15 Year "Letter"

Hey everyone!

As is often the case before a “big” show (CD releases, anniversaries, ex-band member final shows, etc...) I take the time to reflect on my time in Angry Waters. These are, for the most part, prideful thoughts. First of all, I can’t believe we’ve been able to keep this together this long. I’m not a historian but we’re really an anomaly here in Mankato. Most original bands take a much different path—they either fizzle out after an album or two, or move on to greener pastures. There are some exceptions, though. Bands like Diesl and Diskord had lengthy tenures. But, I’m pretty sure they didn’t put out as much material as we have...and continue to produce. So, we’ve really settled into our own little niche. A lil’ boutique rock n’ roll band that keeps chuggin’ right along. Year after year. And we’re smack-dab in the middle of writing the next record, with 5 songs mostly finished. Like our previous efforts, I’m still amazed at our diversity, considering were rooted with an acoustic rhythm guitar. Everyone is contributing during the writing process, too. A true team effort! I can say this for certain: It will be dark and introspective, lyrically speaking. I don’t know when we’ll finish up all the writing, but I would say there’s a chance we could be back in the studio sometime later this year. So, maybe you’ll have a new CD around this time next year?! (In this day and age, I realize it makes zero financial sense for us to make any more physical product. Just keep in mind it was always the desired outcome [at least mine] to put as much product on the mantle as possible! I haven’t, and won’t, waver from that goal.)

These reflections are also somewhat bittersweet. Lots of familiar and friendly faces have come and gone during the last 15 years. Faces I still miss, to be honest. But, I assume this is pretty normal for any small-time original band that has any staying power. The band and its fan-base start out relatively young. And, inevitably, people get older. They get married and start families. Or get real jobs. Or move away. Or get tired of the same bar/music scene. Some people just disappear. Etc, etc… Nonetheless, I felt like the leader of a gang of misfits for those first couple of years. They say perception is reality and since I’ve got the proverbial conch right now, I’ll talk about my perceptions, right or wrong. I really believed for the first 18 months of our existence, there was a legitimate buzz surrounding us. And though we clearly weren’t re-inventing any type of wheel, bringing our “MTV Unplugged” style of rock show was a certain breath of fresh air. At the time, I was singing in Sindrom. So, people only knew me in that heavier vein. I can still see the look in Marko’s eyes when we started recording our demo tracks in his studio! He could tell there was something there. And to get HIM (still one of the most talented musicians I’ve been around) excited to work (and play) with us was quite mind-blowing! It was equally as inspirational and important that Tyrrelli and Crazy Jay (my co-horts in Sindrom) wanted to round out the lineup! THEY wanted to join US! (I would say the same about Jeff and Benny when they joined the band—it’s a very gratifying feeling knowing talented people actually want to be part of something you’ve created—especially while it is still in its formative years.) Keep in mind, even though I had gained some experience in Sindrom, as a whole Angry Waters (consisting of Carter, S.T., and myself) was the definition of “green”. Regardless of how real our “buzz” was, it was a time of hope and great excitement. Some of the funnest times I’ll ever have! And even though I’ve cherished every year I’ve been in AW, those first couple will probably never be topped. If there is any regret, it is that we didn’t try to make a bigger push in the Twin Cities when our fan-base was at its largest. It’s likely nothing significant would’ve come of it. But, we’ll never know…

The 2019 version of Angry Waters has become, in the truest sense of the word, a “band”. As I have previously discussed, everyone has their hand involved in writing this next batch of tunes. And we are about as self-sufficient as you could possibly be—Cory does all the graphics and merch. Benny takes care of all the recording aspects. Jeff handles everything with the facebook page and website. And that means he now handles a lot of the booking. The Kletschka residence (thankfully) has also been AW Headquarters for several years now. As funny as it sounds, there was a time when AW would’ve ceased to exist without me. And not because of my “talents” as a singer! It’s because I had a hand (at least in being the point-man) in all the stuff mentioned above. I am far more replaceable now than I was 15 years ago! But, I hope they keep me around for a while.

