We’ve been fans of New Jersey’s finest since even before their first album came out back in 1994, so let’s just say we’re used to sitting around waiting for them to take their sweet-ass time putting out new music. (Three albums in more than 14 years makes the Wrens about as prolific as Boston, which is kind of like being as tall as Charles Sherwood Stratton.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, last Friday marked a huge milestone for the guys—guitarists Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, bassist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonald—who released “Pulled Fences,” their first new song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Granted, it was a track they recorded last year for a radio broadcast, but with these dudes, we’ll take what we can get. We checked in with Bissell to discuss “Pulled Fences.”
:: Wrens Watch, Jan. 12, 2009
MAGNET: We hadn’t had to do a Wrens Watch Special Report since 1997, when Jerry was caught in the Mercury Lounge bathroom with those two underage NYU lacrosse players.
Bissell: On the advice of our attorney (Greg Whelan), we still have no comment about that. Besides, Jerry was cleared of any wrongdoing.
His wife and kids must be so proud. Anyway, congrats on “Pulled Fences,” the first new Wrens song in five years. On initial listen, I thought it was great. So Kevin sang and wrote it?
Yes. And thanks. It was a lot of work finally getting it out. I mean, I have a kid now, and my wife just went back to work. A lot of late nights.
So you keep saying. Listening to “Pulled Fences” a second time, I realize it’s almost like Kevin brought in some half-finished demo for the rest of the band to try and play along to. That’s not actually the case, is it?
The main thing with the song is that we made it up on the spot, more or less: parts, approach, arrangement. A song of Kev’s but only he knew it or ever heard it. He copied the chords down, and the recording is that first time any of us are hearing it, too.
So we waited five years for a new Wrens song and you guys just decided to wing it? Jesus, I spent almost a dollar on it. I mean, Bob Pollard sends MAGNET cassettes full of songs more thought out than that. And for free.
We’d vowed years ago that if we ever played on The Tonight Show, we would make up a song on the spot. As that hasn’t happened yet, we thought a live radio/internet broadcast from Abbey Road with multi-track recording would be pressure enough.
The Tonight Show? You’ve got to be kidding me. Maybe when you get off your asses and finally start recording your new album, you can invite Jimmy Kimmel over and pretend to jam with Pete Best. If it’s not too much pressure.
Have you heard the “Pulled Fences” hidden bonus track? It sounds like this. [Hangs up]