doing lighting and production. I also traveled quite a bit to Mexico and Central America. The rest of the members are skilled musicians since they studied it in school. I'm the songwriter so I don't know anything about music. We were all performing in different bands and we used to help each other since there are not that many bands in ontario. That's how we came together.
Why did you decide to re-interpret a Pink Floyd album? Is there a reason that you chose The Wall instead of their other albums?
"The Wall is the only one that works because there is a country album hidden away in there. It's the way the songs are written and the themes. It's all about sad broken heart stories. It's very lyrical as well. We did look into other Pink Floyd albums but there was no country in them. We basically wanted to put the Floyd back in Pink Floyd."
How long did it take for you to get Roger Waters consent and what was your reaction when he gave you the go ahead?
"It took a couple of months. We sent him a copy of the finished version of the album with a letter that I wrote explaining that they have a country record. We received an e-mail from Roger, which said that he approved of the project and wishes us luck. We were very happy. We basically did this as a musical challenge.
What kind of reaction are you getting from fans?
"It's been going over great. There are a few detractors but people like it. It's a lot of fun. It's nice to play for a large variety of folks. We've got teenagers, people in their twenties to people in their fifties attending our shows. We're kind of like punk rock country guys and people seem to enjoy our music, especially at folk festival shows.
Other than Pink Floyd, who are your musical inspirations?
"I think right now, we would have to say Roger Miller and Shaggy."
What do you like about Shaggy?
"What don't I like about Shaggy. The guy is great. That thing he does with his voice. Roger Miller is a great songwriter. The old style country stuff has been a great influence on us. We listen to a wide variety of genres. We listen to stuff like pop rock, hip hop and punk."
Being Pink Floyd fans, have you ever played their style of progressive rock music?
" No, we've never played that style of music. We stick to country. The only genre of bending we do is throwing in some reggae now and then because they balance well together. We spent a month in Jamaica learning to play The Wall songs. We learned one track at a time. While we were down there, we got a heavy dose of dance hall music as well so we use that sometimes.
Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with someday?
"I would have to say Beck. It would be cool if he could produce a record for us. There are some great Canadian artists such as singer/songwriter Jenny Whiley, O' Susana is a wonderful songwriter. I would also like to do something with Prince Charles. He is going to be the next King so any in we can get on that would be great. I like to hob-knob. I'm never gonna be wealthy enough and it's sometimes fashionable to have starving artists hanging around, right?"
What is the biggest highlight of your career so far?
"Minnie Driver was at one of our shows. She was smiling at me and I waved to her thinking she was an old friend of mine. Harrison Ford also showed up. one of the band members is a huge Star Wars freak so he was really excited to see him. Playing with Sarah Harmer is always fun as well.
What do you like best about Montreal?
"The subtle vibe on the street, the nightlife, the way people dress and the fact that men in Montreal actually dance, unlike the men in ontario. That's been my observation."
What's next for Luther Wright And The Wrongs?
"Our album Rebuilding the Wall will be released in the U.S. on a small record label in April. We're gonna do weekend shows in ontario and Quebec through the winter months and are getting ready to record a new all original album with Sarah Harmer.