Interview with Mark Wihlidal
Q: What got you into music and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
A: That’s a tough question. I actually was a hockey referee for some fifteen years but, I can’t imagine not being involved in music. I played guitar in high school and met some friends and we started a band.
But, life got in the way and I put music aside.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
A: I like to hang out with friends and it always seems that there is music on everywhere I go. So, I’m inspired by other artists and their music. But, also, I am inspired by my travels, my friends, and my life experiences.
Q: How long has your band been around?
A: Since 2009 as “The Last Chance Band”. Now, most of “The Last Chance” members are involved in “Mark Wihlidal and the Doctors of Music”.
Q: Where are you based out of and how has it influenced your music?
A: We are based out of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada and most songs are based on life experiences in this area. Oshawa was a blue-collar town, the home of GM Canada. Growing up here, it was a close-knit community with a small town feel.
Q: How did you come up with the name of the band and what does it mean to you?
A: Well, we were in the studio recording, “Life Can Be a Mystery” and I commented that the guys were ‘doing surgery’ on the song with guitar, bass, and drums. So, then I said, “You guys are the doctors of music”. And that’s where the name came from.
Q: Tell me about your most memorable shows.
A: Well, I would have to say, Varadero, Cuba, at the Beatles Bar is one of my favourite places to play and sing. I actually belong to a band in Cuba called “The Blues Connection” and I sing with them two or three times a year whenever I am able to get to Cuba. I love playing in The Beatles Bar because the Cuban musicians are extremely talented and there’s always a full house. It makes me better because I do so many live shows there in such a short period of time.
Q: What is your favourite venue to play at and do you have any places that you want to play that you have not already?
A: Well, The Simcoe Blues and Jazz Club in Oshawa is our favourite local place to play. It is small, intimate, has a great stage and is made for live music. The audience is always receptive. We would love to be popular enough to do an arena show or a festival-type of show… something on a bigger scale.
Q: If you could play with any line-up, who would be on the ticket?
A: Robert Plant and the Space Shifters would be my first choice. Pink Floyd, Peter Frampton, and The Doobie Brothers would round out the ticket.
Q: What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
A: For someone just starting out, I would say, “Play for the love of the music. It has to be fun.” To my younger self, I would say, “Don’t put it off, keep going despite everything. Enjoy the music.”
Q: If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
A: Well, I shouldn’t have stopped for 25 years due to love and life… hahaha.
Q: Of your songs, which means the most and why?
A: The current song, “Life Can Be a Mystery” is the best yet for us so far. I am a better song writer as time goes on and the guys I play with continue to evolve and improve along with the music. I think the key to “why” is that we have so much fun playing and creating the music… with no expectations. This song, people can use their imagination and put themselves into the song. I like to write songs that people, hopefully, can make their own and take something out of.
Q: Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
A: My favourite songs to play are my own, original creations. But, I can’t think of the most requested. I know most originals are well- received by most audiences, which is very nice.
Q: What is the creative process for the band and what inspires you to write your music?
A: Life inspires me. Every day there are new experiences, new ideas, and new thoughts. I write most of the basic chords and lyrics and then I take it to the guys and they get creative and add their own parts. Bing, bang, boom…and there’s a new song.
Q: What kind of messages do you like get across in your music?
A: I like to write songs that tell a story and are positive. Songs that, hopefully, will inspire people to do more, try more, be more.
Q: Do you ever have disagreements in the band and how do you get past them?
A: We really don’t have any disagreements. We are just having fun, laughing and creating. I want there to be no stress either creating or playing the music.
Q: What are your plans for the future and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
A: We have another song about to be released within the next few days called “No Farewells, No Good-byes”. Plus, by October we will be doing some live, local shows around Oshawa. Also, we have some charity fundraisers coming up but, no definite dates as of today.