Lee Wadlinger
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Lee Wadlinger

Band Alternative Rock


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Wondering Boy Poet (1996)
What's Wrong With Me (2000)

Magic Ball Hunt (1996)
Split 7" w/Pesotum (1997)
Lee Wadlinger's Guide to Dating (2002)
Twentieth Century Apprenticeship (2007)



Spring 1997: As part of the inaugural Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Northeastern Ohio native Lee Wadlinger has been given a slot directly before indie-rock favorite Elliot Smith. The two play their respective sets to an appreciative coffee house crowd (the only performance site for the conference where you can’t get beer) and then talk about acoustic guitar pickups before heading their separate ways. Almost a year later to the day, Smith performs onstage with Celine Dion at the 1998 Oscars while, back in Hudson, Ohio, Wadlinger watches the two take a bow as he works on a term paper for his high school English class.

Summer 1997: Backstage after a rousing performance by Guided By Voices in Pittsburgh, lead singer Robert Pollard is holding court. Much to Wadlinger’s surprise, Pollard says that he not only listened to Wadlinger’s split 7” single released earlier that year, but that he also liked it. Lee tells him that a distributor actually picked up the single and shipped 25 copies to Japanese record stores, where they were supposedly “selling well,” then reverts to fanboy mode and gushes about how much he likes “The Colossus Crawls West” off the Mag Earwhig album. “Lee Wadlinger,” Pollard later says, pointing. “You know the words to every Guided By Voices song. I’m going to retire soon, and you’re going to be my replacement. I’ll sit at home and write the songs, and you’ll tour.” Wadlinger readily agrees. For better or for worse, by the time Pollard actually does retire from the stage, he’s forgotten the whole thing.

Fall 2006: After an extended semi-hiatus from recording and actively playing out (he plays sporadically solo and with the Knights of Infinite Resignation and releases an album in 2000) in favor of attending the University of Dayton and then Ohio State Law, Wadlinger feels the urge to devote more attention to the Rock. He fires up the four track again and begins to record the load of songs he’s been gathering over the years. Initial plans are made to begin releasing records on the newly formed Columbus indie, Next Best Records (which Wadlinger plays a key role in founding).

April 2007: Wadlinger’s new EP, Twentieth Century Apprenticeship, is released on CD on April 10, with worldwide online distribution via iTunes, Napster, etc. The EP features a taste of Wadlinger’s current songwriting/recording direction, which perhaps can be described as a teenage Robert Pollard collaborating with a 30-something Bob Dylan and a grey-haired Eric Carmen. The songs on Twentieth Century Apprenticeship range from the introspective, solo acoustic “Please Be Careful” and “Powder Puff Blues” to the more fleshed-out and driven rock of “Throwing Bottles” and “Nighlight.”

Wadlinger also performs with The Backup Plan and Fourth Street Only, both of which make appearances in numerous clubs and bars in Columbus (including Little Brother's, much to Lee's delight).

June 2007: Serious recording gets underway for Wadlinger's new solo record, I-71. Rough mixes of the songs that will go on the album use the Twentieth Century Apprenticeship EP as a starting point before branching off into more sparse, acoustic guitar-driven directions. Super-primitive lo-fi recording techniques are utilized on songs like "Written With Ink," "Portention or What," and "The Stone," all of which seem to push forward with bittersweet melodies even as they look backward, both lyrically and musically. Other songs, such as "Citrus Bowls" and "Song For Paige" receive the full-band treatment in a fashion that suggests a throwback to the Wall of Sound filtered through modern sensibilities.

Meanwhile, Wadlinger has ventured out of the cave to play a series of under-the-radar solo shows in preparation for a true return to the stage to coincide with the release of I-71 in late 2007.