the Wilde Way of the Wilde
cover and profi le photo by Daniel Siboni
by Christopher Karne Frost
here is a photograph housed at FasterLouder.com, a website dedicated to all things faster and louder in music in Australia, shot by Boo Harris, Australian photographer, wherein Laura Wilde is cradling her Gibson Flying V in both hands—which themselves appear wrapped
photos this page by Robert John
above the wrists in leather forearm accoutrement, as if bound by the faster louder credo.
Editor’s note: er blond, perfectly layered hair frames her face, upon which an expression of joy, focus and determination is etched. Her twenty-one year-old fingers grasp the upper frets of the V-neck like someone who has been playing electric guitar for thirty years, a veteran already, a rock Goddess in the making. But music and rock phenom Laura Wilde is not a veteran rock Goddess any more than she is just a rock musician. You could no more say she is young or old by listening to her symphony-like mastery over her guitar or her raspy, emotion-filled voice in command of the rock lyric like nobodies business than you could say she is just a model, a daughter, a business woman, an entrepreneur, just by looking at her. She is all these things and so much more. Laura is, like the place of her birth—Melbourne, Australia—an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, housed
in a piece of real estate that makes most jaws drop on site. She is deep, complicated, highly intelligent, and just so happens to be all tied up in an extraordinary human being, who also just happens to be a young woman, a rock artist other rock artists envy, a beautiful person inside and out, and quite likely going to be both famous and infamous for it all. I sent my feature writer and senior editor, Chris Frost and our videographer and Zen writer Mike Wilson to Los Angeles this year, to catch up with Laura Wilde, to see if we couldn’t see what made her tick, or rock, as it were. What they discovered, what Christopher Karne Frost captures for you in his article “Way of the Wilde”, is a peek inside the mind of a woman about to become silly famous for her gifts. And while their evening didn’t afford the capture of video we can share (no suggestion it was untoward – just no performance time, which is what we’d hoped for), we think Laura
“Hope for the best, expect the worst.” —Laura Wilde Wilde is someone twenty-somethings can learn from, fifty-something can study to see how to get a handle on their own daughters in the making, and just about anyone with half an appetite for extraordinary can appreciate. Wilder things are afoot, and wild doesn’t always equal bad. Laura Wilde proves that sometimes, wild is best.
grin like one of those front row fans at a first concert I once made fun of, as I wander along Sunset Boulevard in search of a dream I had years ago, when the idea of rock and roll seemed feverish and surreal. We’d stopped along the infamous stretch of concrete that has felt the boots of many a hardcore rock fan before me, and dropped inside for refreshment leadingpossibilities
photo by Robert John
at a place I only know from the movies. Before I can recall which one, I soon find myself tracing the maze-like hallways and stairwells back from the men’s bathroom to our table and my oh-so cool company on the patio of “The Rainbow Bar and Grill” next to “The Roxy.” Cooler heads prevail as I put my fan-boy meanderings aside, and I intelligently choose not to tell my new friend Laura Wilde about my giddy, unbridled joy of being in the land of fantasy and rock stars. Instead I peer out across the LA evening with my Zen partner video man in tow, and settle in for the night. It is easy to see how one’s machinations about stardom can get away from one if one is not too careful in a place like this. After all, I am in the land of dreams, in an infamous rock and roll bar, about to chat with a soon to be famous rocker who I know is beyond my dreams, and I note already that she is above dreaming dreams she has no intention of hunting down and owning. Many rockers of old have undoubtedly walked the floors I stride; gear and 10
grainy images of Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, The Doors and Van Halen are all upon the walls. And I can’t help but smile again at the thought of my illustrious company this night scattered around the walls of the room ten years from now, where some journalist like me will sit in a corner and thank his lucky stars to have been invited along for the ride. Laura Wilde of Melbourne, Australia – perhaps the next big name in L.A., or the world—has my rapt attention.
