Monday, 24 March 2014 14:37

Hard Work Paying Off for West Michigan Rockers Wayland

Written by  Jayson Bussa
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Wayland wsg Devin and the Dead Frets, Uncommon Road, The After Effect, Jim Shaneberger
The Intersection, Grand Rapids
April 5, 6:30 p.m.
$10 in advance, $15 day of show; (616) 451-8232

In a day and age where musicians can build an audience via YouTube or by pimping their tunes via the numerous social media channels, West Michigan’s own rock band Wayland chose to go full-on analog with its efforts.

This means relentless touring, playing an occasional show for just 50 bucks and a pizza, and begging program managers at radio stations throughout the nation to give their stuff a spin. And, it’s paying off.

While there is nothing normal about being on the road constantly since January 2012, popping back home for a few days every now and then, Wayland guitarist Phill Vilenski really didn’t think much of it.

People act like it’s something that is so amazing and they can’t believe how many shows we’ve played or how many songs we’ve written,” Vilenski said. “What else are we going to do? This is the career we’ve always wanted. An opportunity started to open up to go national with radio and we’re kicking that door open.

We’re not going to sit around and wait for Capitol Records to call and say, ‘Hey, you guys are going on tour.’”

It’s probably safe to say that the Wayland boys won’t be lining up to audition for "The Voice" or "X Factor" to compete for their shot at instant fame. Immediate success through minimal work is not how Vilenski’s parents did it, nor is it the way that most people in their gritty, rural hometown of Wayland roll.

We named ourselves after my hometown; we wanted to show the world what West Michigan is all about,” Vilenski said. “My parents owned a business and they worked seven days a week. The other guys in the band, their parents are the same way. We’re not going to be a band that tours when we have to. This is our one and only chance, so we’re going to take it.”

The ruthless touring schedule has held Wayland back from releasing any new recorded material since its EP, which dropped two years ago. Vilenski admitted the band will spend a little bit of time here and there in the studio, but they simply can’t afford to sit in one place for too long.

While Wayland builds an audience around the country, its fan base remains loyal here on the home front. This makes the group’s visit to Grand Rapids on April 5 all the more special.

Wayland will hit the stage at The Intersection for their signature rowdy show, which will also serve as live DVD filming.

The Intersection shows are becoming so much fun and very exciting,” Vilenski said. “We just thought, ‘Why don’t we bring some cameras in and let’s just tape one?’ It will be awesome to document one of these shows.”



Grand Rapids-based post punk-ish band La Dispute, now of national fame, recently fed its fan base's appetite for new material with its latest album, Rooms of the House. For a band that was known for constantly releasing new EPs that featured their more off-the-cuff work, this is La Dispute's most recent release after Wildlife came out in 2011.

Last month, Grand Rapids-based pop punk mainstays Three Cents Short welcomed new drummer Matthew Gluggins to the mix. Alive and kicking for just less than six years, the band has plenty of exciting things on the horizon. Three Cents Short will be one of a handful of West Michigan bands to appear at this year's BledFest in Howell. The band will also be playing at Mulligan's in Grand Rapids on April 25 with The Penske File, out of Canada.

Kalamazoo's I'm William Cutting and Martyr For Madison of Grand Rapids will be in action at The Pyramid Scheme on April 1 to help celebrate a brand new album from post-hardcore royalty. Michigan-based group Chiodos will be dropping its new album, Devil. With its line-up almost back to original form, complete with Craig Owens as front man, this will be the group's first release since 2010. 

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