The Wet Secrets
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The Wet Secrets

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF | AFM

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Most Serious Fun in the World"

As any solemn Canadian pact should be, this one was hammered out over Tim Hortons coffee. Lyle Bell had a cherry cheese danish; Trevor Anderson tucked into a cruller. And they arrived at an important agreement, one that would change something profound in their relationship to each other, their band, and their art.
They would try. Together. Like, really try. Really, really, really, honest-to-goodness, give-it-all-ya-got, pour-your-heart-and-soul-in-it, actually fucking try.
Doesn’t sound like much? Well, consider this: the whole, fucked-up Mortal Express, the way that somehow, for no good reasons when we’re actually pressed on it, so many of us wind up leading existences that don’t have much to do with what actually matters to us, despite the fact that we all agree that life is fleeting and precious and fragile. Not to disparage the stuff of maintenance and politeness—like changing the cat litter, doing dishes and being kind to people we’re indifferent to—because it’s not about some weird, self-regarding Byronic trip to wring out intensity from every waking moment at the expense of the social contract and being a mensch. It’s not about policing against moments of tedium or obligation or citizenship. But over the last century, as us lucky folks in the West have been increasingly told that we can do anything and be anything our little hearts desire, a lot of us seem to have opted out. Or we “fake try.” The more we want something, the more we hobble ourselves, so we have something to blame if we fall down. Because, if we try really hard and you still don’t get it, who’s the fool then? Especially when the Internet exists, to crap loudly all over our best efforts.
So we don’t start that assignment until the last possible minute, because if it sucks, we can tell ourselves we would have done better with more time. So we don’t practise as much as we know we need to. So we conceal our most earnest feelings in banter. So we get drunk and start bands as a joke.
“It was a drunken dare, essentially,” Bell recalls of the dawn of the Wet Secrets. “Everybody who’s a musician does this, who goes out for a drink. They meet someone, and say, ‘Hey man, we should form a band. And let’s call it ‘Skullfuck 2000′; it’ll be funny!”
(Although Skullfuck 2000 is funny, and absolutely should exist, it does not as of yet. But you can also discern the origins of Bell’s band/alter-ego Whitey Houston in this tale.)
“You know, 99 percent of the time, it’s just a fun joke when you’re drinking with your friends. But we were at Seedy’s when this happened, and I don’t know if we took the show that night—”
Anderson confirms that they did. “We walked over to the bar and we booked it in.”
“And promptly forgot about it, until a week beforehand, when we saw an ad was in Vue and posters were up, and we were like, ‘Oh my God!’” Bell still sounds horrified, almost nine years later.
Anderson recalls being buttonholed while out for a night on the town. “On the dance floor, Andrea Lefebvre [from the Skinny] yelled at me, ‘Which one of you is it?’, and I said, ‘What?’. And she yelled, ‘There’s an ad in Vue: half Vertical Struts, half Whitey Houston! A new band, the Wet Secrets! Next Saturday! Who is in that band?’. And I went, ‘Oh my God!’, and phoned Lyle.”
They groan out the ‘Oh my Gods!’ together as each of their stories culminate with the phrase. Bell and Anderson are given to relating stories with chunks of dialogue in them, acting out every part as they go along. Both men are sweetly attentive to each other as they talk, and there’s an absence of that kind of compulsive razzing often found in bands of young men. Anderson is, true to his other calling as a film and theatre director, almost supernaturally observant, and perches on his chair in between laying out cookies and coffee. Dressed neatly and conservatively but for extravagantly beautiful shiny patent shoes, Anderson redirects the conversation when it gets derailed, reminds Bell of what he was saying if he blows off course and inserts pertinent or corrective details when he deems it necessary, and urges Bell on. Bell’s a visual artist and designer as well as a musician, and has arrived from his side job as a commercial painter, looking like he was jumped by some clothes at the bottom of his bed as he struggled out the door. They’re affectionate and encouraging with each other, and have a strikingly respectful partnership. Although Bell and Wet Secrets tuba-player Kim Rackel are in a longterm romantic relationship, it’s easy to view the Bell-Anderson pairing as the heart of the band.
