See the full tour schedule for The Whales at thewhalesmusic.com/shows .
D enver blues, rock and Americana trio The Whales have probably seen more of Colorado than most people, thanks to a relentless home-state tour schedule. We talked to frontman Jonah Wisneski about The Whales' creative energy and why they love Colorado.
So the band formed while you were gigging in support of your solo record.
Basically, I released a solo record last year that I'd been working on for a year or two, and in the process of putting that record out, I was playing shows and I kept hiring different musicians, friends of mine, to play shows, and that's how I met Scott and Logan. And I think it was very clear, not only the musical chemistry, but we liked hanging out a lot and people were interested in bringing different ideas to the table ... I like doing the solo thing, but I like the band environment.
What was it about the trio that made you want to pursue that?
It's really crazy. I would hire -- the list of people that I would go to for different shows is insane, close to 15 or 20. Playing with these guys just felt really, really good. And they kind of showed up and I'd hand them my record and say, "Learn these songs," and they showed up and just nailed it off the bat, and I was impressed with that. After a few shows, just hanging out and talking about the direction I wanted to go in, they were like, "Oh yeah, I'm into that stuff."
I read that your shows can run over three hours. You must have a lot of material.
We still play some of my old stuff, but at this point we gotta be at least over 20 to 25 songs. I think we have a catalog of covers, if we wanna bring that in, that's close to 100. We play a lot and we get bored easily, and so it's, lets do this and try that ... One of the benefits is that we're all pretty much full-time musicians, so we have time to work on stuff. I know I write a lot and Scott writes a lot.
You must be doing pretty well to be able to dedicate so much time to this.
A lot of it is that we do other stuff as well. I teach down at Dog House Music, and we all do session work and stuff like that when our schedule allows it. Needless to say, I don't have a life. I just focus on playing. More than anything that's what drives me ... I'm enjoying everything so much, so it doesn't really feel like work. I maybe get two days off a month where I don't have something to do, and I like the ability to be so busy. I'm excited about where it's going, too.
Seems like you spend a lot of time on the road in Colorado, hitting all the tiny mountain towns.
Colorado is awesome. I think Denver in particular and Colorado in general will soon become a nationally known music scene. People just love music here. They go out constantly and they're really interested in seeing new music and seeking out new music, and there are so many venues in so many towns. We also have, in my opinion, some of the best venues in the country. Red Rocks, obviously. It's such a hub between the East Coast and the West Coast.
What should people look out for from you guys?
We're working on some more stuff as far as bigger shows around the state ... Our plan for next year is to start our actual debut record early in the year and we really just wanna start getting on the road as much as possible ... I know personally I'm just itching to get back out on the road."