Who in their right mind would drop out of Yale University, one of the academic world’s finest institutions, to play in a rock band? Solomon Silber and Seth Wulsin, former members of the Class of 2005, did exactly that. And their recent studio recording shows that they made the right decision.
In the fall of 2001, Silber and Wulsin, Branford freshmen at the time, met in the constructional accident known as Vanderbilt Hall. The two became good friends, and discovered a common passion for music. Over winter break, Silber, a classically trained guitarist since the age of five, entered a songwriting frenzy that lasted into the beginning of second semester. The two guitarists began arranging, playing, and recording songs together at that time, and took on the name Wildbone.
Shortly before Spring Break, Wildbone played its first public concert in the lobby of York Square Cinema. By this point the pair had realized that they were onto something. After the success of their first show they decided that it was time to leave Yale. As Wulsin said in a phone interview, “The music became more important. We needed to be somewhere we could put all our energy into the music in order to do it justice.”
Although the band was happy to move on from Yale, Wildbone certainly hasn’t forgotten its birthplace. Since its departure, the band has returned three times for a total of four shows. Wulsin said the band loves coming back to the school, a place that is full of good memories. For him, the people are the reason that Yale is still a “special place.” He said the band loves sharing its music with Yale and catching up with old friends.
After indulging in the liberation that most of Yale’s population has contemplated at some time, the band moved back to Silber’s hometown of Philadelphia. They continued practicing and were joined by Philadelphia bassist Luke Hefele over the summer. The band is still exploring the rhythm section, Wulsin said, but they may have a full-time drummer in the near future.
Recently, the band independently released a five-song studio effort, much of which is available for download on the band’s website. Its music fills a niche in rock ‘n’ roll that has been left all too empty for years. Wildbone plays rock as it is meant to be played. The band’s songs have the exceptional quality of sounding instantly classic without borrowing too heavily from any one influence. The band draws on the traditions of great music while creating something new.
The album’s first track, “Gasco” is a song whose title comes from the word printed on small metal caps embedded in the concrete all over New Haven and the Yale campus. Like much of the band’s music, “Gasco” blends dirty blues with angelic classical guitar to create a nearly perfect rock song.
Also featured on the recording is “A Long Way to Babylon,” Silber and Wulsin’s first entirely co-written song, and possibly the band’s best song to date. It is sung as a duet, and it hints at the endless potential that Wildbone has as a band and that Sol and Seth have as a songwriting pair. Together, the grittiness of Silber’s voice and the purity of Wulsin’s find a heart-wrenching union that exemplifies the beauty of Wildbone’s music.
The band recently got back from a road trip through the South that ended in Mexico. They have a show at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 27 at CB’s Gallery in New York, the venue famous for discovering the Ramones. For those who can’t make it to New York, Wildbone expects to play at least one more show at Yale before the end of the year, and it is certain to be an unforgettable event.