“We had one week,” Anderson shakes his head, and looks at Bell.
“And instead of just caving and calling the club and saying, ‘We can’t do the show, we don’t really exist’, we got even more drunk and threw the band together, wrote the songs and recorded them, all in that week.”
That was A Whale of A Cow, 2005′s debut full-length, which was a gritty, shambolic piece of exuberant, demented rock, littered with non-sequitor and potty-mouth lyrics and an unusual musical setup that included a low-down horn section (tuba and trombone) along with bass, drums and keys.
“You weren’t even going to play bass, I will remind you,” Anderson says to Bell, who nods. “At the first rehearsal, the plan was for Kim to play bass, because she was learning bass. She was trying, and she was frustrated, and she was like, ‘Can I just play this on my tuba?’ And you were, ‘If you’re going to play tuba, I’m going to play bass.’ And that was it.”
The Wet Secrets quickly became a fan favourite in Edmonton and Calgary, and garnered national buzz too. The rock was powerful and catchy, and the shows were crazy parties, hedonistic dance-athons led by the Wet Secrets in their vivid marching band uniforms. Fans loved the uniforms, and so did time-pressed music writers, who took to referring to them as a “marching band” despite the fact that if you closed your eyes and listened to their music, that descriptor totally fell apart. This was primal rock with novel instrumentation; nothing oom-pah-pah about it.
“It’s a unifying thing,” Bell says of the outfits. “Its like, onstage, we’re a little gang, unto ourselves.”
“Some people react against the uniforms that way: ‘Why are you dressed up? Is it some kind of jokey, try-hard thing?’ But it indicates effort,” Anderson notes. “We dressed up for you! Dance!”
“Yeah. And I actually find that it’s almost like slipping into a persona, in a way,” Bell adds. “I find it easier to lose myself, get out of my own head, sometimes—”
“Pull that hat right down,” Anderson commands him.
“And those boots,” Bell finishes. “I actually love wearing those big equestrian boots, and when do you get an opportunity to wear those?”
Their follow-up record, 2007′s Rock Fantasy, was more of the same, rock anthems with filthy and funny lyrics, music that stayed just on the right side of novelty. Their popularity grew, especially on the strength of their legendary live shows.Looking back, Anderson and Bell are touched by how much support the band got—high-profile supporters include reclusive genius Chad VanGaalen, Six Shooter label head Shauna de Cartier and CBC radio folk Lana Gay and Grant Lawrence—and a little sheepish about how little they put into it. There are stories of opportunities taken for granted, but both men find it hard to work up much regret.
“It was never meant to be more than a week-long thing,” Anderson explains. “Ever. So, when it kept going because people really liked it, we sort of halfheartedly kept on going with it. But we never really committed to it. It was nobody’s priority. I was still establishing myself as a filmmaker, [Bell] was in Shout Out [Out Out Out], Kim had her [burlesque]. We’d do it once in a while, but it was not go-time on it, ever.”
Bell adds, “It’s not that we sandbagged it back then, but we just didn’t really know any better. We didn’t make a plan. We didn’t quite know what we were doing. It really has taken being in Shout Out and seeing how things get done; things have to be planned out. Up until the second record, it was just seat of the pants, like, ‘Oh, we’ll play some shows.’ Even after that, we were trying, but not … ”
“We weren’t committed to it,” Anderson finishes for him.
Undoubtably, some of the security necessary to commit has come from the band lineup solidifying over the past couple years, after a few personnel changes: the addition of the hugely talented multi-instrumentalist Paul Arnusch, of the Faunts and Whitsundays, and the band baby, trombonist Emma Frazier, who has basically grown up from teenagedom to young adulthood during her time in the Secrets.
Another factor is more personal and intangible. Anderson and Bell both recently and independently arrived at similar conclusions about the negative impact hell-raising has had on their artistic practices. It’s hard not to draw the conclusion, watching them together, that this deepened their friendship and allowed them to create better together, as well as apart. They are firmly mid-career artists, and have both had to come to terms with what that big, scary blank space in the middle part of working life means in an industry that doesn’t seem to talk about the middle part much, just hot new things or grizzled veterans, what Anderson calls “lifetime achievement people.”
