Wig Wam 04/28/2023
For almost 20 years, Wisconsin Music has interviewed and reviewed national acts that perform in and around the state of Wisconsin. We are breaking that format for Wig Wam, a Norwegian rock band that is currently touring the US for the first time in their twenty-two year existence. They're not coming through Wisconsin on this tour, but we've been waiting a LONG time for Wig Wamania to hit our shores. We flew out to Los Angeles to sit down with Glam and Teeny at the historic Whisky a Go Go to discuss the all things in the world of Wig Wam.
WM: Can you introduce yourself?
Glam: I'm Åge Sten Nilsen, and you can call me Glam if you like.
Teeny: And I'm Trond Holter, and we're Wig Wam.
Glam: He's Teeny!
WM: Welcome to America! Is it true it's “Hard to Be a Rock'n Roller” as your song states?
Glam: It is. It's harder than you think! (Looks down, winks and laughs)
WM: Oh my! (laughing) How about a brief history of Wig Wam?
Glam: We started off in 2001 as a jam band playing rock music. Songs that weren’t getting played back then, because that kind of music was passé. So we did that every Friday night, and were called The Absolute Friday Band at a very dark and gloomy club in Halden. Suddenly we had a gig at this ‘80s themed party. So we decided on our name and created our characters. We kicked some ass, and they really wanted us back. So we started to play regularly and get booked everywhere else down south in Norway.
After a while, we became kind of a local household name, and we started to make our own music. We would blend that in with all the cover songs. We created a great story about coming from the States, that we started back in the late sixties in New York. And we decided, after two albums, to move to Norway and take Norwegian names. But in 2001, we decided to have a comeback as Wig Wam! We released an album in 2004 that we recorded in Teeny’s living room.
WM: That was 667 - The Neighbour of the Beast?
Teeny: Yeah, and Glam was singing in my bedroom.
Glam: That’s why the sound of the vocals are sexy, because I was singing in his sexy bedroom! (laughs).
WM: That was a great title for an rock album!
Glam: Yes, and that was a great time. Then we did the Eurovision Song Contest in Norway, with a song called “Crazy Things”, and finished in third place. We had such a great tour after that. And we were asked if we wanted to come back to the Eurovision Song Contest again. So we decided on the song “In My Dreams” for that, and we won the competition! We made a big name for ourselves in in Europe, and went on tour for many years. We broke up in 2014, but got back together in 2019. So we’re back and since have two more albums under our belt.
WM: Your album Non Stop Rock'n Roll from 2010 was the album that turn me onto you guys.
Glam: Cool! I love that album as well, it's fun.
WM: All your albums are great, but that is the one that started it for me. It opened my eyes and turned me on to a lot of different bands from Sweden, Finland and Norway. Rock music is alive and well, and Wig Wam were the pioneers of that movement. Now you're on Frontiers Records, which has made a name for themselves on not only nostalgic rock bands, but also newer bands as well. So looking back, do you feel like pioneers for this rock resurgance?
Glam: I don't, no. We just make music. We don't think too much about anything! (laughs) We just have a lot of fun, and we wanna play live. We're getting along so good these days! We just write music together, and have a good time. And that's all we think about. You can't plan too much, it's not that important to us. There's many aspects of life that are so much more important. This is the fun part of life, and you can't plan that too much because then you take away the mystery and the happiness of it.
WM: In 2021 you release Never Say Die in the middle of the pandemic. What happened at that point?
Teeny: Everything just stopped. We had like two or three gigs in the in 2021 with all the restrictions. So we threw a album release party on the Internet. There were some big festivals, but those were also postponed.
WM: So now James Gunn comes along with a new superhero TV show, and, and he needs a theme song. How did this come about?
Glam: We didn't know know what to make of it. We received an inquiry from a scene company here in the US. They wanted us to send some things, but they couldn't tell us what it was for. So we thought might be for a marketing campaign for something.
WM: Like laundry detergent?
Glam: Or McDonald's! “Do you really wanna taste it”? (laughs) Hey, McDonald's! Hire us!
WM: That’s perfect! (more laughs)
Glam: Then later we were told it was for for the Peacemaker series. I had to Google it. I’m sorry, James. I had to Google you too! I found out that this was a big deal. So it was a good thing. But we didn't even know how it was gonna be used in the series.
WM: So they didn't tell you it was probably the theme song?
Glam: No, but when the series premired, our drummer sent us all it on messenger. And we were like, holy shit! Then it went viral. It was crazy! And everything exploded around it, and around us. Our agent in Norway had cut ties with us before that. So when everything exploded, we had no management whatsoever. It was an interesting couple of weeks. That's when we signed up with ARM Entertainment. We tried to get a US tour going last summer with Lita Ford and Winger as a package, but didn't happen because we never got our visas in time. So we had to postpone the gigs, and still couldn't get the visas done because everything had to be changed. So this is the third time. It's been a hell of a ride to get here.
WM: But you’re here!
Glam: Yes, we’re here! It is not the kind of tour that we were supposed to do though. We were supposed to do some festivals and stuff first and do some club gigs in between. But you live and you learn. What we're planning now is to have a three year US visa. So we can have three years where we can actually do one-offs, and plan some more tours.
WM: Has there been any talks of season two for Peacemaker?
Glam: There has. We've been sending lots of songs. We decided not to release some songs recorded for Out Of The Dark. We kept them for certain projects. So hopefully you can see and hear some Wig Wam music in the new Peacemaker or some other series or movie.
WM: You never know, you might make it a connection on this tour that might lead to more opportunities.
Glam: Yes, that's also why we're here. To connect and get to know people, have meetings, and try to plan our next move here in the States. The US has always been a dream, to travel across this country and play. The beautiful United States of America!
WM: Do you have a favorite Wig Wam song?
Teeny: Oh my God, that's a lot of children we have. It used to be “In My Dreams” because the impact it had on on the crowd.
Glam: One of one of my favorites these days is “Uppercut Shazam!” since we wrote and recorded it for the new album. I really love that song. We're not playing it live, but we will later at some point. It has a lot of energy.
WM: What about least favorite?
Glam: I have one. We did a cover of “Dschinghis Khan”.
Teeny: I agree. (laughs)
WM: So what can fans expect to hear when they see Wig Wam live?
Teeny: A lot of songs from our whole career. Of course, all of our popular songs. You have to play those. And a lot of the new ones too.
Glam: I think we have a great setlist. We made a setlist where we keep everybody satisfied. The ones that really love our old stuff and the ones that are new to our music and listen to the newer albums.
WM: Do you have a message to your fans in America as Wig Wamania spreads throughout the US?
Glam: One important message is that we know that the pandemic was horrific, and a lot of concerts were canceled because of the virus. But these are new times and everything is happening now again. Please buy tickets pre-sale, so the promoters feel safe to bring bands like us around. We wanna play for you! And we're gonna be like cockroaches America. You won't get rid of us now! (laughs)