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 Kim Jong-il.) 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—22 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 19 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. Or they do nothing at all. Or they update their Facebook pages. Fourteen weeks ago, Bissell informed us he was “too busy” to respond to our questions, but he did promise us some exclusive Wrens mp3s in the near future. Thirteen weeks ago, he didn’t even bother responding to our emails, prompting us to call him an unprolific Ryan Adams. That got Bissell’s attention, who 12 weeks ago apologized (profanely) and promised us an exclusive Wrens mp3 for the April 6 Wrens Watch. After not delivering, he said he’d come through the next week, but he didn’t. When Bissell ignored us again (Wrens Watch, April 20 and April 27), we speculated the Wrens were actually recording. Or maybe Bissell was just being a jerk. But then he told us seven weeks ago he’d have a new Wrens mp3 for us. And guess what? The man finally came through. Download a demo of “Z,” which was written and performed by Kevin. We emailed Bissell numerous times to thank him for “Z” and ask him how the new record is progressing, but like we told you five weeks ago, he was unresponsive. He did email us a photo for four weeks ago, though, so we had that going for us. Which was nice. Three weeks ago, we got an email from Bissell saying, “Headed to bed but might have something for you.” As reported two weeks ago and last week, other than a strange email from him referencing Fat Albert, we hadn’t heard from him since. Last Tuesday, Bissell, apparently on vacation, said he would have a new song for us “as soon as I get home on Saturday.” Despite a number of friendly follow-ups from us, Bissell seems to be ignoring us again.
One reply on “Wrens Watch, June 22, 2009”
this is hilarious, if it’s not serious. (half the band are dads, and they all almost live in different states.)
hey, if the meadowland was released in its initial state (instead of endless remixing and re-recording), it wouldn’t have been the somber yet exuberant classic it was. (see the difference between the two versions of “this boy’s exhausted”.)
their first two albums had enough songs for five records anyway, and they’re still and always will be a national treasure. they ain’t getting paid like u2, so don’t expect a new album every three years. at least they didn’t call it quits and never see each other again, like every other great band around in 1995.