Free Candy, their new release, is very much a mid-career album and reflects their newfound knowledge and recent growth. You can pretty much see what’s been obsessing them from song titles such as “Maybe We’ll Make A Plan,” “Get Your Shit Together,” “Death of the Party” and “What’s The Fucking Point,” which also has the title “Zenko’s Theme,” named after the late Darren Zenko, writer and beloved fixture on Edmonton’s scene for two decades, whose untimely death shocked so many in the community. You can also hear what’s been obsessing them—the lyrics talk to each other across tracks, as if the whole album were one circuitous, recursive, difficult conversation about what’s really important in life, set amid intricate rock-pop that borrows heavily from a mid ’70s soundscape, recalling Nilsson at his most willful, the more tense and paranoid part of Hall & Oates’ oeuvre, and nods towards the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds in a few tracks (“We almost called it Wet Sounds, Bell offers, “We even took photos at a llama farm” owned by Frazier’s relatives). It’s a killer record; a huge leap forward from the grubby, jokey party rock of yore.
Bell points to the side of Free Candy. The spine is spangled with a military line of close-together red stars. Three of them are blue.
“That’s the plan,” Bell states. “We have all of those other ones to go. Five years to get all those stars.”
His face is earnest. Bell means it. The Wet Secrets plan on putting out one record for every one of those stars. There looks to be, at quick count, more than 20. Consummating their commitment means making a plan as well as a pact. And trying means listening to yourself and not the haters, and taking your art seriously even as you’re having fun and being funny.
“Every project I’ve ever been in was formed with the intention of one show,” Bell sighs. “If I’d thought that I was going to be explaining to border guards or my parents about Whitey Houston, or that the band name is Shout Out Out Out Out, like 10 years later, and getting like a blank look—I probably would have pressed for something else. But every project was started with no forethought. If I’m going to be doing stuff at this point, it’s all going to be planned. I want to do this as a career, to be honest.”
It’s an unremarkable statement, except you know it’s coming from someone who has probably never let himself say that, or want that, until very recently.
“I just chalk it up to me being a slow learner,” Bell shrugs. “But maybe it is a generational thing. Total slacker generation. It certainly has taken me a long time to finally realize I gotta really try, gotta get down to business. I don’t really regret all the parties, but I wish I had maybe rolled it back and gotten down to business sooner.”
“I’m glad you waited,” says Anderson, “because now you’re coming at it with such a vengeance.”
Bell nods. “And I am really hungry for it, at this point.”
“We,” Anderson corrects himself. “I shouldn’t say ‘you.’ That’s not in the second person. I’m glad we waited to do this now. There’s more urgency.”
“It’s important to me to have you be on the same page of wanting this as badly as I do,” Bell tells his friend. “It’s sometimes hard, you get these inklings of self-doubt.”
“Lyle has said this to me before: ‘You take all the trophies and throw them away, but you take all the daggers and put them in the display case,’” Anderson relates.
“Yeah. Well, I don’t know what’ll happen,” Bell responds. “But if I don’t have this, it’s depression time. There needs to be more. I don’t understand people who fall out of [art] somehow. ‘I’m not doing it anymore; I’m going to be a chartered accountant.’ There’s no way I could leave this behind. And I think it’s what I do best in life. And I want to continue to explore. When we say we have a plan, that’s part of the plan—how far can we take this if we take it seriously? I know that I’ll always wake up at 2 am with an idea, a melody, a snippet, and I know that I’ll have to scamper down and record. I hope and pray that I always will have that. It’s the creative process that gives me hope—”
Anderson makes a sound like the dinging of a bell, like his bandmate just won the biggest prize in a contest. “That, yes! That.”
Fri, Feb 28 (9 pm)
The Wet Secrets
With the Dudes, Renny Wilson, Gods
Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre, $15 - VUE Weekly