here have been many female rockers before her to shake the scene; Lita Ford, Pat Benatar, Blondi and Gwen Stefani to name a few, and a few more still who hail from Australia from the rock world, bands such as AC/DC or INXS. There is something about rock and roll and Australia, where even American bands like the Foo Fighters will tell you they always want to play for Australian fans at the Big Day Out music event because rock is respected down under like no other. (“Summer’s biggest day out rolls
into Melbourne”. The Age. 25 January 2003. Retrieved 10 May 2008). I knew AC/DC hailed from the big country, but I always thought they had influenced musical tastes of Australians and not the other way around. It seems, however, the big nation of red rock, ancient people and jumping rats the size of skyscrapers could teach the U. S. a thing or two about how to indulge in their rock and roll. Laura Wilde is relatively known in her country as a comer, and she has made her way to the U.S. in search of American rock fame now. I can’t help wonder that the stars born of a previous age, as things have changed dramatically for the world of the Entertainer – the world of the Rock Star—could not have imagined the likes of Laura Wilde. The days of whiskey sodden band-mates trashing motel rooms, one another, and the world around them in general is a thing of the past, a thing not so kindly looked upon and certainly no longer respected. Laura is proof. november/december ‘11
“It’s a team, a band, not every man for himself. Each has to have pride in the show.” —Laura Wilde
There is an art to being a Rocker of today, and it’s a business – it, my new friend Laura assures me, by her actions less than her words, should be respected and handled accordingly. e talked about her influences in music. Lenny Kravitz influenced Laura with the Flying V, and Gwen Stefani not only with her music, but more so in the way she conducts her life. Bands Laura was enthralled with over the years? Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Slade, T. Rex, Guns n Roses, Motley Crue, Nirvana, Joan Jett and Iggy Pop, just to name a few. A girl after my own heart. Like the artists mentioned, many more have graced the global stage, and Laura certainly possesses the skill set required to graduate to this esteemed list. And yet, besides her obvious good looks and gifted musical arsenal guaranteeing success, there is within a kind, generous and intrinsically intelligent being. My curiosity peeked after watching her work the drums, the computer, her bass, and navigate my increasingly thoughtprovoking questions with grace and an easy smile; I found myself wondering if she had any idea how truly bright she is? Her humbleness, modesty and easy charm were obviously ingrained and definitely not just for show. What a blessing for the entertainment and mundane world I mused. What might the final curtain be? How far ahead was her sight? I am curious to see and so I go further. Her schedule is daunting with band rehearsals, singing lessons, and writing, her lyrics and music taking up time
the way it should. She tells of walking the streets and checking out “what’s in - and what’s out.” She reminded me at times of a CEO, only the streets, bars and bandstands were her hallways, conference rooms and infamous water cooler spaces – all places to be in on the know. It seems she practices what a wise man and woman before her did teach and teach her well: know the formula and stick to the plan, the formula being hard work, perseverance, patience and sacrifice. And it sounds so simple,
My own plan was to come to LA, meet the woman, have the conversation, write the damn article. I sometimes don’t see beyond my own nose. Plan? What plan? But now I believe it is a plan I will surely fail, for this conversation is suddenly so beyond the box and outside the lines, for what I find is not expected, not of the basic or average varietal rock musician idle. I find a young woman made of steel nerves and determination that doesn’t want to be famous, but extraordinary at her craft and business, and it is this reason I suddenly know that Laura, I think, will indeed stick to the plan. I realize I must not write dribble and suddenly I wonder if I am capable. I suppose this is a good time to tell you that at twenty-one years of age, Laura carries herself with a confidence and mysticism usually reserved for those who have already attained the heights of Olympus, already shaken the foundation of the world. She has had great success at photo by Josh Ellis home in Melbourne, having headlined her own 22-show and really it is – if you just stick to the tour, having a drink named for her plan. For how many times in movies at her local pub, having conquered a do we see things go awry when what television stint on BEAT TV working as happens? Someone %$#@! with the a presenter, and she has even had the plan. Laura and “those who won’t be honor to play a private acoustic show named” (because she asked us not to) for the Saudi Arabian Royal Family. did stress to me most emphatically in Last but not least - celebrity judge for their Aussie accents – “just stick to the “Australia’s Hottest Hunk Finale” and fucking plan,” and I made a mental “Ralph Swimsuit Competition.” note: this was the one time I heard a Here in the states she has canned curse word and thought it was perfectly her first album, which she awaits with executed, not at all profane, and mangreat anticipation as do her growing aged with great care. fan base of tens of thousands. And I felt like I was in a Tarantino film she fights on, fights for the summit, with Ozzy Osbourne chastising me, and does so with a smile. Having had even though it was a very simple task. opportunities to advance her career far leadingpossibilities 11
