By Scott Roberts
One of the busiest and most beloved bands on the local Atlanta scene during the 1990s was Wild West Picture Show. Their ahead-of-the curve blend of country, rock, and punk influences never failed to please crowds and fill bars and clubs in the metro area and beyond. After more than a decade of working on myriad other musical ventures, the original members (bassist Brillo, drummer Michael Lee Gamble, singer Keli Mercadante, and guitarists David Robinson and Bill Shadle), as well as a few latter-era players, have decided to do a one-off reunion at Eddie’s Attic on Friday, August 27. AMG wanted to find out how and why this reunion came about, so we asked gregarious bassist Brillo a few questions; we also asked lovely lead singer Keli Mercadante the same questions, but she graciously deferred to Brillo’s answers.
So, how did this reunion come about?
Well, when I knew that I would be getting out of prison and Michael Lee contacted Keli, David Robinson and me, I knew that I had to get involved. We really did miss playing together and had talked about doing a full-on, old school WWPS reunion for years. David Robinson agreed to fly in from Portland to do the show and I think that Keli had already planned to do the annual WWPS birthday party with us so things just kind of fell into place; plus my parole officer is pretty cool about letting me playing Eddie’s Attic.
Who started the ball rolling on the reunion?
We really had all talked about getting the old band together for a reunion for say the past, oh, ten years. Michael Lee Gamble, the drummer and world traveler got up off the throne (that’s lay for drummer’s perch) and made it happen more or less, but mostly more.
I understand you’re doing two shows with two separate line-ups. Why did you decide to do it that way?
We are actually doing three sets at Eddie’s. The first set is the second version of WWPS and the second and third sets are the original line-up. We just thought it would be fun to see Keli and Mike sweat out three sets.
When was the last time you played as WWPS?
The last time I played was in the real hey-day was 1995 or ’96. I did come back and do pre-production work on the third WWPS CD when David “Zeus” Henderson (the fellow I chose to replace me) was in a boating accident and truly, nearly died. He was terribly injured and while hospitalized Mike and Keli called me in to record with them so that the show could go on while David recovered.
How much rehearsal have y’all had a chance to do for the shows?
Rehearsal? What’s that? Um, I think Bill Shadle, Michael Lee and I basically got together three times and there are two rehearsals with Keli and David Robinson before the show. So … real rehearsals? I guess that will be two sober rehearsals total.
If these shows go well, is there any chance this reunion could lead to more shows or maybe some recording? Any future plans beyond August 27th?
We are actually releasing a limited edition Best Of disc at the show, not that anyone listens to CDs anymore, plus we are recording a full feature DVD of all three sets during the Eddie’s Attic extravaganza. The DVD will be available for pre-order during the show and anyone can order it via Facebook request. We have been invited to do a few other shows but unless someone can foot all travel expenses, a west-coast, east-coast, and San Antonio rehearsal studio, daily cash per diem, two personal trainers, and a reasonable contract rider, we may not be able to fulfill the requests.