Joe Anderl is lead vocalist and guitarist for The 1984 Draft. They recently released a spilt 7" with Todd Farrell Jr. (Two Cow Garage) on September 2nd via Poptek Records. Their next album 'Best Friends Forever' is set to be releases on January 19, 2023 via Poptek Records, Sell The Heart Records, and Engineer Records.
The band spoke with Scene Point Blank about their early influences and the upcoming release...
"Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, in the '90s was an amazing and inspiring time for a young punk / indie rocker. The town was full of great musical acts such as A Ten O Clock Scholar, O Matic, The Breeders, Guided By Voices, and of course, the incomparable Brainiac. With such great in-town talent, great bands from out of town would often come to play with them. Because A Ten O Clock Scholar, O Matic, and Brainiac all had a relationship with Grass records, this brought The Wrens to my attention for the first time. When I saw them at the local venue, Sub Galley/Aardvark Club, my jaw dropped. What they were able to create was the perfect blend of sonic noise with pop perfection. From moment one, I would become enamored with the band and the love affair lasted for decades. I specifically remember rollerblading from my friend Matt’s house to the local NRM in order to pick up their second full-length Secaucus, and eventually Silver as well"
"Walking the halls of Beavercreek High School, my ears were filled with the music of The Wrens. More specifically the songs “Propane” and “Surprise Honeycomb." What high school me didn’t know was how long it would take for the next record to come and that eventually, I would have the privilege of opening for my high school heroes some 10 years after I first discovered the band.
In the spring of 2005, my good friend Brian called me and asked if my band would play the annual ACRN (College Radio) Lobsterfest show at my Alma Mater, Ohio University. I, of course, said yes as I loved any chance to play in Athens, Ohio. At the end of the call I asked him who else was playing. At that moment, my heart jumped when he said the fest would be headlined by The Wrens.
On a warm June day, my band pulled up to "south beach" in Athens with my brother (a fellow Wrens fan) in tow. We began to unload our car when I saw another van had pulled up. Out stepped four middle-aged men, who immediately greeted the radio station staff. It was The Wrens.
There are several things that I have noticed about bands over the years. I like to watch how they treat those running the show, how they treat their fans, and how they treat the other bands. Within the first five minutes The Wrens already had two positives in my book: they greeted the radio station staff with kindness and they had shown up several hours before they were to play to be able to watch all of the bands sharing the bill that day.
As I was gearing up for our mid-afternoon set, I noticed a presence behind me. It was Charles Bissell. Slightly starstruck, I managed to muster a hi and an "I am a huge fan." He thanked me and we went on to play. After our set, I was greeted again by Bissell, who said he enjoyed our set and asked if we were from Dayton. It was at this point that an hour-long conversation ensued in regards to Grass Records, Dayton bands Ten O Clock Scholar and Brainiac, and The Wrens’ fondness for playing in Dayton. This is where The Wrens checked my third box by engaging with longtime fans on a personal level. I watched this behavior from each of the band members throughout the afternoon. Engaging with the crowd and the bands. Attentively paying attention to each act and offering words of encouragement. It was this humility that solidified the fact that The Wrens would remain one of my favourite bands to this day."
"As the afternoon moved to early evening, The Wrens took the stage. Two of the most memorable parts of the show: 1) Kevin Whelan graciously added “Propane” to the set list based on my afternoon pestering and insistence that it is one of the greatest songs ever written. He simply played the song on piano, bringing me tears of joy. 2) The way the show started was one of the most intriguing entrances I had seen. The Wrens slowly begin to play music, building up when Greg Whelan pulls out his 2005 flip phone and holds it up to the microphone. From that point, you begin to hear the voice of Charles Bissell who is now approaching the stage singing. Greg closes his phone right at the point where Bissell reaches the mic. I was in awe of this ingenuity. The Wrens closed the evening with a set heavy on material from The Meadowlands but also managed to sneak in several tracks from both Silver and Secaucus, including my teenage favorite “Surprise, Honeycomb.”
The night ended perfectly and The Wrens climbed into their van and were off after thanking the staff and mentioning how nice it was to meet us.
I would end up seeing The Wrens several more times as they toured in support of The Meadowlands. Each time, I was greeted with the same kindness as that summer afternoon.
I think I’ve learned a lot over the years from The Wrens: age doesn’t matter in rock ‘n’ roll; always look for ways to evolve; and don’t be an A-hole. Thank you, The Wrens, for living up to what I had created in my young head and being the type of people to back it up with your humility and kindness."