Although cult favorite art rock act Shudder To Think has been off the radar for several years, former frontman Craig Wedren remains busy as a member of the dance/pop outfit Baby and as a composer for film and TV. But he’s presently focused on his solo debut, “Lapland,” released late last month via Bright Eyes leader Connor Oberst’s Team Love label.
“I’d always intended to do [a solo album], but I think after Shudder To Think sort of went into pause mode, I just needed to really cleanse my pallet and take a break from making guitar-based records for a little while,” Wedren tells Billboard.com.
Although there are a few parallels between Shudder To Think and “Lapland” (namely Wedren’s unmistakable, often operatic vocals), the singer made a conscious decision to break free. “I wanted to strip away some of the more deliberately confusing habits I’d gotten into in my songwriting with Shudder To Think, which is to twist everything, never use a traditional chord and constantly flip the beat around,” he admits, adding that he tried to “really focus on nuts and bolts of good, old-fashioned songwriting.”
Although Wedren has played live in the New York-area on a regular basis since Shudder’s late ’90s split, he will soon launch a nationwide tour in support of the new album. “Probably starting the first of the year, we’re going to hook up with some bands and start hitting the road,” he says. “We’ve been playing a lot of shows around New York, just trying to get the band into shape, and that’s been going great. On a good night when it’s tight and the sound is good, I get a real glimpse of what this could become.”
Joining Wedren on the road will be late-period Shudder drummer Kevin March, guitarist Kevin McGinnis, bassist Ernie Adzentoizich and background vocalist Amy Miles.
Beyond “Lapland,” the artist remains busy with other projects. “Over the summer, I did the music for the TV show ‘Stella,’ which was great fun,” he says. “I’m about to start work on a movie called ‘Diggers,’ which is an indie film. Then I’ve started working on new solo stuff, and I have the new Baby album pretty much finished, but now I’m just debating whether just to fold it all into my solo stuff.”
And since Shudder To Think’s split was amicable, a reunion is not out of the cards. “It seems like within the last couple of years, a lot of the emo bands have more of a relationship with Shudder To Think — as a band that meant something to them,” he says. “So that’s been really nice, just in terms of making us feel that everything we did for 12 years wasn’t for naught. For a few years afterwards, we felt like we were just sort of invisible, and that nothing we did meant anything to anybody. And that was very discouraging and heartbreaking.”
“There’s chatter [about a reunion],” he continues. “We were talking last year about doing some shows last spring, but that didn’t happen. So the answer is… a long winded maybe.”
A DVD or two may be on the horizon as well. “There’s a guy in Pittsburgh who has been archiving all of our videos, rehearsal tapes, merchandise and stuff like that,” he says. “So we’ve been talking about doing a documentary or maybe a [making-of the 1994 album] ‘Pony Express Record’ DVD thing. People have been sending in all sorts of material from all different eras of Shudder To Think.”