Q: Whaddya get when a STRANGLER, a DAMNED, a RUTS DC and a JOHNNY MOPED walk into a (virtual) room?
A: You get – WINGMEN!!!!
We live in an era of lockdown crafted, post-pandemic albums. With live performance taken out of the equation, in that dark period between 2020 and late 2021, musicians had to get creative. Stripped of the ability to perform with their respective bands, Baz Warne (The Stranglers), Paul Gray (The Damned), Leigh Heggarty (Ruts DC) and Marty Love (Johnny Moped) joined together digitally and formed a band; a musical union that somehow manages to sound like the sum of all of those legendary bands, yet also nothing like them. Say hello to Wingmen- a band formed in extraordinary circumstances.
Drummer Marty Love explains how Wingmen came to be:
“I called Paul and suggested to him that we should have a go at a new project after enjoying working
together on The Sensible Gray Cells record and if so, did he have anyone in mind, We both wanted to work with Leigh, and he was interested in the idea. I asked Leigh if he knew any vocalists that may fancy it and he said Baz Warne could be worth a call, and to my surprise Baz said yes!
So, then there were four. We all started sending song ideas to each other. The first was ‘Brits’ from Baz and then ‘Starting Blocks’ from Leigh. After that the songs just kept coming…”
Over to Paul Gray: “Yes chums, at long last I’m thrilled to say it’s “chocs away” for that top secret lockdown project I’ve been teasing about …Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about it is that the whole writing and recording process – apart from the drums, which were added last of all – was undertaken remotely, with us pinging songs and ideas and overdubs to each other from our respective abodes.
I’d only ever worked with Marty before, and up until this day we’ve never actually played in the same room together – I knew Leigh but had never met Baz. We only all met up for the first time at Panther Studios in Reigate when the songs were completed to our satisfaction and were ready to mix…followed by many foaming pints and joie de vive’ness in the pub opposite, of course!”
Although unconventional in its creation, the good news is that Wingmen is not a just a studio project – they will be a band that plays live! A final few words from Leigh Heggarty:
“If someone had told my teenage self that I’d know members of The Stranglers, The Damned, Eddie & the Hot Rods, Johnny Moped and for that matter The Ruts – let alone that one day I would be in a band with them – I’d have probably told them that they were mad. It’s worth having a dream sometimes.”
Their self-titled album will be released January 27th 2023, via Cadiz Music. You can pre-order HERE.
Live dates to be announced so keep an eye out as Punktuation will bring you the news as we get it!
The first taste of Wingmen’s work is ‘Down In The Hole’, a song which channels the intense moods and feelings that lockdown created. Listen HERE.
Follow Wingmen on Facebook….
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‘Usually found jumping around down the front at gigs, I also relish taking photos and videos, singing, speaking with fellow music fans, and asking musicians the questions nobody else does Writing about my favourite bands and connecting with people who love music too keeps me more-or-less sane I’ve worked for over 25 years at a video production company, mainly filming live music events, therefore I have an additional backstage perspective!’