“We are just trying to keep it interesting”
If you’re at all familiar with the current music scene in Louisville, then you’re familiar with Wiirmz, or at least you damn well should be. Wiirmz came roaring out of the ashes of Hot Wires and Trophy Wives in 2019 featuring Louisville punk scene veterans Billy Bisig (guitar and vocals), Brian Gray (bass and vocals), and Brad White (drums and vocals); (guitarists David Wright and Chad Castetter were also once part of the lineup, but have since left the band). Prior to the COVID shutdown, the band recorded their debut album Faster Cheaper, releasing it in the summer of 2020 to rave reviews. Fast forward to 2023 and Wiirmz is back with the brand new four-song EP, A La Carte. LEO caught up with drummer Brad White, who is also, by his own words, the “Wearer of most hats at FifteenTWELVE Portland Ave Creative Compound” and music venue PORTAL, as well as a designer, fabricator and CEO of Rockerbuilt Studio for a chat about the past, present and future.
LEO: How did Wiirmz come together, and what happened with Hot Wires?
Brad White: Hot Wires released two full lengths and had some singles on television shows; we wanted to diverge from garage/stoner rock. We were feeling pretty upset with the affairs in the world and thought a punk band would be better than yelling at the internet. So we rearranged Wires into WiiRMZ, like the brain worms infesting our society and its “leaders.”
Wiirmz is known for lyrically taking on political and social issues. What can you tell us about the lyrics to the four songs on A La Carte?
A La Carte is about everyone having an expectation that they deserve to get whatever they want and having to watch grown men, “influential people,” publicly throw temper tantrums. “Radiation” is a look at climate and cancer. Brian lost his father and this was what emerged. “Tension”; society has been existing in a state of tension for the last several years so that song seemed appropriate.
What can you tell us about the recording of the new EP?
Our good friends Pat Hume and Sam Scholten own Hidden Room Studios located at the creative compound at fifteenTWELVE, conveniently next door to PORTAL. These tracks just needed to be recorded and released so we could move on with new material.
What’s coming up in the foreseeable future for Wiirmz? And what kind of plans do you have for beyond that?
We got to play some really great shows this year with some of our favorite bands, Meat Wave, Child Bite, Naw, Multicult, some of which will be back to play PRFBBQ in Sept. We are just enjoying this cool community of noisy bands that we are grateful to be a part of.
How did Rockerbuilt come about?
There is a common thread in musicians that are also tradesman with a wide variety of skill sets. Rockerbuilt is a fabrication company that employs primarily musicians and gives them the freedom to leave for tour and have a job to come back to. Our property at 1512 Portland Ave is a full embodiment of my partner, Andy Cook and myself, since we are both artists and musicians.
The fifteenTWELVE Creative Compound where Rockerbuilt and PORTAL are located, were you a part of establishing that?
Yeah, fifteenTWELVE is my brainchild. I have a much larger vision for the place that requires more money and a walkable neighborhood so I’m up against the sands of time and downtown development growing west. The Waterfront Park and Painters Row development is step in the right direction.
PORTAL is one of the best music venues in the city. The sound is always great. The space is the perfect size where regardless of where you are or how crowded it is, you always have a great view. How did it come about, and what went into the planning and designing of it?
Thank you for that! It seriously exists because Louisville was skipped over by all the music I wanted to see and it wasn’t feasible to go to Nashville, Chicago, or further to see touring shows every week. So we started trying to bring them to us. We opened slowly out of COVID, which allowed us to tweak the room and grow as we could afford. PORTAL is an independent, DIY space built on the backs of a lot of people: Andy Cook, Brian Gray, Elliot Turton, Colin Feeney, Mike Robinson, Stella Strong, Emily Nixon. We just wanted to build the venue that we, as artists, wanted to play at and as a viewer wanted to experience.
For you personally, what have been some of your most memorable moments at PORTAL?
I’m not a star struck fanboy, but it is really cool getting to hang out with some of my favorite artists just as “people.” I mean, Shepard Fairey, Ty Segal, Kool Keith, JD Pinkus, and at least two of my favorite drummers of all time: John Stanier of Helmet/Tomahawk/Battles and Mario Rubacalba of Hot Snakes/Earthless, all stand out as highlights. I also broke my thumb crowdsurfing during a Show Me The Body set, a reminder that I am indeed too old for that.
What shows/events do you have coming up at PORTAL that you’re excited about, and is there anything in the works for the future?
This month alone is lots of heavy rock and roll, big hip hop events, punk and hardcore shows, outlaw country and honky tonk, dance parties, and a new art show in our galleries. The next few months are stacked with international acts and festivals. We are just trying to keep it interesting.
Amongst all the things you do for Wiirmz, Rockerbuilt and PORTAL, you’re also artist, fabricator and sculptor. First off, where do you find the time? Secondly, tell us about your work and where we can see it.
As far as art, I suppose the most recent public piece was a life-size bronze commission of the late Kent Taylor that now stands in front of Texas Roadhouse Headquarters. Finding time? I’m competing with time itself; there is no division between my life and my work. I’m just motivated to create things whether it’s art, music, environments, experiences, opportunities for others. I’m just doing as much as possible with what I’ve got. •
Wiirmz latest EP “A La Carte,” is now streaming on Spotify. For more information visit facebook.com/WiiRMZ.official, instagram.com/wiirmz, fifteen-twelve.com, and rockerbuilt.net.