"Shout Out Out Out Out Offshoot Wet Secrets Dole Out 'Free Candy' on New LP, Premiere New Video"

Shout Out Out Out Out Offshoot Wet Secrets Dole Out 'Free Candy' on New LP, Premiere New Video
By Alex Hudson,, November 6, 2013

Edmonton pop outfit the Wet Secrets have been relatively quiet over the last few years, as the band members have been focused on other projects (including co-founder Lyle Bell's involvement in Shout Out Out Out Out). Now, they're finally back with a new album, Free Candy, which arrives independently on February 4.

The release was recorded this past July with producer Nik Kozub (Cadence Weapon, Shout Out Out Out Out, Whitehorse). A press release promises that it includes more of the "frantic pop" that the band are known for, but with a darker undercurrent; Free Candy is apparently a "well-conceived quasi-concept album about sex, death and the human condition."

Scroll past the tracklist below to watch a cat-friendly lyric video for the bouncy pop cut "Sunshine." The tune lives up to its title with punchy bass grooves and effervescent vocal harmonies.

Along with Bell, Trevor Anderson and Kim Rackel, the Wet Secrets' five-piece lineup now includes newcomers Paul Arnusch and Emma Frazier. Free Candy is their third full-length; it follows 2007's Rock Fantasy and 2005's A Whale of a Cow.

Free Candy:

1. Maybe We'll Make a Plan
2. Sunshine
3. Kill My Love
4. Nightlife
5. Get Your Shit Together
6. Animals in Disguise
7. Floating in the Sky
8. I Don't Think So
9. Chains
10. Death of the Party
11. What's the Fucking Point? (Zenko's Theme) -, November 6, 2013

"The Wet Secrets Are All Grown Up"

The Wet Secrets Are All Grown Up
By Caitlin Best, Notable, December 18, 2013

Everything in life is more fun with costumes, and the Wet Secrets are no exception to this rule. Edmonton’s reigning rock quintet (Lyle Bell, Trevor Anderson, Kim Rackel, Emma Frazier and Paul Arnusch) play all their shows in snazzy red and white marching band outfits. When you see the Wet Secrets perform you feel like you’ve just walked in on a brass section throwing a rock party in your basement. Their lyrics are sassy, their sound is original, and you can’t help but want to dance up a storm when you hear hit songs like “Get Your Own Apartment” and “Grow Your Own F***ing Moustache.” The group was at the Palomino this week to show off their new album, Free Candy, to Calgary audiences. We chatted with bassist Lyle Bell before the performance and talked about the band coming off a several year hiatus, the making of the new album, and the story around the off-the-wall costumes.

Are you excited about playing the Palomino tonight?

This is our first show where we get to play all the songs off our new album, so yeah we’re pretty pumped.

You guys have been on hiatus for a while now. What inspired the Wet Secrets to start playing together again?

Our last show together was back in 2007 and everyone just seemed to get busy with life and other projects. Despite our busy schedules, we were really encouraged to get back together. Musician Chad VanGaalen and Lana Gay from CBC Radio were two big supporters of the Wet Secrets re-uniting. Eventually we collectively decided to go for it. We really committed to making a new album and it all came together in a short period of time.

How does your new album differ from your last album, Rock Fantasy?

