Q&A with multitalented "Wacko" Wade Wright, one of the busiest and active members of NOLA music scene

"Music is so creative that it is the predominant mood changer in a person’s daily life. The music pendulum can swing in any direction, depending on the occasion. I always get satisfaction out of watching folks dance or sway to our songs. I play for the enjoyment of the crowd and the satisfaction that I am working something magic here. Music is a Social Mind Relaxer."

"Wacko" Wade Wright: Saints City Beat

One of the busiest and active members from the music community of the Saints City, the drummer, songwriter, producer, composer, manager, founder and sole owner at "Wacko" Wade Production, LLC, the multitalented "Wacko" Wade Wright is in recent years the close associate of Little Freddie King. Together they make some of the best albums: Sing Sang Sung (2000), You Don't Know What I Know (2005), Messin' Around tha House (2008), Gotta Walk With Da King (2010), Chasing tha Blues (2012), Messin' Around The Living Room (2015), You Make My Night (2017), and Absolutely The Best (2019). In 2020 released the album "Jaw Jackin' Blues", produced by longtime Little Freddie King drummer Wacko Wade, captures' a few tales about the rough and tumble world of wino hell and blues heaven which da King often visited, on his way home from a gig as a young man.  

("Wacko" Wade Wright / Photo by Christopher Briscoe)

“Wacko” Wade promoted and supported as a lifelong resident the rich musical heritage and culture of New Orleans in his lifetime. Wacko says: "Got interested in drumming in the 8th grade at Sacred Heart of Jesus grammar school. I wanted to march in the Mardi Gras parade and have fun, especially Krewe of Carrollton which passed in front of the school on Sunday before the Fat Tuesday. Upon entering St. Aloysius High School in 1959, I began studying drums under jazz drummer, Al Dorian well known jazz drummer around the city. Mr. Dorian daytime gig was in the drum department at Werlein’s Music Store on Canal Street, selling sheet music and drum equipment. He supplemented his nights, when not playing with teaching private drum lessons. I study with him one year, then though I knew everything I needed to know to start playing in a band." 

Interview by Michael Limnios               "Wacko" Wade, 2012 Interview @ blues.gr

How has the Blues, Soul and Rock music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Being a teenager in the 50s and growing up with Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Elvis, Carl Perkins, Bill Haley and the Comets, Link Ray, that set off the fuse to the dynamite. Listening to the different styles I became infatuated with being a musician myself and doing what they were doing, playing music, recording with a band, being a part of creative community. I have learned a tremendous amount listening to other musicians and developing my own craft. Back in 1967, when I was drumming at the Playboy Club, I would watch the jazz drummer upstairs play and got down on myself for not being as good. When he was on break me and him talked and I told him I wish I could do some of the licks he did. He told me I was good as myself and don’t want to be someone else. He said “on a scale of 100 drummers, I put you in the middle, just think, you are better than 50 other drummers. He influenced me to keep starching at it, which I did.

Why do you think that NOLA music continues to generate such a devoted following? 

“The Water” has developed the smooth sounds of the city. The Mississippi River is our water source, and it flows thru our body and gives up the melody and pulse to perform. Serious reason, New Orleans is a teaching University for outsiders that come here to pick up the street and neighborhood sounds and vibe thru osmosis. Our streets dance with music every day. We create reasons to play and party, weather you alive or died, we will play our horns and celebrate. They come to learn effectively from the roots.

Rhythm, drumming, chanting etc. come from the Islands which brought it to New Orleans back in the day. It is the musical roots of African American that is the impulse of the City.                                        ("Wacko" Wade Wright / Photo by Nanny Kajuiter)

"I only dream of meeting some of these great human beings, such as Howling Wolf and Willie Dixon etc. Man, I would like to sit down and have a drink and just listen to what they have to say about life’s struggles. That’s what their songs are about, LIFE. My hope has always been the LITTLE FREDDIE KING, the gentlemen and authentic blues man that he is, gets recognition throughout the music world."

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

The best advice was what I mentioned above. There is always someone worst then you on the drums, so believe in your approach to how you play each song. Play the song and not be a drummer of show. Who cares if you fast or slow, can you drive the song home with a heartbeat?

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

I only dream of meeting some of these great human beings, such as Howling Wolf and Willie Dixon etc. Man, I would like to sit down and have a drink and just listen to what they have to say about life’s struggles. That’s what their songs are about, LIFE. My hope has always been the LITTLE FREDDIE KING, the gentlemen and authentic blues man that he is, gets recognition throughout the music world.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?

Music is so creative that it is the predominant mood changer in a person’s daily life. The music pendulum can swing in any direction, depending on the occasion. I always get satisfaction out of watching folks dance or sway to our songs. I play for the enjoyment of the crowd and the satisfaction that I am working something magic here. Music is a Social Mind Relaxer. Life’s activities move around music, from jogging to having sex, music keeps the World going. Just think if you did not have any music in this screwed up World.

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

Appreciate every musician for his or her own talent given to them by God. Do not be critical of other musicians, encourage them and be a helping hand if needing advice. 

"The best advice was what I mentioned above. There is always someone worst then you on the drums, so believe in your approach to how you play each song. Play the song and not be a drummer of show. Who cares if you fast or slow, can you drive the song home with a heartbeat?" (Photo: "Wacko" Wade Wright & Little Freddie King, 5th Annual Duke Ellington Jazz Festival 2009, Washington, DC)

Currently you’ve one more release with Little Freddie King. How did that relationship come about?

Me and Lit’ Freddie met in 1992 at a Auto Shop he worked at building generators. In talking with him, he indicated that he played guitar. He knew I was a long time New Orleans drummer playing in an R&B band. He asked me to play the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival that year. I laughed and said you play the “Fess”?? He was full of grease and dirty from crawling under cars, I said “Dude, you are kidding?” He then told me he has been performing there since its beginning, 1970. I was blown away. He said he did straight ahead “gut-bucket” blues. I did not know what that meant, so he said “nasty shit”. I told him “I can do that”. So, that how my love affair with Mississippi Delta Blues got started. Been with him 29 years. Played the “fess” every year. Will be out there April 29 Friday 2022.

Do you have any interesting stories about the making of the new album "Jaw Jackin' Blues"?

 The LP and CD are collections of audio files I kept when I would be with Lit’ Freddie on occasions. I would turn on the recorder the take down his crazy ass stories about his life. The dude has hundreds of funny stories about when he was an alcoholic. I got the idea of calling my friend, Tino Gross in Detroit to insert some “loops” and background music to his stories. I enjoyed producing something that was “off the wall” for Lit’ Freddie. We laughed and pressed only 200 LPs (limited edition). My distributor keeps asking for more. I tell him “ain’t no more”. I pressed about 500 cds that are gone. So that is somewhat how JJB came about. Oh, “Jaw Jackin” is a Afro American team for “shooting the breeze”. Taking about non-sensical things.

Artists and labels will have to adapt to the new changes. What are your predictions for the music industry? 

Download Download Download. Cds are history when you can buy ONE song off an album. Total “bull shit”. LPs are the hipe thing today, what band wants to carry heavy boxes of LPs on a gig. Maybe the big boys and girls that can afford a Mech Salesperson, but for the Blues, forget it. I ain’t loading up boxes of LPs besides band equipment. 

How do you think the music industry will adapt to it?

Sell your instruments ladies and gentlemen and get yourself a computer with instrument programs and a bunch of sliding knobs to create sounds that are supposed to be “real instrument”. Dude, the “Twilight Zone”.

Little Freddie King - Home

("Wacko" Wade Wright / Photo by Nanny Kajuiter)

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