“Our perspective on everything shifted within a couple of months,” Andrew Stockdale tells Apple Music of Wolfmother’s rise to fame. “I was sleeping in a sort of abandoned warehouse for $60 a month rent.” The singer was working in Sydney as a photographer at the time, picking up other odd jobs here and there. Music was a part-time thing—he didn’t even own his own electric guitar, he had to borrow one. They got signed with only four songs to their name. “But we were getting all these gigs, we were getting on the radio,” he says. It didn’t take much time at all before audiences fell in love with their heavy ’70s throwback sound, and they were quickly shipped overseas to record before becoming radio, soundtrack, and festival favorites throughout the mid-2000s. “I couldn’t fathom why anyone would fly us to LA to record us in these incredible studios,” he says. “It was a steep learning curve from living in a squat, essentially, to being in the best studios in the world, with one of the best producers. I mean, Dave Sardy would come and see us from 12 until 3. And then from 3 until 6, he was mixing The Rolling Stones.” Below, Stockdale talks through each track on Wolfmother’s star-making self-titled 2005 debut. Dimension “That was [written] while I was in the squat. Have you ever thought about how many people you know? Your good friends? I tried—I wrote it down—and it sort of confronted me. There was something about it. I just thought, ‘Fuck my old life. Fuck everything. I'm moving forward.’ That's how I felt. And that's why I wrote, ‘I fell down in the desert/I had nothing but a piece of paper/I had to write something down and I found myself alone/Then I let go of everything into another dimension.’ I was in a pretty crappy situation—when you have nothing. I was just like, ‘Fuck it, I'm moving forward. I don't give a shit.’” White Unicorn “Some of these songs are about 10 collective experiences just shoved into one box for no apparent reason. I visited my parents, who were staying at this house on the Gold Coast, and the room I was staying in had a copy of the Bible in it. I was reading the thing about Adam and Eve, and someone had circled ‘serpent’ and written ‘Satan.’ So the line ‘We drank from the serpent's vine’ came from that, because I thought, ‘We've been doing all this bad shit. Let's try and clean the slate and move forward.’ And then I was watching a John Galliano documentary, and there was a bit where he had a white unicorn on across a model's shoulder.” Woman “It’s how we found our sound. Once we had ‘Woman,’ it was like, ‘Let's elaborate on that. Let's write 13 songs like that.’ It took me a full decade to fully realize the song. I had that riff when I was about 18; it was a shoegaze-type riff, a different tempo. Then I asked Chris [Ross, bassist] if I could record a song at his studio in inner Sydney. I came up with ‘Woman’ on the spot—but it was written like a sort of funk song. That was about 1999. I never did anything with it until 2003 or 2004, when I took the chords from the shoegaze song and the melody from this funky version of ‘Woman’ and just put them together. It worked. Then Chris and Myles [Heskett, drummer] would come into my squat thing and we’d play, and another month later we added this kind of Rage Against the Machine section. Then Chris came in the next day with the organ solo.” Where Eagles Have Been “By this point, we’d been signed, and I was no longer in the squat. I was in an apartment. We rented a house and tried to write some more stuff to have an album's worth of songs. I had the verse and chorus of ‘Where Eagles Have Been.’ I think we played it for about a week, but in all honesty we didn't really know what to do with it. We held on to it for another six months until we went to LA and recorded it with Dave Sardy. Back then we actually spent a month playing the entire record from 12 to 12, six days a week. We would just play each song for 12 hours a day for three days.” Apple Tree “When we got signed, we bought a mixing console and a bunch of mics, a proper program. I hadn’t owned an electric guitar, so I was just experimenting with how to make it work, how to make it exciting. I bought a few pedals and did this octave warping effect on the chorus. With the lyrics, I was literally testing the microphone, doing a sound check. Then I thought, 'That's probably not going to cut it for lyrics,' so I reverted to the biblical stuff, the apple tree.” Joker and the Thief “All of our stuff had a rollicking groove, so I thought, ‘What if I do something that's sharp and jolting?’ I played it to the guys—this was maybe within two or three weeks of touring in Australia. We'd try the song at these shows and notice a mosh would break out, people would start going nuts. So we made it the next single after ‘Love Train.’ Then I remember being at the airport, we were flying to London to induct Led Zeppelin in the UK Music Hall of Fame. And our manager goes, ‘Congratulations. You got your first top 10 hit.’ Then Shrek [the Third] used it, then The Hangover. Then it just snowballed. It just turned into an avalanche.” Colossal “There was a story in the paper about Lynndie England—those photos of her with all those inmates [in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq] piled up. I wrote the song about seeing something so shocking and barbaric in the news, and you just can’t relate to it. You’re just like, ‘What kind of world do we live in?’ You can't fathom some things that go on like that. You're faced with it, but you just kind of put one foot in front of the next and live your life.” Mind's Eye “I had a book called Opening the Mind's Eye, about redesigning the way that you look at things outside of language and words. So, you pick up an object—like, I’m picking up a clamp right now, looking at it and going, ‘That's not a clamp. What is it? It's a piece of metal shaped, covered in plastic.’ You just try to transcend, to think beyond words and see objects and situations as living beings. I was just experimenting with that kind of thinking.” Pyramid “That one just came out of me not doing anything—I was just joining in on the jam that the others were having. I’d gone across the road to get some drinks for the band. And when I came up the stairs, I heard Chris singing this riff. I was like, ‘Man, that's cool. Keep doing that.’ I don't even know what the hell the lyrics are about, it’s just me talking gibberish.” Witchcraft “We'd been in LA for three months. I was getting a massage from this chick who was wearing all these bangles and shit. And I thought, ‘Fuck. This chick’s got some crazy energy, man. She feels like I should watch myself around her. There's something more to this individual than meets the eye.’ I was like, ‘Fucking hell, I won't be coming back here again.’ No, she was pretty nice. But that's what that song's about.” Tales “We were staying at The Oaks in Burbank [California]. I was experimenting with writing Bowie-esque songs, I was listening to Diamond Dogs. I really wanted to make songs that sounded like a rock musical. And yeah, I've actually still got the guitar that I wrote that song on. I bought it on Sunset Boulevard.” Love Train “We were jamming at 6 or 7 in the morning in Chris’ studio and I was climbing up around the studio with the microphone, yelling all this random crap. It was just a muck-around party song that we left for maybe two, three, four years. Then Chris asked about it, and I was like, ‘Man, that's not Wolfmother, dude, it’s not rock ’n’ roll.’ But then we spent about three days, 12 hours a day, playing that song, and we got it to the arrangement that we have now. We were going to drop it off the record, but then it got used for an iPod campaign. So we put it back on.” Vagabond “It’s essentially about walking around and doing nothing, which was one of my favorite pastimes before the band took off. When people go, ‘What are you doing today?’ I’d just be like, ‘I don't know. Nothing. Walking around. Getting coffees. Chilling.’ I'd always had part-time jobs that lasted like a few days or weeks. I like having no schedule. I like having spontaneity in my life, which I'm sure most people do. So it’s just about enjoying life and not being bound up in some schedule.”

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