Wallflowers Stand Tall Through 'Red Letter Days'

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

"I don't mean to be blunt, but I think this is a great f***ing record," Wallflowers frontman Jakob Dylan exclaims of the band's fourth and newest set, "Red Letter Days," due Nov. 5 via Interscope.

Not unlike the chorus of the album's first single -- the bouncy, electronica-peppered "When You're on Top," which finds Dylan proclaiming "I feel fine with the sun in my eyes, the wind in my hair" -- Dylan is confident about his band and its latest disc. And he has every reason to be. Dylan, bassist Greg Richling, drummer Mario Calire, and keyboardist Rami Jaffe have stepped up to the musical plate with an effecting, soulful album.

"This is the kind of record that makes me want to stand on top of a mountain and say, 'Hey, listen to this,'" Richling says with a laugh. "I've been proud of all the records we've put out. I love ['Breach'], and I wish more folks got to hear it. The process [for recording 'Red Letter Days'] was so enjoyable. Everything flowed, and most of the ideas that came out were the right ones."

Songwriting sessions for the tracks that would eventually appear on "Red Letter Days" were often impromptu. Making good use of downtime while on tour in 2000, Dylan began penning tunes in the dressing rooms, showers, and loading docks of concert venues. In the midst of playing nonstop tour dates, the band found time to come together to flesh out his templates and begin making demos. "[Dylan] would come in with the melody and progression and some lyrics," Richling explains, "and we would start coloring things in with our parts and experimenting as a band."

The resulting 12 tracks, recorded with former Wallflowers member-turned-producer Tobias Miller, as well as Bill Appleberry, juxtapose shimmering pop melodies and gate-crashing rock anthems against restrained, cool, and introspective lamentations. While "Closer to You" builds a shuffling pace around subtle shades of piano and Dylan's just-smoked-a-pack whisper, the band is never afraid to turn on a dime and kick out such muscular rock numbers as "Too Late to Quit" or "Everybody out of the Water" to prove it has the heart and the grit of a seasoned outfit.

Gearing up for a November tour, the Wallflowers will keep busy with appearances on "Late Night With David Letterman," "Last Call With Carson Daly," and "The Daily Show With John Stewart" this month.

Here are the Wallflowers' upcoming tour dates:

Nov. 20: Englewood, Col. (Gothic Theatre)
Nov. 22: Minneapolis (Quest Club)
Nov. 23: Chicago (House Of Blues)
Nov. 24: Milwaukee (The Rave)
Nov. 26: Indianapolis (Murat Egyptian Room)
Nov. 27: Detroit (St. Andrews Hall)
Nov. 29: Toronto (Phoenix Concert Theatre)
Nov. 30: Winooski, Vt. (Higher Ground)
Dec. 1: Sea Bright, N.J. (Tradewinds)
Dec. 2: Boston (Avalon)
Dec. 3: Hartford, Conn. (Webster Theatre)
Dec. 5: New York (Irving Plaza)
Dec. 6: Philadelphia (Theatre Of Living Arts)
Dec. 7: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)

Excerpted from the Oct. 12, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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