Wolfmother keyboardist/bassist Chris Ross knows how unhip his Australian trio’s music is. Blending ’70s psychedelia, Led Zeppelin-like riffs and mythic imagery, and even throwing a toss to Black Sabbath, the band’s tunes hardly resemble current commercial fare.
“I remember we met with someone who said they loved it,” Ross recalls, declining to mention the industry executive. “And it was interesting to watch them talk themselves out of it, going from creative into business [mode], saying, ‘But I don’t know whether this will sell.’ You could see the enthusiasm wearing off.”
Now Ross and his bandmates are having the last laugh. The Sydney-based group’s self-titled CD, released in Australia last fall, is on the verge of triple-platinum (210,000 units) at home, according to the band’s manager John Watson. And now, it is being unleashed on the rest of the world, including a U.S. release this week on Modular/Interscope.
Bands like Wolfmother face a unique challenge when they try to break stateside. “It does seem a little unfair,” Ross says goodnaturedly. “The amount of work we’ve done at home doesn’t register much at all [in the United States]. Anyone in the reverse situation would have a step up — people in Australia would know about them.”