Alex Wade is a massive softy when it comes to animals.
Infact, if the Whitechapel guitarist had his way, he would love to see a whole menagerie of animals going ape – literally – to his band’s tunes.
He’s also wary that given the brutal nature of a mosh pit – some of the animals could find themselves in a survival of the fittest. But rest assured, he doesn’t exactly write riffs for Meerkats.
“My favourite animal I’d like to see in a mosh is probably a Gorilla!
“He’d have a lot of authority, he’d probably throw his weight around quite well and he’d mosh pretty hard.”
Like a hippie yearning for their happy place, the Zoo is exactly where you can find Wade when he’s in your city and has a day off on his tour itinerary. And, he and his Whitechapel comrades are guilty of doing the typical American tourist thing when they’ve previously visited our shores.
“I always love the animal sanctuaries, you know, especially those ones with the Koalas.
“We like doing all those touristy things like holding koalas and patting kangaroos and stuff cause you don’t get to do that over in the U.S, you know.”
And despite a pretty tight schedule, he’s definitely hoping to squeeze in a return visit to the local zoos and beaches when Whitechapel tear up the East Coast for back-to-back gigs with Devildriver this weekend.
Fresh from touring together around America, both acts are again sharing the stage at clubs in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Fans were meant to get a small taste of both bands in action earlier this year at Soundwave – until Whitechapel had to withdraw due to a sudden crisis back in their hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee.
“We were really bummed to do that (cancel Soundwave) but we had a family emergency and you know, family comes first,” Wade said.
“It was a really hard time for us to cancel that tour, cause it’s one of our favourite ones to do. But we’re really keen to get down there and make up a few of those shows for the fans.”
Wade said the American leg of the tour with Devildriver was quality fun – but those expecting a wild, Almost Famous-esque party tour on the road would have been disappointed.
“You know, we went out to a few bars and got our drink on and stuff, but that was about it,” he said.
“Honestly, we’re both two very relatively reserved bands when it comes to the backstage.
“You hear stories of bands getting crazy drunk, doing coke and all the crazy shit. We like to have a nice cold beer every now and then, but no one in the band really gets too crazy – and they (Devildriver) are the same way.”
While there may not be a whole lot of ferocious activity backstage, Wade guarantees fans there’ll be plenty on it when they pile out their set. Punters can expect memorable cuts from their back catalogue, along with tracks from their fifth studio record Our Endless War, which was released locally in April.
“Definitely the focus is promoting that album right now so the majority of the set will probably be those songs,” Wade said.
“But we make sure we don’t bum out our fans and leave out our old songs. A lot of bands just like to play all their new stuff and not focus on the old stuff, but we like to have a good mix when we do our shows.”
“I definitely feel the similarities between Australia and the US fans – they all enjoy a good wall of death and they go just as hard as everybody else, man.”
Wade describes Our Endless War as the band’s “most mature release” in their eight year history as they were more focused on the structure of their songs.
“In the past we would just smash a whole bunch of riffs together, whereas we just focused more on the songwriting this time.
“As we get older we learn more about songwriting and what works and what doesn’t. I think this is our most mature release and the one we’re most proud of today… we sound like people who know how to write songs now.”
Wade also believes a telling contributor to the maturity of the record is the level of importance the band places on its work.
“We’ve been doing this thing for about eight years now, and you know, it’s not just something we love doing, it’s our livelihood now as well.
“Early on we were all still living with our parents and living off like $5 a day, not really able to do very much.
“But now the band is our career, it’s our job, it’s what we depend on for money to buy food, pay rent and stuff. I think when we write the music it’s written with more passion and purpose now.”
Whitechapel play with Devildriver and Aversions Crown at The Hi-Fi, Brisbane on Friday, September 5, The Hi-Fi in Sydney on Saturday, September 6, and 170 Russell in Melbourne on Sunday, September 7. Tickets and event info can be found via.