EXCLUSIVE: Axle Whitehead comes full circle on new sound to debut on spring tour
After seven years based in Los Angeles, musician and actor Axle Whitehead plans to spend more time in Australia.
While in LA, in between his TV work, he also played clubs and developed a more Americana sound than the pop inflections of his last album.
“I actually grew up on country and Americana, along with jazz,” he says.
“My middle brother who played horn introduced me to Ry Cooder as well as [jazz fusion guitarists] John McLaughlin and John Scofield.
“In LA, you have ten to 15 radio stations playing all kinds of music and I was fascinated at how mainstream this kind of music is over there.”
An EP is set for release in late 2018 with an album to follow.
In September he previews the new material when he opens for James Van Cooper, a Sydney guitarist whom Whitehead met in Los Angeles when Van Cooper was recording his September-due Americana-sounding album Coming Home.
On the Australian dates, Whitehead will be accompanied by Australian guitarist, songwriter and producer Carl Dimataga.
Nine years ago, the two had written a batch of songs but which they stored away while Whitehead worked on a pop record Losing Sleep and then relocated to America where the one-time Video Hits host featured in TV shows as Shameless and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.
“A year ago when I was back in Australia, we dug up these songs.
“They all stand up they’re strong songs and we reworked them.
“We knew we were on a good thing when we wrote them eight or nine years ago, and now it’s come full circle.”
The two were joined in the sessions by drummer Declan Kelly and bassist Rowan Lane.
Dimataga who produced the record, played the majority of guitar.
Whitehead also played guitar. A multi-instrumentalist, he started out learning piano, drums and trumpet. He kept up the piano and expanded to bass and cello.
“The EP melded my country background and the jazz background.
“It’s got a bit of Ry Cooder, a bit of Elvis Presley and a bit of Chuck Berry.
“As a musician, you’re always trying to find your sound and I think I’m getting closer to my sound on this record.”
The James Van Cooper/ Axle Whitehead dates are:
Friday, Sept 14 – SLYFOX, Enmore, Sydney (Cooper album launch)
Saturday, Sept 15 – Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Thursday, Oct 4 – The Fyrefly, St Kilda, Melbourne
Friday, Oct 5 – Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, Melbourne
Friday, Oct 19 – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, Sydney