Wesley Davis

This month we have the honor of chatting with the multi-talented Wesley Davis. Whether it’s the theater or musical stage, Wes is one of the best around. Enjoy.

Brent Cole: Tell us a lot about yourself? What’s your background?

Wesley Davis: I grew up the oldest of five kids. My dad was a Baptist preacher and my mom would sometimes sing a solo before he delivered the sermon. We were on the road a lot (I’m told I’d visited every US state but Hawaii by age six) and there were usually gospel or country-gospel cassettes playing in the motor home. We moved to England as missionaries when I was six-and-a-half, and stayed there for ten years. I started teaching myself piano around age ten, and I picked up the guitar and started writing songs around age fifteen.

I moved to Bellingham ten-and-a-half years ago, and I started playing solo at Stuart’s Coffeehouse a lot. Since then I’ve toured and recorded in Pirates R Us, played shows as part of Go Slowpoke and Pocket Orchestra (a fun, if short-lived, project with Kat Bula and Anna Arvan), and recorded music with the Lumpkins. I also got pretty involved at iDiOM Theater several years ago and I’ve acted in a bunch of plays there, as well as composing and acting for a bunch of Trailer Wars shorts and other local film projects.

Right now I serve on the Board of Directors at iDiOM, I play guitar and keys in a really bizarre and exciting project called City of Lost Children, I just started playing guitar in Chris Nunn’s band The Movie, and I still play solo once in a while.

BC: What three words do you think best describe your personality? Why?

WD: This feels kind of like joining OkCupid or something… I asked a friend and she quickly said “pleasant/odd/radioactive.” It seemed wise not to press for details on the last one (though I suspect it may have something to do with the whole “glowing-in-the-dark” thing). Another friend said “well-bred, well-read, and inclined towards justice” which (apart from being very flattering) I think mostly serves to show a) how hard it is to sum up a person in only three words, and b) how fantastic an actor I really am.

BC: What is the biggest difference between playing music in a band and performing in a production of a play?

WD: Playing in a band, I can usually just be myself, and be having fun with friends. I can make eye contact with people listening, make dumb jokes on the mic in between songs, laugh when I fuck up… Stage-acting requires a whole other level of focus: my job is to not only remember exactly what I’m supposed to say and where I’m supposed to move, but really convey what a character is trying to achieve or obtain, while making it look like everything I say or do is a natural, organic response to whatever else is happening on stage.

Also, I can get away with bringing my notes/lyrics on stage at a gig; not so much in theater…

BC: When was the last time you stayed up all night? What lead to the all nighter?

WD: I don’t want you to lose any advertisers… Can we just say that it was when I was answering these questions?

BC: What Bellingham band from the past do you wish would reform for a show?

WD: Just one? Damn. Probably The Trucks, I guess. Speaking of which, keep your eye out for an exciting (and probably very ill-advised) top-secret Trucks-related project this fall (also please don’t mention this to anyone who was actually in The Trucks).

BC: What initially brought you to Bellingham? Why have you stayed?

WD: When I was about seventeen my family returned to the States from England, and my dad got a job up in the county. When it was time for me to leave the nest, Bellingham was the nearest “big city,” so–after hitchhiking around the Northwest and BC for a bit–I moved in with some friends in the York District. I got married and had a son when I was still really young, and to be perfectly honest, if not for that maybe I would have moved away before now. As it is there is plenty to keep me busy here, between working, being a part-time dad, playing in bands, acting on stage, and shooting films.

BC: If you were given $10,000 to travel for a month, where would you go?

WD: Are you offering?? My folks moved to Thailand five years ago; it would be cool to visit them and check out the country. I hear it is sunny there. If I fly first class, stay somewhere REAL fancy, and have a couple suits tailor-made while I’m there, I could probably make that cost $3,000 or so. Then I can use the rest to pay off my car loan and all my parking tickets. Geez, Brent, I… I don’t know what to say…

BC: What playwright, living, would you most like to share a drink with?

WD: In all honesty, my favourite playwright is Glenn Hergenhahn, who founded iDiOM Theater and now lives in Manhattan. He comes back once or twice a year to visit and/or premiere a new show, so not only does this wish get granted, but he usually pays for the drink, too. So, no complaints.

BC: What is your top phobia?

WD: No phobias, per se. I get a little vertigo at great heights sometimes. Not a huge a fan of the creepy-crawlies, at least like as far as having them on my face or in bed with me or anything. Pretty vanilla stuff.

BC: You are trapped in an elevator for 10 hours. What three items would you like to have to keep you sane?

WD: I can easily spend 10 hours in a Facebook/YouTube/Wikipedia-spiral, so give me a laptop and some spicy food and I’m good. (Throw in a ukulele and I’ll record a bunch of videos of twee top 40 covers that your girlfriend won’t stop playing until you want to kill me.)

BC: What country music inspires you?

WD: Gram Parsons. Gillian Welch. Hank Williams, of course… oh, wait, what country’S music? Well then I guess mostly the US’s (though you wouldn’t know it from all the ’90s British pop you hear me doing at Caps Karaoke).

BC: What’s next for Wes Davis?

WD: I’m helping the team at iDiOM organize fundraising and renovation efforts for iDiOM’s 2012-2013 season, which starts at the end of August.

City of Lost Children is playing at the new Green Frog every Monday night in July. I’m really excited about this project. Like I said before, it is bizarre, and kind of difficult to describe; dark and bloody songs sung in beautiful three-part vocal harmony, backed by dirty guitars, bass, harp and violin. It’s beautiful and twisted. Please come check it out (and bring your weird goth cousin).

The Movie plays a really nice mix of very pretty country-ish stuff and good, loud rock’n’roll; Chris’s songs are fantastic. We’re playing at Jinx during Art Walk, Fri 6 July with Lupe, and again at the Green Frog Sat Jul 14.

I’ll be singing some Tom Waits covers at the Shakedown on Fri 13 July for Michelle Schutte’s birthday, playing a solo set at Jinx Fri Jul 20; and I’m also playing the male lead in a 15min short film called End Date (a romantic drama set during the zombie apocalypse).

If I find any spare time (and summer ever shows up), I hope to spend it on swimming and eating grilled meat.