The Well Wishers – Spare Parts (Q&A)

‘Eventually every band or artist reaches that point in their careers where they have an album’s worth of spare parts, scraps and orphaned tracks that never seemed to have a proper home. It took 17 years, but we finally got there!. The 11 tracks herein are assorted of outtakes, demos, and previously unreleased songs that finally found their way off the cutting room floor.”, writes Jeff Shelton on The Well Wishers’ Bandcamp page.

Spare Parts is the umpteenth proof we get this year that there are hidden treasures in many attics. Fortunately, treasure hunting turned out to be an essential new activity for many in 2021.

2021 is the year where many lost songs have been found, dusted, and released. Do you see Spare Parts as part of that ‘trend,’ or is the story different?

I didn’t think I was jumping on a trend necessarily….although I did feel I needed to release some new material this year since it had been over a year since the last Well Wishers album (2020’s “Shelf Life” LP). I began to realize I had all these assorted songs laying around. They were all mostly finished, so I felt they needed some kind of release.

I wonder how it is possible that Call It A Day never got a spot on any of your records before; what a lovely song! What’s the story?

Haha! Thank you! Yes, it’s a very bouncy and catchy little tune. I think the subversive lyrics just kept me from putting it on any proper record. It seemed so tongue & cheek and out of place for some reason. “You bring the wine….I’ll bring the strychnine.” Weird stuff. However, I do like the interplay between sweet pop and morose lyrics. Undoubtedly inspired by The Smiths, I think!

On, for example, Growing Old and Let’s Drive (All Better Now), the guitar sounds a bit more ragged and rough. I like that a lot, but maybe I hear things that aren’t there?

All the songs are finished … at least to my satisfaction; I almost always have more ragged songs and “rock” sounding than others. It’s part of that power pop spectrum I enjoy. I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated the Beach Boys as much as Black Sabbath.

Did you have to do a lot of fine-tuning to make a whole from all the separate parts? It does sound like a whole, but maybe that wasn’t a goal in itself?

Not a lot of fine-tuning at all; as I mentioned, most of these songs were essentially finished, although with “Call it a Day,” I did add some solo and textural guitar shortly before this release. If the whole thing sounds at all cohesive, it’s purely coincidental. The beauty of a random compilation like this is just throwing it out there for people to enjoy. There’s no real theme or desired cohesion whatsoever, hence “Spare Parts.”

I can imagine Love and Science is not a left-over; more you wanted to play around with new ideas and a different sound?

Love and Science was indeed part of a 3-song experiment from 2010 … where I made strictly electronic music. It was the best of the bunch, but you can check out two other songs here.

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