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 Eddie Gaedel.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, January 9 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—and one they basically made up on the spot—but with these dudes, we’ll take what we can get. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something new, the band is convening this week to begin work on its new album. We checked in with Bissell to see how things are going.
:: Wrens Watch, Jan. 19, 2009
MAGNET: All of your albums were slow to get started, recording-wise, because you don’t live close to each other and you record at your own leisurely pace in home studios. Surely you guys have been getting together regularly to work on the new album.
Bissell: Uh, all four of us will be in the same room this week to record for the first time in a decade. Although that Jerry hasn’t replied to my email asking what time he’ll be up here probably means he didn’t pay his AOL bill again and doesn’t know we’re supposed to be recording this week.
How professional. So what studio are you recording in? No matter where it is, it will be better than having to do the album at Kevin’s house.
Let’s see … It’ll be at Kev’s house, because there’s the full basement to have drums and stuff.
Where will you do overdubs? I remember you used to do them at your house in Jersey, but now that you live in Brooklyn, I’m sure you have some state-of-the-art place in New York lined up.
I’ve got stuff at my house to do overdubs on these recordings. So it’s still Jersey produce.
Huh? Still Jersey produce? Actually, never mind. I’m sure you’re just a little loopy from having been writing non-stop for the new record. You told me this summer you planned on having twice as many songs ready to record as Kevin. But he actually told me that he has done demos for more than 100 songs. I know you don’t have 200 songs ready, right?
What? I couldn’t hear you.
I have a little under two songs.
No, just plain two. But that’s only a slightly greater spread than going into most of our records.
But I thought this new album was supposed to be different. You said you were going to start acting like a real band and record on real equipment and not fall back into the same routine.
All of the equipment is new. Much of it is used and bought on Craigslist and eBay, but it’s still new … to us.
So absolutely nothing is different this time around?
Not true at all. This one is going to be recorded totally differently than all our other records. That’s part of what took so long to get started.