Whild Peach guitarist David Whild wasn't quite sure what the band was doing in Bozeman, Mont. "We're further and further from home everyday," he said when I called him at a Bozeman motel. Home is Atlanta, Ga., and has been since Whild and his musical partner Peach moved there from Dallas in 1994. "The thing we did in Dallas, we were called Deep Elem, it was an original thing with our own songs, just totally alternative anything. At that time there was nobody doing what we was doing and we ran into a lot of resistance, people who didn't understand a black band playing this alternative rock funk kind of thing. It was funky, but didn't fit any certain category."
Whatever it was, someone at Capital Records liked it and the label brought the band to Georgia -- unfortunately the deal went south before there was a record in the can. "They had some changes, staff shakeups," said Whild, "so we got out of our deal, but we stayed in Atlanta."
The timing was right. While West Coast and East Coast hip hop factions still ruled, the dirty south was on the rise and Atlanta was at the heart of things, with producers cranking out hits. "We started playing around town and evolved more toward hip hop, and people started asking us to do sessions and that kind of thing. That's how we hooked up with Organized Noize and The Dungeon Family, then Goodie Mob and Outkast. We ended up playing on their records, writing with them and singing and touring. Once Outkast started going on tours and doing all these TV shows and going around the world, that took up two years at least, so we didn't do anything as Whild Peach for a while."
Whild and Peach worked with André Benjamin (aka Dre) and Antwan "Big Boi" Patton of Outkast from their second album on, a whirlwind period that culminated in the 2004 double-disc, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which sold five million copies and became the first rap album to win a Grammy as Album of the Year. It also marked a transition point for Outkast.
"Once Speakerboxxx/ Love Below came out Dre didn't really want to tour," said Whild, "so we had to do our own thing. That's when we started gigging again. And here we are out on the road."
The road brings Whild Peach to Eureka this Thursday, June 14, to play some "slunkymusic" at Red Fox Tavern. If soul/funk/rock is what you're into, you should check it.