forward with major label signings, she has turned them away as the price for glory was to be paid with the soul, by having her cast her dreams aside to be just another glam rocker and not the Rock-Star she knows she is. How strict in her ideals, her soul, and her core; she will not be sacrificed for stardom. Very noble, and to be admired; greatly here on the hard city streets of LA. Being one who sets the bar so very high for herself has forced upon her the endless task of learning the technologies and business savvy usually reserved for those previously mentioned, as well as sacrificing time “out and about,” where instead of bar hopping or hanging with friends to all hours of the night, she is taking care of business. In the end, the newfound capabilities she has worked into her daily grind can only make her stronger and more viable in an ever-challenging market, for the higher she climbs the more temperamental the terrain. Having at one time many hands in the pot to assist and stir—cowriters, editors and producers have more often only proven how difficult it is to find another to replace them with, people who possess the same caliber of mind, the same drive for a common goal and the smarts to match. Few others have been able to tow the line, making the climb more difficult. Yet instead of cutting the cord ahead of her and calling it quits, she reaches back and swiftly and surely cuts the line behind, severing the connection completely to those who would drag her down. And with increased burden she travels on, consumed in her pursuit and relentless in her drive. I hoped never to be on the back end of that cut line. She laughs often as we speak, and as her comfort level increases, so too do the jokes begin to fly. It seems Laura keeps those around her entertained with more than bass rifts, catchy lines and drum solos, as she is quite the jokester, another thing about her that is quixotic or juxtaposed against what you think about her on sight. And it comes to me, as she leans for12
“I have to learn for myself, and have certainly been burned.” —Laura Wilde
she spends a good deal of time, sharing in the wanton destruction of watermelons and other lead and full-metal-jacket worthy targets whenever the tension boils too high. It isn’t easy being a rocker, and I can think of a great many worse ways to blow off steam.
s for her bullet-delivering “children” or “playthings” - the handcannon and HK are neither the oldest or first, but instead that honor goes to her first Flying V, her electric guitar, a Gibson Flying V to be exact, first prototyped in 1957, launching the V-like futurist design, much the same as Lenny Kravitz cradled while mesmerizing a young three year-old Laura with “Are you gonna go my way?” I know in an instant the respect she shows for her weaponry is applied to guitar as well as her collected arsenal. Laura told me the day her V was dropped in her fingers was the day she was hooked. At the age of twelve her parents gave her the first guitar and amp she would call her own. Today the walls of her domicile shine with many of photo by Calvin Cropley her favorite tools of the trade, and ward with a quip at my expense, that had so too the bedrooms of children she has Austin Powers been a strikingly beautiful, donated her trophies, that they too may blonde-haired vixen with an Aussie acdream guitar dreams. Being a fan myself cent, sporting black leathers and enough of all things medieval, I was enthralled knuckle iron to flay a face, he would have with her great-room, filled to the rafter been she, right before me. with posters of movies past such as The Yet alas, I realize, I am blessed with Terminator and Pulp Fiction, the room’s someone very real in Laura Wilde when high shag red carpet and drum-set, guns, I peer up to swim a moment in her joy. guitars and banners ringing out to me And behind her, the reminder of her as a King’s great hall, or Queens in this watching muscle, a matte-black Desert case, with her weapons of war at the Eagle, or hand cannon should you prefer ready set amongst the skins of fallen foes to call it – so I laugh a little louder. Laura, and their fallen banners, all calling out the it seems, is a gun aficionado, another triumph of her kingdom. juxtaposed fact that doesn’t quite mesh with the obvious recipe. In time I see e spoke of karma as Laura our good-natured jokester has an affinexplained she practices ity for firearms that would make many and believes; “what goes a survivalist blush. Soon I spot a brand around comes around” and to always new HK 4-16 Assault Rifle. Do I send a “pay it forward.” And no sooner had blankie and bib, or Gift Certificate to the we discussed this that a tale Laura had local armory so that her newborn doesn’t shared earlier in our discussions invaded go hungry? my mind and seemed most applicable. She talks of friends and the sandsA year or so back she recounted how of-the desert with whom and where
scarlet woman (chorus): lyrics by laura wilde Pull up a chair and watch the tables turn See the upper hand crash and burn Don’t let the guard down Stay high above That’ll teach a girl to fall in love www.laurawilde.com
her parents had bought her a fancy new camera, which she shortly thereafter gave away to a familiar face in the crowd by the name of Calvin Cropley, a young man who always seemed to be at her shows and for whom she knew had a great interest in photography. Calvin later captured what may be the iconic and everlasting image of Laura rocking out on stage (photo facing page). Good karma indeed.
