Wizard Conjures Up A Suspiciously ’70s Sound



By Steve Newton

“If Foghat is a dirty word to you, stop reading.” That’s how Entertainment Weekly kicked off its review of Bad Wizard’s 2002 CD, Sophisticated Mouth. Now, it’s been a long time since I dusted off my dog-eared vinyl copies of Energized or Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaws, but back in high school, circa the mid ’70s, those were the kind of albums we used to take extended lunch breaks for.

Anyone else with a hankering for, as EW describes it, “guitar-stoked, blue collar metallic boogie bands from the ’70s”, should make a point of checking out the Wizard when it plays the Piccadilly Pub on Saturday (November 6).

Guitarist Tina Gorin makes no apologies for her band’s attempts to recapture the spirit of the mag-wheels and flared-jeans era. In fact, when I mention that the title track of the New York quintet’s latest release, #1 Tonite!, reminds me of Chinatown-era Thin Lizzy, she gets downright giddy.
“Oh, wow,” she says from the band’s van, en route to a gig in Detroit, “I like to hear that. That’s very good. Entertainment Weekly reviewed it and they said we sound like Cactus. So I’d rather sound like Thin Lizzy.”

Gorin’s appreciation of the double-barrelled Lizzy guitar style can be seen in the photo of her that graces the #1 Tonite! CD booklet: she’s pictured wearing a black leather jacket, riffing out on a sunburst Les Paul, hair all in her face. She’s since traded in that classic six-string for a ’78 Telecaster, but whatever brand of guitar she’s armed with, expect the 26-year-old to exchange plenty of raunchy riffs with coguitarist Eddie Lynch, while unleashing a sound that Rolling Stone once labelled “seventies-style stoner rock”.

But even the most high-profile music publications can be off the mark.

“There’s no stoner-rock vibe,” stresses Gorin. “That whole thing came from when we were on a label that had that reputation; we just got lumped into this category.”

So what’s it like for a young woman whose everyday life involves sharing a van with a quartet of apparently rowdy rock dudes? “I enjoy it,” Gorin says. “I’ve been in bands with girls, and I’ve been in bands that are mixed, and I kinda prefer the company of gentlemen.”

Gentlemen, eh? Well, gentle isn’t the word that springs to mind when viewing the #1 Tonite! photo of bearded, tattooed singer Curtis Brown in his grubby jeans and Ted Nugent T-shirt. But Gorin claims that her bandmates act like “four big brothers” around her, and she’s not really concerned about Curtis’s occasional habit of getting naked on-stage.

“It’s all a big blur as it’s happening,” she relates with a chuckle, “so I’m not sure what he’s doing. I know he’s just moving around constantly and bumping into me, and I’ll find out afterwards that he had no clothes on. I usually hear about it from other people.”

Leave a Reply