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From mad to verse
He used to play with wigged-out noiseniks And So I Watch You From Afar. Now Tony Wright has a new project, the sublime VerseChorusVerse.
Colin Carberry, 24 May 2012
“I’ve had some amazing, amazing experiences that I will never forget,” smiles Tony Wright. “It’s been a real education and a privilege. I’ve gone round the world playing music, wowing people with big light shows, huge riffs and a ‘fuck you’ attitude. It was incredible.”
As lead guitarist of noiseniks And So I Watch You From Afar, Tony enjoyed a cockpit view of the band’s rocket-powered ascent: travelling the globe, making bold records, cultivating a fierce fanbase. The lad, it seems, has lived the dream.
However, the lad, it also seems, has woken up. Last year, at the end of the band’s promo tour for Gangs, Tony walked away from the group he helped form almost a decade before – wasting little time before reintroducing himself as VerseChorusVerse. But if the solo pared-down acoustics he was now peddling suggested a stylistic volte-face from his old crew, the motivations were remarkably similar.
“I want to see if I can still bring the ‘fuck you’ attitude and grab an audience’s attention, but I want to do it without the lights and the riffs. What I’m doing now is a return to how I first started. When I was a kid, it was just me and a guitar and the problem of how to write songs. I’ve maybe got a bit more sophisticated in my playing over the years, but if the last year has taught me anything, it’s that I haven’t changed that much.”
When it comes to crossing the floor of house – from the rowdy, to the quiet seats - Bob’s Judas moment has perhaps skewed our sense of the prevalent direction of travel. Sure, there have been plenty of troubadours who have enjoyed amping up; but look at Tom Morello, Mark Lanegan, Kurt Cobain – Tony’s decision to lay off the feedback and sonics is hardly a radical one.
“No, I don’t claim it is,” he says. “It isn’t a contrived thing. Melody gets me out of bed in the morning. There isn’t a part of the day when I’m not thinking about it. I’m preoccupied. Rhythm too, more and more. I’ve messed around with different time sequences over the years but I’m beginning to think that four by four – you could spend your life with it. I might sound like a beatnik here, but it’s the sound of your body. It’s your pulse. It carries through us all. We’re connected by it really. That’s something I really want to push into.”