Q&A with New England-based band of The Wicked Lo-Down, Texas Blues-n-Roll meets East Coast attitude

"Well, I really miss it being more commonly treated with the reverence it deserves and within the spirit it is intended. I hope that we can capture the attention of younger generation so they can enjoy it as fully as past generations have."

The Wicked Lo-Down: Out of Line

New England-based blues/roots band, The Wicked Lo-Down, and will release their Gulf Coast Records debut CD, Out of Line, on March 8th, 2024. The Wicked Lo-Down is comprised of Nick David - Vocals/Harmonica; Paul Size – Guitar; Jeffrey Berg – Guitar/ Background Vocals; Brad Hallen – Bass; and Nick Toscano – Drums. Out of Line was produced by The Wicked Lo-Down and recorded, mixed and mastered by Jeffrey Berg at Walking Stick Studios, Auburn Mass. Formed in 2020 just before the Covid lockdown by guitar giant Paul Size (The Red Devils, Mick Jagger, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones) and powerhouse blues belter Nick David (Mr. Nick & the Dirty Tricks, Queen City Kings), The Wicked Lo-Down  blends raw Texas blues and hard hitting Northeast R&B into their own completely original house rockin' sound.

(The Wicked Lo-Down / Photo by Duke Mulberry)

Their debut album, We Hot (2022), received critical acclaim from some of the biggest names in the blues world and beyond. Consisting of ten well crafted, barn burners, We Hot established The Wicked Lo-Down as a true force to be reckoned- with and left no doubt that from Austin to Boston is how they roll. Out of Line, the second record from The Wicked Lo-Down, includes 11 sure-fire originals and two rock solid, unexpected covers: Hound Dog Taylor’s “Just Can’t Make It;” and a bluesified take on “Toxic,” which was originally done by Britney Spears and the band proceeds to turn completely inside-out. As with their previous release, the focal point of Out of Line is on the songs. Highlighting the songwriting of Berg, David and Size, the band once again solidifies its place by continuing to carve out a lane all its own, making the new disc a must-listen for hard core fans of bands like The Red Devils and the original Fabulous Thunderbirds.

 

Interview by Michael Limnios                        Special Thanks: Mark Pucci Media

How has the Blues influenced your views of the world? Why is it important to we preserve and spread the blues?

Nick: It’s the most important musical art form of the last 150 years. Without it I shudder to think what the musical landscape would be like. There would be no Rock-n-Roll, No Country, no R&B, no Hip Hop, no popular music as we know it today. It’s important to preserve it, not only for its historical importance, but, in the right hands it is still incredibly vibrant, still cool as all hell, still viable, still new. 

Paul: Blues helps me cope with a lot of the sadness in the world. It’s an important art of music that our youth should embrace by understanding it’s not sad.

How did the idea of The Wicked Lo-Down, come about? What characterize band’s philosophy?

Nick: It all began when Paul Size and I started getting together in late 2019 to write music. The first two songs we wrote (Lena & Mind Your Mind) blew us away and we knew we needed to record them. Six months into the pandemic we put a crew together and went into the studio to record both of those tunes plus an instrumental that Paul wrote titled Lockdown. We realized right away that we had something special and we started getting together regularly at Jeff Berg’s place to write and rehearse. As far as the band’s philosophy goes, I suppose it is to take the substantial experience we all have playing Blues music and create something new, and unique, and good, with very clearly defined roots.

Paul: We got together and made a record. I added my talents to what was handed to me.

"Blues helps me cope with a lot of the sadness in the world. It’s an important art of music that our youth should embrace by understanding it’s not sad." (Nick David & Paul Size / Photo by Michael Kurgansky)

How do you describe your sound and songbook? What's the balance in music between technique and soul?

Nick: One way we have described our sound is “Texas Blues and Rock-n-Roll with East Coast attitude”. When I describe our band to someone I usually say something like “We are a very heavily Blues influenced all original Rock-n-Roll band”. Our songbook is almost all original music with a few select covers. Technique without soul is masturbation.

Paul: We’re a Rock band with heavy blues roots. I like the balance to be more on the soul side if it’s going to be real.

What moment changed your music life the most? What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far?

Nick: Hearing "Mannish Boy" for the first time catapulted me into another dimension. It was so raw, so powerful, so  tough as nails. It made me want to create something that others could connect with on that same visceral level. I have been fortunate enough to have some really fulfilling and intense musical highlights. One of the big ones was being hired by Otis Grand to play for tens of thousands of people at The Avante Festival in Portugal. 

Paul: Listening to Buddy Guy changed my life. The high lite of my career for me was Living on Martha’s Vineyard and playing and learning a lot about music and relaxed living.

Why do you think that New England Blues Scene continues to generate such a devoted following?

Nick: It’s most assuredly because there is a glut of incredible talent in New England. We suffer from an embarrassment of riches. I’ve heard it said more than once that there is something in the water here. 

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of? 

Nick: Well, I really miss it being more commonly treated with the reverence it deserves and within the spirit it is intended. I hope that we can capture the attention of younger generation so they can enjoy it as fully as past generations have. My fear is that our audience is aging out and if we do not reach that younger demographic that this music will be relegated to novelty status. 

Paul: I miss Antones in Austin, Texas, when you could see Otis Rush, Hubert Sumlin, and Jimmy Rogers with Pinetop Perkins on piano.

"One way we have described our sound is “Texas Blues and Rock-n-Roll with East Coast attitude”."(The Wicked Lo-Down / Photo by Duke Mulberry)

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Nick: The lessons I have learned on my musical journey have been varied and abundant, but the most important thing I think is this: Being as honest as you’re capable of being while creating or performing music is paramount. 

Paul: I don’t fear the blues will ever die, it’s too powerful.

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