David Lord and Les Easterby are two of the most recognizable names in Wichita music. Lord cut his teeth in the jazz-rock band Solagget and more recently The Wonder Revolution while Easterby worked his way through a number of bands including And Academy, The World Palestine and, more recently, The World Palindrome.
The old friends saw a lot of each other while Easterby was working on the latest World Palindrome recording and, Lord says, that’s when their first collaboration, The Wonder Revolution’s WOW, began.
“I think I wrote one guitar song, just recorded some parts and just tentatively asked Les if he’d want to do something over it," Lord explains. "I gave him it to him, he wrote a song over the top of it. It went really well. So we just started doing it where every week or every other week, where I’d give him some tracks with classical guitars and then usually I’d give him a batch of lyrics—so he’d take those lyrics and add some more of his own.”
For Easterby, the project was the fruition of hopes he’d had for several years.
“It’s something we’ve talked about because I remember back in 2009, seeing David play and thinking, ‘We have to do something together.’ We both stay pretty busy but we finally got a chance to do it, which was awesome,” Easterby says.
WOW provides evidence of both musicians having grown by leaps and bounds. Both musicians took risks on this recording—Lord opted for non-standard guitar tunings, most of them inspired by his fiancée Lindsay Bowling.
“I would ask Lindsay to tell me some random notes and then I would just tune the guitar to whatever she said. But then what was so nice as far as working with Les… In the past, guitar parts are pretty natural but then I’ll spend a lot of time trying to write melodies and songs and then giving it to somebody else to sing and that doesn’t come quite as naturally for me as just the guitar parts, so that was a new development for me, to just do my part and pass it on to Les and have it come back with something better than anything I could have dreamed of coming up with,” Lord says.
Easterby says that what he added to the lyrics was fairly minimal because Lord’s initial drafts were so strong.
“I feel really fortunate that he did provide the majority of the lyrics because that’s one of the things I don’t really look forward to when it comes to albums," Easterby explains. "That’s one of the more painful processes for me, so it’s nice to have something to go by and piece things together and add a few things if I had to.”
Lord says that in the end what’s perhaps most fitting about his new collaboration with Easterby is that it was Easterby who helped him move from the jazz world into the rock world a little more than a decade ago. It started when Easterby heard Lord’s band Solagget for the first time.
“Les found a recording of us online.”
“It was on MySpace. I heard it and thought, ‘This stuff’s awesome,’ so I asked them to play a show with us at the Funky Foot.”
“Right. If you hadn’t done that we probably wouldn’t have gone that direction.”
The Wonder Revolution’s WOW is out now. The band celebrates with a live performance at the Fisch Haus Friday evening.