CONVERSATIONS WITH HIMSELF, Nate Wood, new album Four X.IT
‘I gazed upon a burning bush of elemental fire it said “do just what you have to son to keep yourself inspired, maybe you can ride this flame, but don’t get caught too high, it might be worse if you succeed but it’s better if you try.’ excerpt from Better if You Try by Nate Wood from his latest album release ‘FOUR X.IT’ answered my question about why this extraterrestrial musician has gone solo on this newest release, a project of one take performances with no prerecorded backing tracks, overdubs or click tracks, Nate playing all four instruments, drums, bass, keys/synths and vocals.
Probably best known as drummer for the progressive LA based band, Kneebody, the first time I saw Nate play was with guitarist, Wayne Krantz, at ‘The Cutting Room’ in NYC, he was playing bass. His presence on stage was looming, prodigious and strangely frightening, he was on a raised stage and I was seated at a small table right in front of him, I had to kink my neck to see him and the perspective made him seem more foreboding. Since then I’ve attended many of Nates gigs in smaller clubs at eye level. Its hard not to watch him he draws you in, this mysterious one. I almost feel voyeuristic as I view him through my camera, his strabismus eyes appear to stare directly into my lens. Tight, cartilaginous body, long gangly arms, uncanny resemblance to Vladmir Putin, and his eccentric collection of short sleeved patterned open necked Lacoste t-shirts, provoked the thought he might be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia or at least some mild personality disorder. Not the case, in fact far from it. Nate is composed and calm, he doesn’t see himself as just a drummer, he sees his musical dexterity on many instruments as being all one universe.
He grew up around music, both his parents are musicians, his father, keyboardist, Steve Wood, long time member of Kenny Loggins band and his mother, Beth, guitarist singer/songwriter. A close family friend revealed he gave Nate his first and only bass lesson, well he said there were two lessons, one was about playing on beat 1 and the second lesson on beat 4, you work out the rest. We met this week in a New York bar where Nate was playing bass once again for Wayne Krantz. He sat down at our table in his break and proceeded to finish his dinner, Lebanese take-away and talk non-stop music effortlessly over the din of the bar, never raising his monotone smooth silky voice.
Four X.IT, the album was released in late July this year with his first live showcase at NuBlu in NYC on July 25th. Reliant on his own musical narrative, Nate prefers not to play it safe, FOUR is hard proof of his evolutionary self progress and self criticism. His gripping lyrics admonishing against future existence and serve up wild suggestions to combat what lies ahead. ‘I’ll take a rocket ship to the moon, before we meet our impending doom’, My Voice Will Be Heard’ in the future when he wakes up from a cryogenic sleep in a new world where the boogie men are annihilated. 10 tracks in total 50/50 vocal and instrumental.
No Lacoste floral t-shirts for the Captain of the Starship Enterprise: he needs his space suit to negotiate the mission control centre, multifarious, he is dexterous, ambidextrous, hyper mobile, a renaissance man, I’m sure he could paint with intricate strokes with his left foot, write a thesis with his right, direct a symphony one handed and scramble eggs with his free hand during breakfast rush hour at his local corner cafe. I want a ticket on that rocket ship so I can freeze myself or maybe just my head and wake up in Nate’s brand new world.
I highly recommend you catch him live at NuBlu on August 22nd @ 9.00pm