Todd Wolfe Band: Miles To Go

Written by on August 22, 2013 in August 22, 2013, Interviews, Music and DVD Reviews - Comments Off on Todd Wolfe Band: Miles To Go

(And Looking Forward To The Journey)

Todd Wolfe Band“Miles To Go” (American Showplace Music) represents another music milestone in the career of guitarist-vocalist and songwriter extraordinaire Todd Wolfe, who was once the guitarist in rock singer Sheryl Crow’s band. The album’s ten tracks run the gamut from straight blues to post-classic rock, each featuring Wolfe’s uniquely rockin’ soulful vocals. Guest performers on Miles To Go (Wolfe’s eighth studio album) include noteworthy blues harpist Steve Guyger and organ ace, John Ginty. The Todd Wolfe Band features Justine Gardner (bass, backing vocals); Roger Voss (drums, backing vocals); and Todd Wolfe (vocals, guitars).
All Access Magazine (AAM) had a chance to chat recently with this true musical “road warrior.”

AAM: Your new album is called “Miles To Go.” How did you arrive at using that title?

TW: That title is taken from a song on the album, “I Stand Alone” On a personal level I’m in a transitional phase of life and it reflects where I am and what I think lies ahead but also states where we are as a band, out performing our music and putting on many miles, and the realization that there are many miles still ahead of us.

AAM: On “Miles To Go”  there’s mostly all originals, but there are two covers – one by blues great Howlin’ Wolf, the other by late Beatle, George Harrison. What made you decide to cover these two songs?

TW: Well, (Howlin’ Wolf’s) “Forty Four” I had been doing on and off for years. First time was when I had a trio and living in Los Angeles back in the early nineties and if a I remember correctly, I didn’t even sing it when we first performed it, it was the bass player. I love the ‘Wolf and enjoy playing his songs, he was such a power and so raw! (Harrison’s) “The Inner Light” was for two reasons – the main one being it’s a tip of the hat to George Harrison, as he was the reason I first wanted to pick up a guitar, and he was my favorite Beatle. There’s a local project here in the Lehigh Valley where many of the local artists get together and perform Beatle songs, so when I was asked to do it I figured it was time to pay homage to George and that was the first time covering The Inner Light.

Todd Wolfe BandAAM: Let’s go into your background a little bit. You once played lead guitar in Sheryl Crow’s band for about a five-year period. How did that happen, and what was that experience like?

TW: I had met Sheryl when she was a back-up singer on a Michael Jackson tour back in 1987. A friend of mine that introduced us was on tour with them and became friends with Sheryl and eventually became manager for both Sheryl and myself. At the time she lived in Los Angeles, but when Sheryl would visit our mutual friend and on several of those occasions, she sat in with my band when we were performing in New York City. After one of those shows in 1989 she invited my band and I to come to L.A. to write and record some songs and shop it to the record companies. I packed up my car and drove West! We wrote some songs, recorded them and performed a showcase of those songs and others Sheryl had written. Sheryl shopped the tape with our music to the record labels but they all passed on us. At that point I decided to move to L.A. and got busy performing with my band, along with scoring and providing music to the Playboy Channel. I then joined up with the Carla Olson Band (formerly known as The Textones).  Eventually Sheryl completed the Tuesday Night Music Club album and needed a touring band and she asked me to play guitar so, that’s where I spent almost five years! It was quite a ride! Traveling all over the world – Russia, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, all over Europe and on and on. Visiting the White House and meeting President Clinton and the First Lady. People sitting in with us – from Eric Clapton to Elton John, Levon Helm, Emmylou Harris, Steve Winwood, James Taylor and on and on! Performing at Woodstock ’94, opening for The Rolling Stones, The Eagles,  Bob Dylan … lots of memorable times!

AAM: Your present group, the Todd Wolfe Band, is a trio – something that’s not all that common in music these days. When, and why, did you decide to go that route?

TW: Well to be honest, it’s a matter of economics! We tour quite frequently and perform quite often and it’s easy to travel as a trio. It’s also a matter of some of the rooms we play in, that a trio works better. Several times after leaving Sheryl’s band and going out with my band I’ve had keyboards and even sometimes percussion, but that can be a little overwhelming in some of the smaller rooms we perform. Over a period of time I got more comfortable performing as a trio. Sometimes we do add a percussionist or keyboards, or both. On our new album, not unlike some of our other studio albums, we do have keyboards, percussion and use two or three guitars on many of the tracks on this album. So though we perform quite often as a trio, this album is not really about being a typical trio. John Ginty, who plays keyboards on five of the tracks, has joined us for some live shows and we have more shows that he will join us on. Though I really have enjoyed playing as a trio with Roger Voss on drums and Justine Gardner on bass.

AAM: Who would you give your eye-teeth to perform onstage with? Conversely, who would you rather fall into a burning charcoal pit than play a gig with?

TW: Without a doubt, The Rolling Stones … I think they should move Ron Wood to bass and then I can come ‘n play guitar LOL  … Hmmm a burning pit eh, well many of those Eighties pop bands! (laughs).

AAM: Being a veteran musician, what sort of good advice would you give newbie musicians just starting out in the music business?

TW: Learn as much as you can before stepping out there. Work on your songs and singing no matter what instrument you play! Also, learn how the business works, what’s expected of you by club owners, promoters and the people coming to hear you. And most important, play and sing from the heart!

AAM: Where can people interested in the Todd Wolfe Band and purchasing “Miles To Go” find out more about your gigs, cds, etc.?

TW: Various sites such as; http://toddwolfe.com , http://reverbnation.com/toddwolfe, http://facebook.com/toddwolfeband. Those will keep people informed as to what we’re up to and where to get our music and one can go to http://www.amazon.com/Miles-Go-Todd-Band-Wolfe/dp/B00DR0TLKA  for the new album.