Free Candy was recorded in the same studio where my other band (the Shout Out Outs) made their last album. It would be fair to say that our new album is more adult than Rock Fantasy. When we recorded Rock Fantasy we were five years younger and we recorded in someone’s house downtown. Rock Fantasy had a fuzzy quality to it and the whole album was really a booze-fuelled process that we probably couldn’t replicate again. The making of Free Candy was more methodical and the result was an album that was less obtuse. Our lyricism has evolved from stories of drunken hilarity to covering topics that are about real life issues because we’re all in such different headspaces now. This doesn’t mean the new album is a downer; there is lots of fun material in the mix.

What’s on your playlist and how would you describe your sound?

Definitely synthesizers and I’m a sucker for pop music, dirty punk and garage rock. I’m a big fan of JJ Burnell from the Stranglers. The Stranglers’ sound is clanky punk pop and that’s definitely how I would describe the sound of the Wet Secrets. We always strive to create music that’s familiar without being cliché.

Ok, now, what’s the deal with the marching band costumes?

It’s actually a funny story. Our drummer Trevor Anderson grew up in Red Deer and used to be a member of the Red Deer Royals marching band. When the band decided to sell the costume, Trevor’s mom brokered the whole deal and was able to secure 25 marching band outfits for a price we couldn’t refuse. The uniforms pay tribute to the history of Alberta and reference the history of the band. It’s just so wild to imagine Trevor as being a gay teenager in Red Deer of all places and being part of that marching band. It’s like Glee with attitude!

What is the general reaction to the costumes?

Actually, the first time we ever played a show together we showed up at Broken City and this grumpy bartender that we referred to as “Rockabilly Frankenstein” took one look at us and huffed something along the lines of “Ugh, costumes. Why don’t you guys try talent?” We ended up writing a song about that bartender called “Needles In My Salami.” For the most part, people are really into the costumes. The ladies are over seven feet tall with the boots on. I’ve watched Kim and Emma get mauled by crowds who are fascinated with the sight of super tall women.

What would you wear for costumes if you weren’t wearing the marching band costumes?

Matching Snuggies.

Who would be your dream audience? Rockabilly Frankenstein?

Ha, good guess but no. We actually had Bill Murray and Woody Harrelson in the crowd for our show at the Beauty Bar during SXSW (Austin, Texas). Unfortunately someone announced their presence and the two celebrities made a quick exit because the crowd was suddenly way more interested in Bill and Woody than us.

What does the band do in their spare time?

Kim and Emma run a burlesque troupe called Capital City Burlesque. Paul, our keyboard wizard, makes films, and Trevor and I have other bands. I also work with an inner city project called the “Chimo Music Program,” which focuses on teaching kids to play music. We just had our Christmas concert, which was a blast, and the kids can always rely on having a dynamite squad of local musicians showing up to teach them music.

What’s in store for 2014?

We are returning to SXSW and will be doing a tour of Eastern Canada. We’re really just starting to pick up steam and coming into our own. I’d say that we’re playing better than ever.

Whatever the future holds, everyone should have a listen to Free Candy (Due out February 4th) and look out for more Wet Secrets shows next year. - Notable, December 18, 2013

"The Wet Secrets: Everyone Loves a Parade"

Everyone Loves a Parade
By Christine Leonard, Beatroute, December 9, 2013

Edmonton’s favourite imaginary friend the Wet Secrets is a band that wants to stick their tongue in your ear. And by tongue they mean their sweeter-than-sin new album, Free Candy. Conceived as a cunning stunt in 2005 by bassist/vocalist Lyle Bell and drummer/vocalist Trevor Anderson, the Wet Secrets made their first appearance on stage at a reputable establishment called Seedy’s. Invigorated by the thrill they received from that initial act of exposure, the Wet Secrets swiftly assembled and issued their debut album, A Whale of a Cow, later that year.

By 2007, the Wet Secrets had found a rhythm to match their trumped-up, pop-rock methodology with their sophomoric release, the appropriately titled Rock Fantasy. Received with open arms, the catchy cache of Rock Fantasy was a magic bullet that shot the Wet Secrets to the top of the Canadian charts, where they lingered on well into 2008.

