By Robert Kirchgassner
Chris Wyse is a musician who is the bassist and vocalist for the Los Angeles-based group Owl. His is also a band member for the band The Cult and has worked with such greats as Mick Jagger and Ozzy Osbourne.
With the pending release of Owl’s latest album The Right Thing, TheCelebrityCafe’s Robert Kirchgassner sat down with Chris to discuss his career and what he and Owl have for music lovers in the future.
RK: Chris, you are originally from New York but moved to Los Angeles to pursue your music career. Do you consider L.A. your official home now or are you still a New Yorker at heart?CW: I’m definitely an L.A. person. It’s been 18 years here in Hollywood. I was born in Queens and later moved upstate to Saratoga where I met (Owl bandmate) Dan (Dismore). We both played in a high school band.
RK: You played for Ozzy Osbourne from 2003-2005. What are your favorite moments of working with him?CW: It was a great experience. The work I did was released on the Prince of Darkness box set. Ozzy asked me back for five more songs that were added to the record and released as “Under Cover.” When I was a young kid, I told my parents I was going to go out to Hollywood and play bass for Ozzy Osbourne someday. So it was totally wild to later phone them from the studio to tell them I was doing exactly that.
RK: Do you have a favorite song from over the span of your career?CW: “She’s So High” is one that sticks out, since that was the first time meeting Bob Rock. There’s also the Owl career and what I contributed over the years. That’s really a complex question, but I’d say “The Right Thing” and“Pusher” are my favorites right now.
RK: What would you say the differences between the two groups are?CW: The Cult’s a classic band, so that undeniable right there. They became like a big brother to me. But it’s a different balance than with Owl. I’d say lead singer roles are the biggest difference. Owl is going progressive, and The Cult’s good classic rock & roll. So much has changed since 1984 with the Cult and 2013 with the release of “The Right Thing.”
RK: Owl has been working on its upcoming album, The Right Thing, since 2011. How would you say it differs from the group’s previous work?CW: I think we got better. Our songs are pretty focused and my sense of melody has grown. There are some new things I did on bass and we did some interesting layers. For example we have bagpipes on the song “Rover.”
RK: A love of music aside, what else would you say you have in common with your Owl bandmates Dan Dismore and Jason Achilles Mezilis?CW: We share the same kind of enjoyment for summer activities, like having barbecues and having a beer. We also have a love of traveling. We’ve really enjoyed our road trips together.
RK: You began your music career with local bands such Xodus, East Wall and Mr. Strange. How would you credit those with helping shape your career?CW: My original bands document my sound and style. Each of my previous bands was a great learning ground for everything I’m doing now. My life’s work is all in my playing and recordings.
RK: Of the places you’ve toured, do you have a favorite? Is there somewhere specific you hope to go?CW: I like going to South America. I’ve been there a few times with The Cult since 1999 and the crowds there are amazing. I am hoping to return there with Owl. It’d be a lot of fun.
RK: You currently do both bass and vocals? Was this by accident or did you intend to perform both?CW: Maybe to some degree it was an accident. Friends in New York wanted me to play bass. But singing came naturally to me. I was in the choir, so I always enjoyed singing.
RK: Any hints on what we can expect from Owl in the future?CW: We’re hoping for really good shows in New York & L.A. and some new videos. We’ll be spreading the word via the Internet. We’re also going to be doing acoustic performances.