Our managing editor speaks with Tulsa band Wilderado ahead of their show at Cain’s Ballroom.
Local band Wilderado will make their return to Tulsa next month to play 104.5 The Edge’s annual Christmas Concert at the historic Cain’s Ballroom. Joining Silversun Pickups and Cafuné, Wilderado’s Dec. 5 concert will be one for the books. Max Rainer, lead singer and guitarist, says that playing Cain’s has been a longtime dream of the band.
Formed in Malibu in 2015, Wilderado spent that summer in the Latigo Canyon working with fellow Tulsan James McAlister – perhaps most well-known for his collaborations with Sufjan Stevens. “Misty Shrub EP” and “Latigo EP” are a product of that time in the Canyon, later garnering over 100 million streams and building the band’s passionate fan base. In 2018, the band decided to make the move back to Tulsa, and have called the city their home base ever since.
The band recently worked with McAlister again on a remix of their newest single, “Surefire,” which further highlights the lush three-part harmonies which are a staple of Wilderado’s music. The band also released a remix of “Surefire” with Gus Unger-Hamilton, keyboardist of alt-J. Rainer says the band took a laissez-faire approach with the process. “The way we approached it was to have no part of their process at all. Every decision was made on their own,” says Rainer, “We’ve already presented the song in the way we heard it, so the fun was having them take complete control of it.”
That’s just the start of the band’s busy year. The band recently returned from their first UK headline tour, playing shows in Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol and London. “The exhilarating part of experiencing the shows in the U.K. was the realization that the songs have crossed the ocean and are connecting with people in a different culture. Pretty moving, to be honest,” says Rainer. The band doesn’t take their fans or this experience for granted. “I’m not sure what we’ve done to deserve these audiences, they are attentive and emotional. They’re excited when it’s up and listening when it’s down,” he says.
Earlier this year, Rainer had the chance to collaborate with OurVinyl Sessions to create a high-resolution music video/set of a few Wilderado songs. The result is a beautifully raw performance full of heart and energy. Listening to the EP, you would never know Rainer woke up sick the morning he recorded, losing his voice in the process. “We were in the middle of the first leg of our U.S. headline and my voice leaving made me panicky. I was supposed to play different songs than what I ended up performing. I chose songs I could sing. The crew at OurVinyl was understanding and kind about the situation, which was cool,” he says.
He says that listening to the recording is difficult for him. “It’s kind of hard to listen to because I can hear how much I’m struggling. To be honest though, I think it turned out cool and I’ll always remember it. We had to cancel two shows after though, because I totally lost my voice.” Despite the way he feels, his performance drips with emotion and authenticity – a rarity.
Perhaps the strangest occurrence of this year is the band’s unlikely friendship with actor Pauly Shore. Known for his roles in “Son-in-Law,” “Encino Man” and, of course, “The Goofy Movie” series, Shore was wandering around the streets of Los Angeles with his girlfriend when he heard the band performing inside the iconic Troubadour. The actor snuck into the show, and from there the rest is history. “He messaged us afterwards saying he enjoyed it and we struck up a bit of a friendship.” Rainer says.
A couple of weeks ago, Shore further surprised the band by performing a cover of their song “Rubble to Rubble” with the Crustys. When asked about the band’s reaction, Rainer says, “I mean, it’s pretty classic. He’s in ‘A Goofy Movie!’ I guess he loves ‘Rubble to Rubble’ and makes those guys play it with him.”
Wilderado finishes out their busy year strong with their performance at the historic Cain’s Ballroom. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here.
As for 2023, the band says that things are taking shape and it’s likely that something will be released before summer. Rainer, in closing, ecstatically says, “Go Hurricane!”