Bassist and vocalist, Chris Wyse, has been a long mainstay on the music scene working with everyone from Ozzy Osbourne to Mick Jagger to Jerry Cantrell and even tried out for Metallica’s bassist spot as shown in their 2004 documentary, Some Kind of Monster.
In 2006 he joined British rock band, The Cult, after having played bass on their 2001 comeback album, Beyond Good and Evil.
The following year he also found the time to front his own hard rock trio, Owl, who released their self-titled debut album in 2009.
In April, Owl released their sophomore album, The Right Thing.
Currently, Wyse is on the road with The Cult on their Electric 13 Tour, which will be making a Detroit stop next week at the Fillmore on Wednesday, August 8.
The band will be playing their 1987 Rick Rubin-produced landmark album, Electric, in its entirety for the first time ever.
On Monday, Chris took some time to check in from the road.
Q: Are you guys out playing somewhere tonight?
Chris: We’re playing Portland, Oregon at the Roseland. It’s a cool venue.
Q: The tour just started but how is it going so far?
Chris: Excellent. It’s been going great. I mean the first few shows have been awesome. The fans have been amazing.
Q: What’s been the best show?
Chris: Well we’ve done three so far in San Diego, Anaheim and oh my goodness, it’s so crazy out on the road you forget where you are half the time! Umm…San Francisco, yeah the crowds have been big and it’s been great to play the Electric record.
Q: What is it about the Electric record that has made it stand out all these years?
Chris: Well I think there’s an honesty and rawness to it that keeps it pretty real. You know the Rick Rubin production was pretty raw and cool and just straight kick ass hard rock.
Q: Is there a track from the album that you are enjoying playing live the most?
Chris: I actually kind of like the slightly newer songs for us like “Aphrodisiac Jacket”, which we’ve never played. That’s coming out pretty cool. It almost feels like Cream or something.
Q: Now you are playing all of Electric but you are also playing some other songs right?
Chris: Yeah it’s the whole record in its entirety and then we’re doing a mixture of the other records and songs that we have. It’s kind of like a second set that we come out and do.
Q: I read somewhere that you are going to be working on some new music after the tour?
Chris: It’s brewing up, definitely. There are definitely new songs kicking around.
Q: Do you have an idea about where you want to go on a new album?
Chris: It’s kind of all in the new brewing stages. There’s definitely stuff being worked on but that’s about all I can say!
Q: What else does The Cult have coming up after this tour?
Chris: Well this is going to be pretty extensive and for the rest of the year pretty much so I think what we’re hoping for is that by 2014 we’ll be working on new stuff.
Q: Let’s talk about your other band Owl. You recently put out a new album, The Right Thing. What reaction have you received towards it?
Chris: That’s been fantastic. It’s just so cool that I can do different kinds of musical things. You know it’s with my childhood buddy Dan Dinsmore on drums and Jason Mezilis and it was quite the surprise that we got features like in Rolling Stone and Revolver and stuff like that. It’s just another completely different outlet and I get to play bass and sing and all that kind of stuff. Basically, I created this band as a new outlet for that kind of stuff and it’s just been awesome. We’ve had some sold out shows in New York and L.A. and it’s a real treat to have another kind of project and band like that. It’s been a surprise because it’s gone over really well. I mean I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it was The Cult in Rolling Stone but it was kind of like, wow my band, holy sh*t! It was really great. There’s good energy happening with both things.
Q: Do you find it hard moving back and forth between bands? I mean getting into a different head space for each band.
Chris: They’re just very natural and different and you know, once you get into it it’s just kind of a no-brainer. I’m well adapted to both bands.
Q: Do you have a preference on bass versus vocals?
Chris: Well I’m my own singer/songwriter so I tend to just kind of write things and some things end up in the land of The Cult and some things tend to land in Owl. I love both outlets. They allow me different things I can do musically. Singing or playing more, whatever the situation, is all good. Being with my other band Owl is kind of like getting back to my roots and enjoying other types of things. I mean of course there’s the singing but it’s also about my roots and I love that.
Q: Do you see a similar fan base coming out for both bands?
Chris: You know it’s interesting because The Cult fans will come out to Owl shows and they’ll be kind of surprised that it is so different. I think that’s what it’s all about. I wouldn’t want to do the same kind of thing in another band and so it’s awesome when The Cult fans come out and see it and get excited. It’s been pretty well received and makes me feel pretty awesome. They kind of turn into punk shows almost and it’s just like in a dive and it’s really fun. Kind of a sweaty, packed place and it’s a little more raw and a little more down home but I think people get that.