“Trevor and I were at a show and kind of made a pact/dare to start a band and write and record an album before the first show,” Bell recalls. “We took a show and promptly forgot about all of this until a week before our first gig. We did a crazy, no-sleep week of practice/recording and got it done literally five minutes before the show started. At the time, both Trevor and I were in bands and fairly accomplished and we mutually knew some people we thought would be fun to play with. We wanted to avoid guitar, for whatever reason, so it was horns and keys with everyone singing. It was thrown together pretty quickly without too much thought about anything further into the future than that one gig. Also, that first night we made our pact-dare, our friend Fish took a photo of us that looked like I was telling Trevor a wet secret. Can’t remember if Fish said that or Trevor, but it was the genesis of the name.”

Obviously accustomed to making a serious racket when performing as a part of his erstwhile bands, Shout Out Out Out Out and Whitey Houston, bassist and lead vocalist Lyle Bell has never shied away from making a scene in public. Pursuing his affection for the campiness and controversy, Bell and his long time friend and collaborator drummer/vocalist Trevor Anderson have discovered likeminded musicians in trumpet player/vocalist Kim Rackel, trombonist/vocalist Emma Frazier and keyboardist/conga player like Paul Arnusch. Settling into their role within the dynamic group, Paul and the two majorettes are primed to deliver Bell and Anderson’s madcap musical mash-up.

“We sometimes spontaneously write jams during practices, make wonky demos and then refine them in the studio,” says Bell of the group’s evolving songwriting process. “Sometimes, I’ll get bombarded with an idea and work out most of the song in my head. I can generally hear how everything is going to go and then I’ll show it to Trevor, who often sends it spiralling into a different dimension. Everyone in this band is actually pretty fucking talented musically. Zero slouch. Kim and Emma are superstars!”

Now, you might be tempted to think that blasting out starry-eyed tunes like “Hot Hot Hotter than the Sun,” “The Chinball Wizard” and “The Ballad of El Doucho,” while being backed by a fulsome brass section, would be enough for any band on the march. But if you need to know one thing about the Wet Secrets, it’s that they love being the centre of your attention and will stop at nothing to get there. Plying their eminently danceable hooks whilst decked-out in tasseled red-and-white marching-band uniforms, Bell and company demonstrate that no loud outfit is complete without an equally loud outfit.

“The outfits were the old uniforms of the Red Deer Royals. Unlike Lorde, Trevor was once a Royal and we were able to buy about twenty complete marching band outfits in a sweet deal brokered by his mom.”

After five years of anticipation and planning, the Wet Secrets’ next great orchestral manoeuvre is finally ready to be unveiled. The musical counterpart of the cat hair-covered sweater in your closet (also Bell’s wardrobe of choice when he’s not in uniform), Free Candy comes across as fun, friendly and a little bit freaky. A return to the halcyon days of one’s cavity-filled youth, the gratuitously tasteful album came together during this past summer, guided by the hand of producer Nik Kozub (White Horse, Cadence Weapon, Shout Out Out Out Out).

“I learned a lot about the business in general from being in Shout Out Out Out Out: take the work involved seriously and have a plan,” Bell says. “In the four years (five?) since our last album, we went through some personnel changes and had general life bullshit drop down on us. We got older, wiser and slightly sadder. Rock Fantasy was kind of about sex and hedonism with a bit of whimsical bullshit. Free Candy is a more adult album, loosely about sex, death and humanity, supernatural claptrap, the untimely death of a friend, evangelicals banging on your door way too early, people who sit in the green room and eat your deli tray while you play, dyin’ — the usual.”

Bell confesses that their predilection for stirring crowds into frenzies has led them down the yellow brick road to chaos on more than one occasion. He recalls a pie giveaway that resulted in an Animal House-calibre food fight. How does one get pie out of a trumpet? Marx Brothers-inspired tomfoolery aside, these festival veterans have a history of engaging audiences with a constant parade of well-composed and skillfully-executed aural pleasures. Indeed, the Wet Secrets strive to infuse their musical presentations with an intelligent and slightly warped sense of humour. In doing so, they seldom fail to elicit an appreciative response from their listeners.