There are several people who have helped us along the way. And, being that space isn’t a concern right now, it would be appropriate to thank some of them. First off, nobody was more important to this band’s development than the aforementioned Marko. And, yes, he is such a bad-ass that he gets ‘first-name only’ treatment and respect! Nick “Bad Jeffro” Iverson was kind enough to play us regularly on his KMSU show. And, he was booking shows at The What’s Up in our early years. He was always a pleasure to work with. I would be remiss to not thank my good friend, Joel Jensen, for doing all the art-work during our first handful of years (Sindrom, too). Finding a practice spot can be a deal-breaker for many bands. Thanks to DBD, that was never a problem! And it was damn good spot for the pre and after-parties! And not a bad place to live, either. I’ve said this many times before, but at the end of the day a bar is simply 4 walls with some bottles of booze for sale. And maybe a good jukebox, if you’re lucky. It’s the people in it (and behind the bar) that make it special. Well, there was a time when the Midtown Tavern was really a second home for this band. And I don’t say that lightly! And though I’d like to think (or at least hope) we didn’t carry ourselves that way, we really did feel like we were special when we walked through those doors. There will NEVER be a better bartender/sound-man combo than Lex and T.J.!!! Since we’ve taken the circus up the street, it’s been wonderful working with our long-time friend Zimmy (King of Kato) and The What’s Up Lounge. We are grateful for the freedom you give us with these bigger shows. We’ve been pretty damn blessed to have support from the local radio stations. KMSU & Nick J—it’s a pleasure every time we get a chance to speak with you! KXLP & Jay Flugum—thank you for offering your talents on the AW III and ‘High Ground’ records. And, for letting Jeff and I come in and harass you on-air! Last, and most certainly not least, we are hugely indebted to our friend Spence and Rock 95 (R.I.P. 95.7 “The Rock Station”). For the second-half of our tenure, there has not been a bigger ally to this band! It’s not forgotten! It’s bad-ass knowing we can come in the studio and take up a half-hour to discuss whatever we’ve got cooking. And, for you to call us a “legacy band” (with comparisons to bands such as The Murphy Brothers Band and City Mouse) is beyond humbling. THANK YOU, Spence, for being so supportive of Angry Waters! Speaking candidly, I really wish we were bigger just so we could be of more help for the causes you support.

Since this is ultimately about the music, we’ve had a chance to play with some really great bands/musicians. I know I’ll forget some obvious names, but it’s been a true honor to share the stage with the likes of Sue City, (The Mighty) Hammerdown, Somber, 40 Watt Bulb, Murder On the Moon, Backyard Tire Fires, The White Iron Band, The Whiskey Richard Band, Jason Helder, all the bands born of the Diskord/Diesl/Kill Switch family tree, Mike Bentele, The Murphy Brothers Band, Face Of Oblivion, Calous, Morosity, etc…I could go on but I have to think about wrapping this up sometime this year LOL!

No matter how good a band is, it is nothing if people don’t show up to see the show. We’ve still got enough people that come out to keep us active! Cheers to Brad, Brent, Tam, Naomi, Shane, Troy, Chris, Matt, Becky, Paul, etc…who help us stay alive!

Though we had initial goals of moving much farther up the river, we’re still damn proud to be part of the scene here in Kato. IIWII Records is our fictitious record label. The ‘IIWII’ stands for ‘It is what it is’, our own self-deprecating brand of humor, if you will. And if this is all it ever is, it’s still far beyond my wildest imagination of what we would/could be when Carter and I got together on that Christmas night so many years ago!

Since I am waxing nostalgic, I would also like to personally thank my fellow band-mates for allowing me/us the privilege to open for Steven Adler, several years ago. I knew it was likely my high-water mark then, just as I know it now. To be able to spend a little time with him was icing on the cake. He was definitely a bit of a space cadet—but a very kind, generous, and appreciative one at that!!!

On to the next and final subject, as many of you know, we are releasing a live album on May 4th. These “qualifiers” aren’t meant to be excuses, as I think the product is solid—especially the songs we play on a regular basis. But, keep in mind, this isn’t how most bands go about making a live disc. It’s not like we had a tour’s worth of choices to pick from. Every song was recorded in one-take, with the exception of “Parasite”. We re-did the first verse on that one. Some of the songs that made up the later part of the set haven’t been part of the set-list for years! And, we only had one practice with both S.T. and Carter. So, it really was a “fly by the seat of our pants” kinda night. Which is VERY Angry Waters, I guess. So, long-story-short, take it for what it is. I do hope you enjoy!

For everyone who has read all of this, don’t you have anything better to do with your time LOL??? In all seriousness, THANK YOU to each and everyone who has helped (no matter how small or large the part) shape this band’s existence for the last 15 years! It’s doubtful we’ve got another 15 in us, but you never know!

On behalf of Angry Waters,

Dan Wiechert