If you’ve had a six-month-old anything – a dog, cat, lizard, hell, even a kid – you know it’s impossible to keep their noses out of shit. This is a simple fact, and Little Wild vocalist and guitarist Layton Keely now knows it.
“Louie is my first puppy ever – he’s a blue heeler. Watching him is like looking after a child,” Keely begins, stopping mid-thought to still the pup during our interview. He’s successful for about five seconds at best. “He’ll literally find gum on the street and eat it. Then we’ll be walking along and there he’ll be, smacking away on used gum.”
As the Dubble Bubble dog calms, the discussion turns to the band’s formation and Keely’s first encounter with Josh Erickson, the band’s current bassist. “I suck at math, I really do – and Josh doesn’t. He got straight As in high school. I remember asking him to be my bodyguard when high school started because I’m 5’4 and he’s 6’6,” Keely laughs. “We’ve been friends ever since, and he’s still always the tallest man in the room!”
The band has grown immensely since the two unlikely friends crossed paths. They’ve recruited Jake Holmes and Keely’s younger brother Zack, won a trip to annual rock festival POP Montreal for a set, played nine shows in ten days as part of a Canadian tour with GSTS! and did a set at Whisky-A-Go-Go last winter.
A favourite tour moment, Keely recalls, was a visit to the Rainbow – a famous bar and grill on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. After playing at Whisky-A-Go-Go and walking in to order a massive pizza (“We’re always hungry!” Keely interjects) porn star Ron Jeremy walked in.
“He was so greasy looking! I lost my appetite for my pizza.” A faintly sour look crosses Keely’s face, quickly replaced by a cheeky grin.
“Actually, never mind, I didn’t,” he chuckles. “I remember it clearly though – he was wearing baby blue crocs, basketball shorts, a hoodie and he had that iconic mustache. Bleh!”
Just under a year after the croc trauma, Little Wild is set to release their highly anticipated LP, Victories, through Neptoon Records on November 26 (read our review here). The new venture will surprise those expecting more of the saxophone-filled jazz tunes released under the band’s former name, Rags to Radio. In contrast, Victories is full of dance-your-drunk-ass-off rock and a dash of wild.
Single “Steep” embodies this: the rollicking guitar, Keely’s yowling behind the microphone and a slick time change (“That was [drummer] Jake’s idea,” Keely admits) make the song an irresistible listen for those unfamiliar with the band.
Other stellar tracks include “Ride Off…Real Dramatic Like”, an instrumental fit for the saddest scene of your favourite western movie, and “Money”, which is “…a cover of a cover of a cover,” says Keely. Originally recorded by Barrett Strong in the late 1950s, the tune was then covered by the Flying Lizards, the Beatles and the Sonics — and now, Little Wild. “We wanted to get our friend Drew from Oh No Yoko! to play the solo for that one,” Keely notes. “After writing it, he told us that he created it so that we could never replicate it. What an asshole, eh!”
Fortunately, Little Wild fans excited to hear these songs in the flesh won’t be left in the cold for long — next year, the band will tour through the U.S. and play a set at SXSW in Austin. “We’ve already started writing for the next record, actually,” says Keely, “and we want to do a Canadian tour, too. I’ve never been this excited.”
Little Wild will release Victories on November 26. They play the Cobalt on November 29.
By Kristina Charania