Screamin' Demon makes magic with White Wizzard
White Wizzard singer Wyatt Anderson has impeccable metal credentials. Before joining the L.A.–based traditional heavy metal quintet last year, he worked as a certified welder in his native Jacksonville, Florida. But he was happy to quit his old job when White Wizzard songwriter and bassist Jon Leon contacted him via MySpace.
“I was in a band in Jacksonville, and Jon heard my voice on-line,” explains Anderson, calling from a Detroit rock club. “He gave me White Wizzard’s MySpace, and I listened to the music and enjoyed it. He said: ”˜Why don’t you fly out here for an audition?’ So I did, and actually got the gig that day.”
That was just one part of White Wizzard’s lineup overhaul. Three former members, all of whom appeared on 2009’s High-Speed GTO EP, jumped ship to form a rival group called Holy Grail. Anderson is candid when asked to differentiate between his style and that of ex-singer James Paul Luna.
“I’m not going to knock him, because he’s good at what he does,” says Anderson, nicknamed “Screamin’ Demon” by a Chicago radio station. “But personally, I think I have a lot more power in my voice. His voice is geared toward more of a commercial sound, and mine”¦more of a heavy metal sound.”
Anderson’s three-octave range facilitates emulating role models from Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson and Judas Priest’s Rob Halford to newer super-throats like Primal Fear’s Ralf Scheepers and Nevermore’s Warrel Dane.
With its cartwheeling ’82-style gallop, “Over the Top,” the title track from the band’s forthcoming full-length debut, ideally suits Anderson’s hyper-operatic wail. Meanwhile, a new nine-minute cut called “Iron Goddess of Vengeance” had an amusing genesis.
“After playing a show in San Francisco, we went to a Japanese restaurant, and they had a tea called the ”˜Iron Goddess of Mercy’ ,” Anderson explains. “We all thought that would be a great title for a song, except we changed ”˜Mercy’ to ”˜Vengeance.’ ”
Anderson says he doesn’t worry about whether he’ll ever graduate from reading Harry Potter and Dragonlance novels on tour to buying a rock-star castle: “I could be happy if I got paid the same for doing this as I did as a welder. This is not a job. This is fun.”
White Wizzard plays the Rickshaw Theatre on Sunday (January 31).