Chris Wyse is one of the more accomplished bass players in the industry today, he’s worked with legendary artists such as Mick Jagger, Ozzy Osbourne, and Jerry Cantrell, has his own band “Owl” and has worked with the hugely influential rock band The Cult since 2000, becoming an official and permanent member in 2006. The Cult are currently on the “Electric 13 tour”, in which they are playing their classic album “Electric” in it’s entirety, along with other selected hits. Recently Chris took some time to sit down and answer some of our questions.
MPR: Hi Chris, let me start off by asking how the Electric 13 tour has been going so far?
CW: The tour has been going great. Fans are eating up the “Electric” set and we are having fun. We play a second set with a mix of the other albums including our latest album “Choice of Weapon.”
MPR: You were around 18 when The Cult originally released Electric, what did you think of that album back then?
CW: I really liked the raw edge of “Electric.” I was also getting into classical and jazz bass at the time and started up on playing the upright bass.
MPR: I was really impressed when I heard that on the Electric 13 tour you guys would not only being playing all of Electric, but also playing something off every album, not a lot of bands can handle that. Was it difficult to get down some of the songs you hadn’t played in years or some cases ever?
CW: We just jumped right in and got to work, and it all came together fast. The songs sounded great and it was good mix of new/old energy. The new songs blend in the second set and really ramp the night up.
MPR: Last year, Choice of Weapon ended up doing very well, especially in the UK. Were you guys expecting that kind of success for that album?
CW: We knew we had a strong record and had something special. I'm just glad people like it. You can never predict how well something will do, but when we all feel very strongly it is a great indicator.
MPR: What can we expect to see from The Cult once the Electric 13 tour wraps up?
CW: We are working on new music, so expect to hear more from The Cult soon!
MPR: You’ve worked with countless musicians, some of which are notoriously difficult to deal with, what’s your secret for being able to work so well with them?
CW: I think I can "read" musicians well and bring something to the table. I never have a lack of ideas and I know what it is like to lead the group. It takes communication and understanding.
MPR: How has working with some of those legendary artists helped you in developing your own sound with Owl?
CW: I feel as a vocalist I have learned a lot from Ian Astbury. Jerry Cantrell is another artist I spent time with and learned what makes artists tick. I’ve definitely been influenced by them and I also learned a lot working with Ozzy Osbourne, and others. Owl brings my own style of bass playing and songwriting to the table and along with new sounds with things like effects on upright bass and unusual melodies. I would say that Owl is songwriting-craft-meets-musical-journeys.
MPR: How did you get into playing an upright bass and then featuring it so prominently in your work with Owl?
CW: Upright bass seemed like the next thing to conquer. I had been written up in a couple of guitar magazines at a young age so it felt logical to take on upright bass and put a modern spin on it with amplification and effects.
MPR: Do you prefer playing material that’s already been written, or creating your own material as you do with Owl?
CW: It is just different. I contributed to the last three Cult albums, but of course also play music that I was not involved in before I was in The Cult. With Owl I was involved in writing each song on both our albums. You always just play from the heart, no matter what.
MPR: Can we expect to see Owl on tour again anytime soon?
CW: Owl had a busy first half of the year and had several sold out shows to support our new release "The Right Thing." We will have another video and possibly some random shows on Cult breaks, but for the rest of this year it's The Cult on our Electric 13 tour. Owl is shooting for early 2014 to do a proper touring in the U.S.
MPR: What do you think has been the best album released this year?
CW: I really dig new Queens of the Stone Age.
MPR: Who is one artist that you’ve always wanted to work with, but never gotten the chance to?