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 Clarence Swensen.) 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. They issued “Pulled Fences,” their first new (well, sort of new) song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something, the band convened—not in a real studio, but in Kevin’s basement—six weeks ago to begin work on its new album. And not only that, the Wrens recorded an actual song (which you can download for free here). When we checked in with Bissell three weeks ago, he took exception with our good-natured sarcasm and quickly ended the interview. After ignoring us for a while, Bissell finally gave us a progress report; it seems that while other bands get together and record, the Wrens stay apart and talk to each other on the phone.
:: Wrens Watch, March 2, 2009
You mentioned last week the other guys got together without you to practice. Did you at least call them while they were doing so?
Of course. I was at home, barking orders into the speaker phone: “More kick! Make the chorus come alive, you old women!”
I was kidding when I asked about you calling them, but I guess I should have suspected as much. Actually, I have a new theory: I think you guys are actually done with the album and this whole not-recording thing is a ruse.
That’s funny. That’s one of the reasons I made a big deal about “starting” recording. Because if we just started and then announced an album was done later this spring, no one would believe we hadn’t been working on it the whole time.
Let me get this straight: You want to make sure people realize that you guys haven’t spent six years on the record, but only a couple months, even though it’s been six years since the last one came out? Don’t you think people will think, “What the hell have these slackers been doing?”
Well, it doesn’t sound so good when you put it that way.
You realize that at the rate you’re going, there’s going to be more time between The Meadowlands and the new album than there was between (1996’s) Secaucus and The Meadowlands?
Again with the negativity. Anyway, I have to go. Kevin, Greg and I have been working on a song together, and we have a conference call set up to discuss the direction we want to take the third verse.