Wood Shampoo was initially the brainchild of Murph Daniels, but the group really came to fruition when he partnered with guitarist Tommy Byrnes to create the unique and eclectic sound that has become their trademark. I caught up with Murph to ask him how the project came together, and what their upcoming plans are.
Who are the members of Wood Shampoo?
Currently, Wood Shampoo consists of me on vocals and Tommy Byrnes on guitar and background vocals. Our other major guest contributors for the band are Greg Smith on bass, Chuck Burgi on drums, and Eddie Martinez on guitars, with some additional help from Schuyler Deale and Ben Gramm. I’ve pretty much taken the singer-songwriter route up until now while the other guys all have steady gigs and help out with the Wood Shampoo chores when their schedules allow. Tommy is current longtime guitarist for Billy Joel, Chuck is the drummer for Billy Joel, and Greg is in Ted Nugent. Eddie, who resides on the West Coast, is always keeping busy with session work and, like the other Wood Shampoo members, has played [with] some incredible artists.
How did you get together?
That’s a very interesting story. A while back, I had decided it was time to take the plunge and start seriously recording some of the songs I had been accumulating in various notebooks, on cocktail napkins and on the backs of speeding tickets, but I knew that I needed some serious players to really make it sound right. So one day I saw that Tommy was playing at a local club that a friend of my owned, Jimmy “Canno” Cannizzaro, and I asked Canno if he would make the proper introductions. Tommy was game for it from the start and became one of the band’s major co-writers and co-producers. A funny side note, and I must emphasize funny, is that Canno is now happily married to comic Lisa Lampanelli. Maybe next time he can introduce us to David Letterman, because we would love to play “Wanna Be A Dead Rock Star” on Late Show!
How would you describe your music?
The beauty of Wood Shampoo is that all the members have such diverse talent that we don’t have to be stuck in any one genre of music. Another factor is this is a labor of love, so we play to have fun and laughs, especially in the studio. We have our quirky, funny rock songs about vampires, aliens, dead rock stars, etc., and then we have our sexy rockers like “Va-Va-Vavoom,” “She’s So Fine,” “Cover Girl” and “I Wanna Rock.” We have nothing to lose so it really gives us the ability to try anything we want.
How does the writing process work for you?
Usually I have a couple of rough songs that are possible contenders. Then Tommy or Eddie, depending on who is the producer in the studio that day, will pick one they think has the best commercial possibilities. They will co-write some more with me on that particular song and when we’re done all we can with it, we will call the rest of the band into the studio to lay down tracks. On a few rare occasions, Eddie has presented me with an interesting riff and asked me to write the lyrics during the actual session. I do my best under pressure and through this process we’ve come up with such gems as “Cover Girl” and “She’s So Fine.”
Any particular songs that are favorites of fans or yourself?
I can honestly say they are all favorites. We had a lot to choose from and we are firm believers in not putting a cut on an album that is not up to par. That being said, “Wanna Be A Dead Rock Star” still makes us laugh every time we hear it on the radio. If you listen carefully enough on the bridge, there is an incredible live representation of some of the many rock stars that have left us which Tommy performed on various instruments. They sound just like the originals and to this day I don’t know how Tommy managed it.
Who are your musical influences?
I think it would be easier to tell you who we don’t care for, but that wouldn’t be too politically correct. I can’t really speak for everyone else in Wood Shampoo, but for myself I will tell you I go to one or two shows a week and I have learned a great deal from great artists, living and deceased, over the years such as Lou Reed, early Guns N’ Roses, The Clash, The Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Al Green, Joe Williams, Talking Heads, My Morning Jacket, Stevie Ray Vaughn, James Brown, Roy Orbison, Hoodoo Gurus, Moby Grape, Toots Thielemans and Johnny Hallyday. How can you not take something special home after a performance from these masters of their craft? Every one of these legends has taught me more than I would ever learn at a university. They were always on from the very first note they played at the gig, gave it their all, and most importantly, had fun doing it.
What are your goals, musically and professionally?
We are probably the only band out there today that doesn’t worry about that kind of stuff. We just want our fans to have a good time. If you want to buy our album at iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon or anywhere else for that matter, that’s a good thing, because we will know there’s possible interest for a tour and a second Wood Shampoo album. Stream us at the website, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, ReverbNation or Facebook if you want to preview the tunes before you make a purchase. If you really like something, please give us a shout out!