Ugly Kid Joe is heading back Down Under to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their iconic album America’s Least Wanted.
Thanks to our friend John Howarth, we had the chance to have a chat with the band’s frontman Whitfield Crane, in order to find out more about the Australian tour, the importance of “everything about you” during his career and much more!
SR. Hi With! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. It’s a bit noisy there…where are you know?
WHC. Hi man, I’m actually in Melbourne right now, and trying to deal with my American iphone…It’s a big pain in the ass (laughs).
SR. What are you doing in Melbourne?
WHC. I’m always here in and out, because I love Australia, I’m actually been living in Melbourne for a while, currently I’m in a district called Fitzroy.
SR. Speaking about Australia, you are getting the gang together to play the full America’s Least Wanted album later this year across the country. How this idea came to life?
WHC. Well, it felt like the right thing to do. What better way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the album than tour across Australia and play it in full.
“…I’ve just started with a new band named Yellow Cake here and recorded a four song EP at Hothouse Studios in St. Kilda…”
I’ve been living in Australia on and off, for a while, so I really wanted to start the tour here, as I love the people here, everyone is so passionate here about everything, the sports, food, music, so I like the culture and I want to fill the band with all the positive vibes from you guys before going elsewhere to play.
SR. You guys toured Australia with Skid Row back in 2014. What was the highlight of that tour for you?
WHC. We toured a lot with those guys, the whole tour was pretty cool. I guess the main thing for me was the fact we played at The Palace Theatre in Melbourne, and it was so beautiful, the room was old school, it wasn’t made for a rock concert, it was for Theatre of course.
I remember seen the whole room packed, the show was amazing, we had a blast. However, after the show somebody came and told me that the place was about to go down, be demolished to build apartment buildings, which obviously happened already.
For me it was memorable and an honour to be the last band to play there, and I still cannot believe the took the place down, because it was so stunning, what a shame. That room was so special, and I’ll never forget about that night.
SR. During that tour also, you played at the Hi-Fi in Sydney and there were plenty of fans waiting for you after the show, and you did not let them down, as you went out and spent a fair bit of time with them. Do you normally do that?
WHC. Yeah man, I always do it, because I’m also a music fan, and I also waited outside the venues to see Van Halen and Black Sabbath, so as a music fan I want to meet my favourite musicians, for that reason the minimum thing I can do is to go out and meet the fans that are waiting for us, and chat to them, sing stuff and get pictures.
“We never expected to be played all over the globe in every radio station, and be on MTV.”
Let’s be honest, what do we do this in the first place, it’s because you wanna give people joy, inspire them, help them to have a good time. I f you can go outside and hug somebody or take a picture, you do it, because how hard can that be…it’s not hard at all. Every musician should try to go and embrace people, it’s a cool thing to do.
SR. What’s the song from America’s Least Wanted you like the most?
WHC. I like them all of course, but to play live I really dig playing Neighbor and Cats in the Cradle. There are also a lot of songs we haven’t played in a long time, like Busy Bee and Same Side so it’s gonna be interesting to revisit those.
SR. The first “song” I heard from you guys back in the day was Heavy Metal, from As Ugly as You Wanna Be. I’m curious to know if that 25 second song was fully planned or it was just a bonus after being messing around?
WHC. I’m pretty sure it was just like us playing around at the moment, and then we save it as a kind of bonus at the end.
SR. How important has been the song Everything About You for your career?
WHC. Huge, I mean. We never expected to be played all over the globe in every radio station, and be on MTV. That song really opened the door for us, we even did a very cheap video for it, that now is like a cult-classic, with the inflatable doll flying like a kite.
We never expected to have such a huge success, that song literally took us around the world, and still remains a fan-favourite.
SR. Let’s cut to the chase on something. Many people argue the Kid on the cover of your albums is based on you. Is that true or not?
WHC. Well, I kind of looks like me (laughs). Si I’ll let the door open for you the fans to decide.
SR. What do you do when you are not playing with UKJ?
WHC. I’ve just started with a new band named Yellow Cake here and recorded a four song EP at Hothouse Studios in St. Kilda, with some amazing Australian guest musicians like Ross Wilson. The sound of the band is like Sabbath meets Kyuss if you know what I mean.
SR. What’s the weirdest thing you have ever signed?
WHC. Not really weird, but for me I find odd, when people ask me to sign their arms or body parts so they can get a tattoo. Despite the fact I don’t have any tattoos myself, I like Tattoos, but seriously you want my signature in your body forever?.
I don’t mind to do it, but still freaks me out when they come back to the next gig to show me the tattoo.
SR. Just to finish mate, any message for the UKJ Aussie fans ahead of the tour?
WHC. Just thank you all for the support over the years. We just cannot wait to celebrate 25 years of the America’s Least Wanted album. This tour is for you, the fans!
I also want to say Dallas Frasca, who will be opening for us in the tour, are incredible and everyone should check them out.
Sunday 3 December – Manning Bar, Sydney 18+
Monday 4 December – The Zoo, Brisbane – 18+
Wednesday 6 December – Capitol, Perth – 18+
Thursday 7 December – Fowlers, Adelaide – 18+
Saturday 9 December – Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne – 18+