Q: Is there a song off of The Right Thing that is most personal for you?
Chris: Well there’s so many different kinds of things that we do but I think as far as song craft and just being a pretty song, “Perfect” really stands out. It’s just a three-chord ditty and it’s really pretty and really emotionally captures some things. It’s a little different from all the other songs.
Q: When you set down to write music do you think about how it’s going to translate live or does that not come into play?
Chris: I think it crosses your mind but when you’re in the studio it’s important to just let your creative thing happen and not worry about anything else because that’s the fun of the studio.
Q: For people out there who haven’t heard of either band, how would you present them?
Chris: Well we’re a little off the beaten path. I think we have the real essence of the classic rock bands. The creative hard rock, innovative type of thing like Zeppelin and all that. I think we have the essence of a classic great band but we’re just a little different. Also if you enjoy a little alternative hard edge that’s Owl but it’s definitely in the hard rock innovative realm.
Q: You will be out in Detroit next week. Have you played at the Fillmore before?
Chris: Yeah I love that place. It’s awesome. Detroit Rock City, you know? I mean there’s a reason people say that and it’s very true. It’s one of my favorite places to play.
Q: What is the first musical memory you have growing up?
Chris: Well I think as soon as I saw KISS’ Alive II when I was eight years old it changed my life.
Q: What would you have been doing if that hadn’t happened?
Chris: Maybe other kinds of art. I’m kind of a doodler and I do sketches and things and love kind of the art of food. Chefs kind of make their old blend of dishes which is kind of like how you do music. I can easily see going there and there would be lots of food. If you don’t enjoy food, then what’s wrong with you? [laughs] I can definitely see those things happening.
Q: You’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of big names over the years but is there one experience in particular that stands out for you?
Chris: I have to say I was a little taken aback by the Ozzy experience because I told my parents as a kid that I was going to move to Hollywood and play with Ozzy. Just as a kid saying that and then working with him was pretty cool. I remember calling home to my parents and saying guess who I’m in the studio with today. I said it won’t be easy though, I’ve played with a lot of people now. They said they didn’t know and I was like, Ozzy! That was pretty fun.
Q: I’m seeing him with Black Sabbath out here on Tuesday. Didn’t think that would ever happen!
Chris: Yeah, I really like the new album. They did an awesome job. It really captures the essence of them.
Q: Is there someone you’ve been dying to work with but haven’t had a chance to yet?
Chris: I think it would be fun to kind of get Dave Grohl on the drums with me on the bass and with someone like Jack White. Just a power trio. That would be amazing.
Q: Do you have any other projects coming out?
Chris: I’m pretty active with a lot of different artists. I can’t really say too much but I’ve been jamming around a little bit with Ace Frehley and I had a great show a few months ago with Paul Stanley as well so there was some irony there. You know, I can’t really say too much more than that but it’s wonderful when people call me.
Q: Looking at your album collection, which three couldn’t you live without?
Chris: I think for me the Physical Graffiti album comes to the table. I still think Dark Side of the Moon comes to the top of the list for me. I know that it’s the best selling record but there is a reason for that. And Number of the Beast would definitely be there too.
Q: If you could go back and relive one moment in your career, what would it be?
Chris: Ooh, relive it. Umm, I think the time with Mick Jagger in the studio was pretty fun and so surreal. I just basically played on the track and got to hang out and have dinner and drinks; really nice red wine. [laughing] If I could go back and do that again I would!
Q: Looking back on your career, do you have any advice for bands starting out who are trying to get heard?
Chris: I say just go play live. Be raw and honest and don’t mess about on your iPad too long. Get playing and get out there. I think that’s the best advice. That honed in my skills better than anything.
Q: Are you getting out and seeing the fans on this tour?
Chris: Oh yeah, every night. The Cult is doing meet and greets every night. I’ll often just walk right out into the crowd and start talking to folks. I’m not too shy so I kind of put myself out there and meet folks every night.
Q: Do you have anything you want to say to the fans that have stuck with you this long?
Chris: Well it’s been a real treat to play this record and I’m really happy. I think it’s really cool too that they’re taking an interest in the Owl record and things like that so I think at the end of the day I just am very taken aback by all the love I’m getting. It’s really great.