Jesse Wheeler has the unique perspective of being able to see life as fragile as it is and being able to see drama as fickle as it is. Wheeler makes music with his band The Gills, but he used to make music from a hospital bed after being diagnosed with Leukemia when he was just a kid.
“That was a crazy time,” said Wheeler recalling his time in the hospital and out of it treating the disease. “I started off as a drummer before that and that’s what I was into. I didn’t have a lot of passion for writing music. Then, once I got sick, I realized that this is the only life I have – as far as I know – and I wanted to do something to make a difference. I started writing songs and getting a lot of influence from different places. I used to watch the George Harrison tribute DVD and a Paul McCartney DVD over and over again while I was sick, puking 9-10 times a day, just feeling like hell. I was really influenced by that stuff.”
The Gills have been going for a while now, but the current lineup that the band features has stayed consistent over the past few years. That being said, their latest project – a set of two EPs – probably represents them the best. Simply titled 1 & 2, 1 is out now, 2 comes out on October 14th.
“All of the harder songs are on the first EP. It’s kind of like – hey – we’re here – we’re The Gills – smash them in the face type of thing. The second one is more melodic. It has some softer elements to it. There’s a little more insight rather than just rock ‘n’ roll. There’s a little more feeling to it,” Wheeler explained.
Whether it’s insightful or a kick in the teeth, there’s no denying that these EPs feature the best sounding Gills music to date.
“We did all of the bones at the Legion of Boom, then we got everything out at our house ad recorded with a mobile unit. Then we’d order some food, eat, hang out and work on stuff. It was pretty natural. We didn’t have to force very much. Super chill time.”
Wheeler learned to do things that way after years of keeping people on task in the studio and being somewhat uptight about the process. He tried to relax a little more with their latest recording experience.
“Patience is something that I don’t know if I’ll ever fully learn – I’m getting better. Before, I’d be a little uptight and in a hurry. I learned to take a seat back and to really let things kind of happen,” added Wheeler.
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