“I am my own harshest critic and I am super-pumped that we had the stick-to-it-iveness to get Free Candy done,” Bell reports. “We are all totally proud of this one, our little breach baby. I’m already working hard on the next album. We have big plans. I want to take this as far as we can possibly can. We also want to reunite the Smugglers so we can do a split 7″.”

Tongue firmly planted in cheek, the Wet Secrets plan to exercise their right to party as they champion Free Candy across the land.

“It’s amazing how fast the years can slip by, but our mandate of having fun together hasn’t changed. Once we got rolling again everyone started to get excited about pushing this album through to completion. Lately, we’ve been playing some of our best shows ever. It does sound like the same band, but I think we’re also a band in transition. Maybe in the future we won’t be quite as jokey… Of course, when you wear marching band outfits there’s a pretty fine line between being seen as a glib gimmick and being taken seriously. There are tons of weird art rock bands out there that we love, like Devo and Ween. I think it’s possible to play completely ridiculous material really well. That’s when it’s the most entertaining.”

Catch Wet Secrets at the Palomino on December 13. Free Candy will be released on February 4, 2014. - Beatroute, December 9, 2013

"The Wet Secrets: Edmonton camp masters are ready to go fully bananas"

Edmonton camp masters are ready to go fully bananas
By Sebastian Buzzalino, Beatroute, June 8, 2012

“To me, it’s more of a unifying thing than a joke. I look at the photos and I think, ‘Yeah, I’m a serious rock musician wearing a fucking marching band costume,’ ” cracks bassist and lead vocalist Lyle Bell, yet another self-deprecating joke at his band’s immediately identifiable calling card. He fronts the Wet Secrets, Edmonton’s premiere marching rock and roll band. Known primarily for their somewhat campy aesthetic, which often carries over to their music, as evidenced by songs titled, “Grow Your Own Fucking Moustache, Asshole,” or, “I Teabagged Myself,” the Wet Secrets have emerged from a self-imposed pseudo-hiatus to once again prowl the indie circuit — all in impeccable formation, of course.

The Wet Secrets had originally united in 2005 and debuted their first album, A Whale of a Cow, shortly thereafter. The album was touted by the band as the result of “an impromptu drunken dare to write, record and release an album within one week,” though the final product managed to capture their fans’ imaginations much more than an off-the-cuff project would suggest. They faithfully trotted down the familiar indie circuit, touring whenever time and finances allowed, delighting crowds with their off-brand sense of humour. A follow-up album, Rock Fantasy, was released in 2007, at which point the band had built up a solid fan base and began making the festival rounds, including stints at SXSW and NXNE. After that, however, the Wet Secrets’ story grows eerily quiet.

“It was just a gradual malaise that came upon me,” says Bell. Though the Wet Secrets have never been the most prolific band out there, a series of life obligations all seemed to get in the way of the band, to the point where a third album was indefinitely delayed and live shows were few and far between. “We took a slight break from being around each other for a while. Just sort of some personal differences. It sort of was relating to semi-mid-life crises on a few things. Everyone has other things going on, other projects. As everyone else got more busy and were focusing on those, the Wet Secrets were less of a priority. The band works best when there’s a deadline, like there’s a show booked. It’s like, ‘OK, get in the studio.’ If we’re given ten months to complete something, we’ll take ten months and a day to get it done.”

In addition to the creative vagrancies of life, the Wet Secrets also had to replace Donna Ball on the trombone after she moved to Glasgow, “without actually quitting — she’s now in the Glasgow camp of the Wet Secrets,” laughs Bell. “I don’t even know what that means. It took us a while to get another trombone player.”

