Wicasta was born in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, “the only child of Bob Lovelace and Peggy Chaney“. He showed an interest in music early on, teaching himself simple songs on the piano and general abusing anything that made a remotely musical sound. He traded an electric typewriter for his first electric bass, and bought his first “real” bass guitar in 1983. He joined his first Rock band in 1986 and “never once looked back”.
Throughout the 1980′s and 1990′s Wicasta played bass in various Rock bands, picking up guitar along the way , but focused primarily on recording demo quality tracks of his original songs. He also dabbled in production work for some of his cousins’ bands, learning bits and pieces of the recording art as he went along (which are being used to full effect on Windhaven’s recordings).
In 1999 Wicasta was detoured from music while he spent eight years driving a tractor-trailer on cross-country routes, visiting all 48 continental United States along the way. He quit driving in 2007, and has been quietly getting back to the business of making music ever since, with Tampa Bay acts such as The Just In Time Band, The Traveling Wildebeests, Systematic Chaos, Catdaddy Pirates, Bad Hat Harry and, his current and most favorite, Windhaven.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician?
I don’t think there was ever a realization. I was always fascinated with anything that made a noise as a child. So it wasn’t a big leap to becoming a musician. I used to steal my step-brother’s acoustic guitar, and play it until my fingers bled. And I recall he had a snare drum at one point, which I’d swipe and bang on for hours sitting in our garage. I’ve just always loved music of any kind. Becoming a musician just sort of happened organically.
Have you ever performed as part of an acoustic act?
I’ve never been in an acoustic band before. Never expected to be. Windhaven sort of fell into my lap, and it made me realize that there are more elegant ways of creating music than banging out heavy rhythms over a back-beat in a Rock band. Maybe I’m finally old enough to appreciate the challenge that performing in an acoustic act represents. But if this had come along 20 years ago, I would have scoffed at it. See? Good things really do come with age.
Tell us about your musical background.
I come from a talented family full of musicians. Music was always around. My mother and my aunts always sang in church choir. In my first band I played with a couple of cousins (who were like brothers to me). I have other cousins who always had one country band or another. It was just always around us in one form or another, and seemed as natural to us as breathing. I was surprised to grow up and discover that not everyone had that kind of background.
Who are your musical influences?
My first musical heroes were the rock band KISS. Everybody had a favorite, and mine was Gene Simmons. He could probably be blamed for turning me into a bass player and getting me into my first Rock band. Once I got older and learned more about music and my tastes expanded, I was always drawn to music that had great bass. Rush. Yes. Kansas. The Who. Dozens of others. But I’ve also played guitar, almost from Day One. There was a point in my twenties when I thought I was going to switch to guitar for good, but I never did. I had those influences, though. Jimmy Page. Eric Clapton. David Gilmour. Jeff Beck. Honestly, the people I could cite as musical influences would take a few pages to list. Guitar players, bass players, drummers, songwriters, producers. It’s just always been music to me, so it wasn’t a big leap to switch to guitar. I’ve been playing guitar almost as long as I’ve played bass, so those guitar influences are just as strong as those of my bass heroes.
Any interests or hobbies outside of the band?
I have about a hundred different irons in the fire. Art projects. Poetry. I’m working on a couple different books and short stories. Right now I’m trying to get a collection of faery prints off the ground that I’m calling Faeries Underfoot, and I’m planning to publish a new version of a Medieval work called the Malleus Maleficarum (which I already host online at malleusmaleficarum.org). I have a political web site I call The Watch, and lots of other terrible time wasters. Oh, if that’s not bad enough, I’m also addicated to the online game World of Warcraft, which Victoria and I play at every opportunity. Maybe the most interesting project I’m working outside of the band is a novel I’m trying to complete, titled Blood & Chartreuse – a novel about vampires in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Oh, and I’m also hoping to get a music festival off the ground – Capt. Thornton’s Tampa Bay Local Music Festival.
What are your current musical favorites? What are you listening to?
If I had to pick a current favorite, I’d have to point to Them Crooked Vultures. It’s so cool to see John Paul Jones out there jamming again in a successful project. I think his amazing talent has been eclipsed for far too long by Page & Plant. I’ve been keeping an eye on female bassist Tal Wilkenfeld, who I first noticed playing with Jeff Beck. I think she’s going to be a force to watch in the coming years. And I check in on occasion to see what Les Claypool is up to. Other than that, there’s not a lot going on that excites me. Silversun Pickups has a few things I like. Most of the rest is boring. Everyone looks the same and acts the same and sounds the same. I’m still waiting on someone who’s breathtakingly original to come along and blow my mind. But I just don’t think that’s going to happen. Unless maybe it’s Windhaven. Which is a possibility.
What are your hopes and aspirations for Windhaven?
To me, Windhaven represents a chance to venture into unexplored territory. It’s a brave new world for all of us in Windhaven, I think. For each of us, Windhaven is a departure, of sorts. For me, I’m not only venturing into guitar work seriously for the first time in my life, but I’m doing so on a 12-string acoustic guitar. That’s the very definition of unexplored territory to me. I’m excited about the possibilities, and I really do think that our eclectic backgrounds will make Windhaven something unique. We’re not the usual suspects when it comes to performing acoustic music, and I think we bring something to the table that devotees to the James Taylor and Joan Baez catalogs simply cannot. I really think Windhaven is going to be something. It says a lot that I haven’t been this excited about a project since those heady early days when I played in my first band as a bass player. It’s all new again.