Wayward Sons began life early in 2016 after Italian Record label Frontiers approached Toby Jepson with the idea of making a solo album. This was not something that initially rang true with Toby having spent most of his career as a British Rock musician in bands. From the early days of Little Angels, through Toby and The Whole Truth, The Toby Jepson band in the early noughties, into GUN, Fastway and Dio’s Disciples, it had always been about bands, groups of people joining together to say something, to create together, to perform together.
The answer, at first, was ‘thanks, but no thanks’
But Frontiers kept the conversation open, and slowly the idea took root in Toby’s mind enough to start tentative conversations with other musicians. Why was it such a difficult a decision? Toby will tell you that he had no intention of making new music without the right ‘feel good’ situation, without the desire from all to fully commit to something that felt relevant, passionate and rooted in a song centric approach. This HAD to be a re-birth, a solid step forward and not a re-treading of old steps. Besides, he knew the fans would see through it.
This was back to the drawing board. No compromise.
The first player Toby spoke to was an old mate from back in the early days of the Angels, bass player Nic Wastell. Nic had begun his career in Leicester band Chrome Molly. The Mollies had been label mates with LA for a while and indeed had spent sometime on the road together. It’s true to say that much was learned from the watching the band at a time when the young Scarborough band was getting to grips with themselves. Nic will tell you how the band often slept on the floor of his flat.
Nic and Toby had begun working together again after meeting at a mutual friend’s wedding, chatting about old times and the desire for Chrome Molly to make a new record, so the initial relationship was one of producer/ artist. To date Toby has produced two albums for the band. What was most potent about this start, was Nic’s interest in helping Toby get back on the recording trail and ultimately onto stages, and conversations were had long before Frontiers came knocking, so it was clear Nic had a focus and desire. It goes without saying that he jumped at the chance.
One of Toby’s main thrusts of work is production, specifically of new young hopefuls. It started with The Virginmarys and has led onto Toseland, Illustr8ors and the Treason Kings. It was within the ranks of the latter, that the Wayward Sons guitar player was found. Sam Wood is a young player, a product of modernity but rooted solidly in the classics. Sam has a love of all the same bands as Toby but smartly doesn’t discriminate between ‘old’ and new, it’s about nothing more than great music. Sam brings an alternative, searching, demanding style to his playing that Toby knew would fit well with his concept of pushing his personal boundaries. The Treason Kings were good enough to let Sam take part in WS, as they continue to develop themselves. Again, after initial conversations Sam committed to the project. He plays Les Pauls, owns probably the best guitar in the world – a Gibson 335 – and is a stalwart Marshall aficionado.
Next up, the biggest, most difficult search for any band – finding a drummer. It’s is perhaps the hardest decision to make for rock bands as the backbone of any band resides with the rhythm, the groove, the beat. Toby has had the pleasure of working with some of the worlds greats, starting with Michael Lee then Pete Thomas and Mark Richardson. Hard acts to follow. However, ever the keen eye, Toby had spotted London player Phil Martini, at the High Voltage Festival when he was playing with Joe Elliott and The Down and Outz.
After checking out his resume which also included playing for acts as diverse as Tokyo Dragons, Spear of Destiny and Jim Jones, a call was made and the two met for coffee to chat. It was clear the two had a lot in common and without actually playing together, Phil was invited into the band. It was no surprise to find that once they rehearsed that Phil’s style was perfect for the project. A player of power and subtlety, a groove King who plays for the song, an exceptionally musical drummer who has innate natural instincts for his instrument.
The final member really needs no introduction, Dave Kemp has been Toby’s wing man now for some years, having not only toured acoustically with him, but has also become a co-writing partner in several other music projects. Dave is a multi talented player, being able to play the keyboards of all varieties as well as a myriad of wind instruments. It’s Is Dave’s wonderful humour that informs his playing as well as a natural affinity with song and interpretation. Dave will be playing keys mainly in this band, and will no doubt be greeted with a warm welcome by the fans old and new.
So there we have it; The Wayward Sons. Name? Why? Well, those who have been long time fans of Toby and Little Angels will recognise the phrase from ‘Kickin Up Dust’ which in turn was paraphrased by Toby from the Kansas song. To Toby it rang a bell years ago when he was writing the first Angels’ album, coming to represent the spirit of freedom, of searching for that alternative life, of Rock n roll, so it seemed like the obvious choice when naming the band. This was never going to be a solo project, this was always going to be a band.
The debut album is now written and recording takes place in November 2016. To date the band have kept the sound and form of the music close to their chests. But inside sources tell tales of simple, to the point rock n roll, with an alternative edge. As ever, Toby has a desire to speak as much truth as possible, It is this, he believes, that will ultimately connect, as bands and the art of telling a story with focus and a real sense of the unique are perhaps needed more today in these troubled modern times than at any time in recent history.
Frontiers will release the as yet untitled debut album from Wayward Sons in the spring of 2017. From there the road beckons once again, so expect a live band bristling with songs and eager to tell new tales.
Wayward Sons HQ – Somerset 2016