As would be fitting for a band that presents rock and roll’s artifice and theatricality front and centre, all with a healthy dose of the unexpected absurd, the Wet Secrets also managed to reconvene on their own terms. At some point in their time together, they had unanimously decided that the banana cream pie would be their band pie of choice. Since then, all major decisions, including the one to regroup, have been done in between mouthfuls of the decadent desert.
“We had a meeting over some banana cream pie. We got a banana cream pie and had a meeting where we decided we would go fully bananas,” remembers Bell, totally deadpan, “release [the new] album and get it finished. We’re almost ready to go. Still not quite,” he interjects, tempering expectations, “but it will definitely come this year.”

The album, slated for release later this summer — or, perhaps, as drummer Trevor Anderson once predicted to Bell, at “the end of the world,” which, if the Mayans are correct, is not far behind summer — has been almost five years in the making and represents a maturation for the band. As Bell focused on other projects, including his job at Edmonton’s Vue Weekly and as part of Shout Out Out Out and Whitey Houston, he tried to strike a balance between making serious music in a campy band and being relegated to the hinterlands of comedy as a one-trick-pony joke band.

“Listening back to the record, I didn’t want to make it so unlike any of our other stuff that it ceases to be a Wet Secrets record and turns into my own solo thing. Part of this thing, me not being quite satisfied with how it fits, is that there were a couple slightly more serious jams on there that I don’t think I’m going to put on [the final album]. It already is a fine line, when you’re wearing costumes, that you don’t want to be perceived as jokey. It was a thing that we decided to do that really actually did fit the band at the time — and still does. But, when you’re like that, you can’t go up and be too jokey. It’s something I’ve thought about quite a bit.”

Perhaps more so than any of Bell’s other bands, the Wet Secrets are a wholly collaborative effort, including everyone’s sense of humour and twisted ideas into one big recipe a - Beatroute, June 8, 2012


2005 - LP "A Whale of A Cow"
2007 - LP "Rock Fantasy"
2014 - LP "Free Candy"



A six-piece rock'n'roll dance band that plays the kind of music you could expect to hear if The Stranglers piggybacked Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass through the Rose Parade.

Swampy basslines, primal drumming, dancing ladies with brassy hornstacks, keys, congas & vocal harmonies galore.

Formed on a dare by Lyle Bell, Trevor Anderson and Kim Rackel, the bass and horn heavy quintet burst onto the scene with 2006's A Whale of a Cow CD. Written and recorded within one week of the band's formation, it was a clarion call to anyone within earshot that The Wet Secrets had arrived.

2007 saw the release of the fuzzed-up Rock Fantasy full-length. CBC Radio 3's fervent support of the track "Secret March" landed the song at the #2 slot on the national CBC charts, won the band a Bucky, and brought on international acclaim. Festival touring soon followed, including mandatory stops at Austin's SXSW and CMJ in New York, and the band played the opening slot at Edmonton's inaugural Sonic Boom festival.

Grant Lawrence of CBC Radio 3 named "Secret March" one of the "Top 20 Songs of the 2000s".

Free Candy is the long-awaited third album from Edmonton's dapper pop primates. After a four-year hiatus spent focusing on other projects (Bell with Shout Out Out Out Out and Anderson with Dirt City Films), the band has reconvened and crafted a deceptively sunny new album, to be released independently on February 4, 2014.

Free Candy marks a dramatic leap forward for the band in both songwriting and attitude. With the addition of local psych-pop wizard Paul Arnusch (Faunts/Whitsundays) and wunderkind Emma Frazier, The Wet Secrets have returned determined to seize the brass ring and stomp the world in the face/balls. (Figuratively/literally). This new resolve now comes with a more pensive pen, eschewing tongue-in-cheek ribaldry for a well conceived quasi-concept album about death, disappointment, and doin' it. Material with more gravitas perhaps, but still smartly dressed in the frantic pop trappings of The Wet Secrets.

Band Members