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The music’s the thing for the Wallflowers

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The members of the Wallflowers didn't want fame to overtake them. All they wanted was to make music that mattered.

"The band formed because we wanted to play more song-based music," said bassist Greg Richling during a phone call from Las Vegas. "When I joined the band, it had already released its debut album and had a core following."

The Wallflowers — Richling, guitarist/vocalist Jakob Dylan, keyboardist Rami Jaffee, guitarist Michael Ward and drummer Mario Calire — will play Kingsbury Hall Tuesday. Everlast will open the show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale at all Smith's Tix outlets, the Kingsbury Hall box office or by calling 467-TIXX.

Richling said that these days the media attention surrounding pop music superstars like Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys has taken the mystique out of being a musician.

"Everything is so in-your-face with the newspapers and MTV that a band as subtle as the Wallflowers gets lost in the mix," he said.

The band's clear leader, said Richling, is Dylan, son of Bob. But, like Richling, Dylan has different musical tastes.

"While Jake was listening to Clash, I was getting into Tom Waits, Waterboys and Axe," Richling said. "And we're still open to different styles of music. We still get into everything from Miles Davis to Blur and Supergrass."

The Wallflowers' new album "(Breach)" was released earlier this year. And while some critics are comparing it to the previous multiplatinum-selling "Bringing Down the Horse," Richling said the statistics don't matter. " 'Horse' sold a lot and got the band in the public's eye. And it was a good album. But the new album is as good, if not better. It might not sell the same, but we believe in the album."

Unlike most artists who look at releasing a follow-up record to a blockbuster as a daunting project, the Wallflowers didn't even think twice. "We didn't focus on the success of 'Horse' while we did '(Breach),' " Richling said. "To tell you the truth, we were shocked by the success, but we have always known that success isn't based on numbers. We just want to be sure we put out music we want to put out, and we hope that music is popular enough for us to keep an audience."

One reason for the low-key attitude was the fact that the band's self-titled 1992 debut album didn't sell well. In fact, it didn't even go gold (500,000 copies).

Then there was the misconception the band was dropped by its first major label, Virgin Records. "After the band completed the first album, it was ready to renegotiate a follow-up," he said. "But all the people who had supported us in the past were no longer working at the label. And we didn't have the support we needed, so we left and signed with Interscope."

It was Interscope that pushed "Bringing Down the Horse," which featured the hit singles "One Headlight" and "6th Avenue Heartache."

With "(Breach)," the band did some pre-production, Richling said. "We were able to work on the songs more and work up the arrangements before we got into the studio. "With 'Horse,' we made the arrangements up as we went on."

Still, pre-production or not, the band insists on recording everything live.

"We set up like a band in the studio and we play like a band in the studio," Richling said. "And once the songs are recorded on a 2-inch analogue tape, we listen to them. And if we want to do some overdubs we do, but we don't like getting carried away."


E-MAIL: scott@desnews.com