was so taken by her intelligence, by how so young she was and yet she already understood more of economics and the entertainment industry than many of today’s producers of yesterday. The sleek-worded, ill-balanced contracts of before shouldn’t be a worry for Laura, though I fear many a sucker still walks the streets to keep the snake tongued schemers of the entertainment industry well nourished for many a year to come. Ironically, thus far Laura’s greatest foe has proven to be perception - that of the narrow minded. For too many billboards and magazines host silkenskinned models posing with the tool of Laura’s trade – The Flying V. The fact she can rip the skin from your ears while you gesticulate in delight with hair aflame to her tornado sound is missed by those who have not yet taken the time to listen, to truly know, and sometimes obscured by her extraordinary beauty that could easily grace the cover of Sport’s Illustrated as much as it could the Rolling Stone.
n her wisdom and matter-offactedness about the short-sidedness of LA she knows she has to overstep, she shared the following with me about the road to success; “To be a successful Rock-Star today, november/december ‘11
is to be a Rock-Star without being a Rock-Star.” She further theorized how technology has broken down the barriers between star and fan, so the drunken Rock-Star is a thing of the past – no one has the time or patience for it. And where before, hundreds of musicians made millions of dollars, now millions of musicians make hundreds of dollars. “You have to have your (stuff) together or you aren’t going to make it.” Wise words, one and all. At the outset of our trip to meet this young blonde haired Rock Star, my videographer Michael and I were none too clear of what was in store. A trip to L.A., a couple of nights spent on Sunset Strip with all its starry-eyed hopefuls, tourists and God knew what. Perhaps a lucky run-in with an established star doing none too graceful two-steps down the boulevard, we wondered – we didn’t know. But no sooner had Laura opened the door, the feeling of something unusual was about to happen set in, and throughout our entire day I had the feeling of being elsewhere, in something yet to be, part of something soon to be seen, became ever more prevalent. There was even a time I forgot Michael’s name entirely and had to ask “who are you again?”
e weren’t fed spacecakes or slipped a rufi, and we didn’t have any drinks (well until that evening that is) or partake of any medicinal, yet there we were with this family, enjoying a moment of undeniable tranquility and joy. It was very simple, it was very clean, and it was quite a memorable and moving experience, one for which Michael and myself will always be thankful. In
photo by Robert John
the end it was us who was treated to time and opportunity to sit, talk, jest and jive with some of the coolest, down to earth people either of us will ever meet. What should be noted is the undeniable professionalism and character Laura brought to our interview, and to her life and career, it seems. I was left with a knowing for as before we had drunken louts belting out rifts and getting pissed drunk in front of the world as “role models” for the youth of the 80’s, 90’s…in the 21st century, now we have at least one role model right; bright, capable, talented and truly respect worthy, an individual blazing a path in the world of entertainment and society alike. Laura carries this banner with conviction and holds it high as a new face for the industry steps forth. I can think of none other more worthy to lead the charge, for there are too few such talented, soulful, and inspirational people as Laura in this world, whether it is as a Rock-Star or something else entirely. She will attain heights the rest of us only spy through tube-capped lenses of our digital cameras in a crowd of ten thousand. Rock on Laura, Rock on. lp leadingpossibilities 13