The seemingly casual title of Wilco’s seventh album, “Wilco (The Album),” came as a surprise to the group’s fans — and to the band members themselves.
Bassist John Stirratt, who along with frontman Jeff Tweedy remains Wilco’s only founding member, says the name came after the sextet had worked up a track it dubbed “Wilco (The Song).” “The song had been around for awhile,” Stirratt, 42, recalls. “It was sort of a playful, dressing room jam thing, inserting different band names and ... of course, Wilco was thrown in there, too.
“It made us laugh; ‘Can we really do that?’ And then I think we had trouble finding a good phrase from the existing lyrics that sort of capture the record, and someone had put down ‘Wilco (The Album)’ on a list after we had ‘Wilco (The Song).’ That real generic quality, to be honest, the idea of this being a moment in time for us, everyone was taken with that, to be honest. So it stuck.”
Wilco did wind up exposing fans to the album a bit sooner than planned. It leaked on the Internet in mid-May, a monthand-a-half before its scheduled June 30 release, forcing the group to begin streaming it at its Web site to combat pirates. But Stirratt sees a silver lining.
“In a way, we were kind of happy that it didn’t happen sooner,” he says. “For so many bands it’s like three-and-a-half months out or something. (Leaks) have become part of the process; you’ve just got to be ready to stream it yourself whenever it does (leak).
“And I think more people know the album now because of the streaming, so that’s good. It makes it better when we’re playing the (new) songs live.”
Wilco performs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (July 21) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Tickets are sold out. Call (248) 399-2980 or www.royaloakmusictheatre. com.
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