The story of The Wrens is that of hard
work, determination, unbending artistic vision, heartbreak
and being screwed over by their record label big time.
But most of all, the story of The Wrens is that of rock
and roll, it is the story of their unwavering dedication
to their art. The conception of The Wrens started when
Greg Whelan, who was seven years older than his brother
Kevin, came back from law school disheartened with the
prospect of being a lawyer. They started playing gigs
at Kevin's college where they would take requests from
the audiences. It was like karaoke. With their new companions
Charles Bissell and and Jerry MacDonald the band was
complete and alltogether they move into a house in Secaucus,
New Jersey. They sent a demo to Grass Records. They
were signed almost immediately after the A & R people
heard it. The Wrens became an underground sensation
and were on the brink of monster success with two critically
acclaimed LP's "Silver" and "Secaucus".
They came to attention of millionaire and music industry
neophyte, Alan Melzter. Melzter bought the Grass Records,
to acquire The Wrens who were by now the label's flagship
band. Things were indeed looking up for The Wrens who
were mid-tour supporting their "Secaucus"
album when Melzter, wanting their music to be more radio
friendly, delivered an ultimatur. Sign with him for
1 million dollars or else all support will be pulled.
The band frowning upon such strong arm tactics and reluctant
to sell out their artistic vision declined the offer.
Melzter commenced layoffs of involved record company
personnel and vowed that "the next band to walk
in through that door will be made famous - at any cost."
Creed becomes famous at any cost. The band continued
having hilarious courtship rituals with various other
labels and in the meantime took low paying office jobs
in Manhattan to support themselves. This was especially
hard for Greg who said that "I'd passed the bar,
worked as a lawyer, and now I was back answering phones
and making photocopies." The Wrens would trudge
back from work every night, come home and work on their
music. Though all the hardship, heartbreak, trials and
tribulations, The Wrens have encapsulated their experiences
into their new album, "The Meadowlands", their
defining magnum opus. It is a poignant, brutally truthfull
look into the rich story that is their (un)rock and
roll lives. And from what the critics say it may be
one of the most beautiful and honest indie albums to
come out this decade. The importance of The Wrens is
succinctly captured in a feature by the hugely influential
American online magazine Pitchfork, who said recently:
"In retrospect, the return of The Wrens seems a
triumph not merely in the context of underground music,
but in the archetypical spirit of rock'n'roll itself;
they are a band of quiet, mythical stature, and their
story - their belief in their music, their perseverance
in the face of disappointment, and the road they've
followed in the pursuit of their vision - have since
found ascension to the status of indie rock folklore."