Premiere: The Big Wu Collaborate with Robert Hunter on “Kick in the Head”

December 4, 2018
Premiere: The Big Wu Collaborate with Robert Hunter on “Kick in the Head”

Longtime Relix favorites The Big Wu will release a new studio album this month. Pre-orders are now underway for We Are Young We Are Old, which the band will celebrate at four upcoming shows, starting this Friday in Milwaukee. One of the record’s highlights is “Kick in the Head,” on which the band’s Terry VanDeWalker composed music to the words of longtime Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Today we premiere that song from the forthcoming release.

The group’s Chris Castino tells Relix, “Robert Hunter’s lyrics drew me into the music of the Grateful Dead before my appreciation of the individuals in the band had fully developed; before I committed to being a disciple of Jerry Garcia, in my way. Every musician or group is, amidst one point of clear illumination, driven to be just like someone they greatly admire.  For the Beatles and a million others it was Elvis.  For The Big Wu it was The Dead.  For the songwriters in the band it was Hunter/Garcia.

“The folk music revival of the fifties and sixties may have nurtured artists like Hunter and Garcia but didn’t create their love for and synthesis of deeply American traditional source material.  And it seems obvious that Robert Hunter’s commitment to that field was fueled by his love, rather than merely some fascination, of it. Hunter seeks to find and uniquely re-create what might be worthy enough to be considered American Mythology. I consider it that, furthermore some of the greatest that has been written.

“A source for our culture is hard to trace, with its far reaching tributaries and its tricky terrain. But Robert Hunter has done it.  And when immersed we feel it all: the laments, the hollers, the work songs, the murder ballads, the praise songs, the shanties, the rags, and the mysticism.  It is with great respect that we have recorded one penned by the man.  Kudos to our drummer, Terry VanDeWalker for crafting chord and melody for this experiment. It was a great honor, for all of us, to do it.”

The Big Wu tour dates:
12/7 Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI
12/8 Bourbon On Division, Chicago, IL
12/29 Fine Line, Minneapolis, MN
12/31 Wyndham Garden Madison, Fitchburg,WI