If you are fortunate enough to get up close and personal with OWL during a live show, don't be surprised if Chris Wyse puts his foot up on the monitor in front of your face with a fiendish grin and Jason Achilles Mezilis swipes your camera lens and uses it for a bottleneck on his guitar. That's what happened to me at their show last week at Hollywood's renowned Whiskey A Go Go. They came on sort of sneaky, like a fun loving rock band; and then Wyse got that gleam in his eye and Mezilis crouched down low while drummer Dan Dinsmore transformed his jazz beats to a harad rock attack on the skins and on the audience's eardrums.
They were off and running and the fans in the jam-packed club were running to keep up. "Wow!" was all I could say when I caught my breath.
They only played a couple of songs from the new album, Things You Can't See, plus tunes from their earlier releases, but that was enough - Things You Can't See will be a killer. Owl frontman, bassist and producer Chris Wyse started writing Things You Can’t See between his tenure as a band member in The Cult and his new role as bass player for former lead guitarist and founding member of KISS, Ace Frehley. Wyse played on Frehley’s 2014 solo album Space Invader, which led to him joining the band full time.
This complicated music life is no problem for Wyse. He explains it this way, “The Cult will always be my brothers in rock, and it was an honor to play with such brilliant musicians during our decade together. I now look forward to scorching the earth in The Ace Frehley Band. We’re currently working on an all-covers album due out on eOne Music, which has been a blast. Ace has always been a hero of mine and a big influence - playing with him, Scot Coogan and Richie Scarlet is awesome!"
And scorching the earth is what OWL does - but with feeling a melody - giving them a unique sound in the hard rock/metal world, starting with a band led by a bass player, not a lead guitarist. And not just any bass player, but by the man called the best bass player in the rock business by KISS's Frehley. The band holed up at Overit Studios in Upstate New York in early 2014 to record the six-track collection they released this week. For the first time, the band didn’t work off of completed songs - instead they jammed in the studio, honing and cultivating the music in the moment. This new approach on Things You Can’t See inspired Owl to be bold, experimental, and even more musically ambitious than on their previous two releases.
We will have a lot to talk about - that recording session, what it is like to lead with the bass, what the Cult was like, how Wyse and Mezilis and Dinsmore got together, and what exactly goes on in a hard rock tour.