This post on Freewill’s facebook page made me go into a frenzy that lasted a couple of days and it made my hands clap in an irregular, spastic manor.
In my weird hardcore fantasy, Turning Point would call Freewill you know just to see what’s shakin’ and then Freewill would say “boys, we’re working on this new hardcore thing where we play it a bit more sensitive – many years from now people will call say that “emo” derived from what we did, and then years ahead of that, people will use the term emo in a fucked up way”.
That is what I’d imagine a conversation between Freewill and Turning Point would be about.
Anyway, that post on facebook made me happy because at that time (four months ago) I did not own a copy of thee holy grail of Wishingwell test pressings – at least it is to me.
Freewill – Sun Return test press 1988. This record only exist as the test press because the actual pressing never happened. It might have been due to the problems Wishingwell had or due to the problems Freewill had with their name.
Like I said, in March I did not yet know about the future vinyl release of Sun Return. I still had that test press as my white whale – and in May I got it for a whopping $405 + shipping. Best money I’ve ever spent.
I was thrilled to know that Freewill is actually attempting to release Sun Return this year, even though I had just thrown $400+ dollars for that test. I think it is thee most underrated hardcore record of the 80s.
I asked Scott Gravois (vocals) and Paul Cranston (guitar) a few questions about Freewill, their problems back in the 80s and what the future held for Freewill.
DR: Hey Scott and Paul. Tell me a bit about which hardcore bands influenced you back in the late 80s?
Scott: Hey Rune, I grew up on bands like Minor Threat, Gorilla Bisquits, Verbal Assault, Black Flag (Keith Morris era), GBH, Channel 3, Dag Nasty, Bad Brains, Youth Brigade and the like.
DR: What was the atmosphere like at shows? How was the intensity?
Scott: My favorite bands at the time were playing at a venue called Fender’s Ballroom in Long Beach, Ca. The atmosphere was incredibly electric, and often times very violent. There were usually several gangs converging at shows, Suicidals, LADS, skinhheads, and the Samoan gangs that ran “security” at the venue. The shows Freewill played were usually set up by ourselves or other friends’ bands and were a lot of fun. These shows were often at impromptu locations such as VFW halls, community centers and rehearsal studios and were attended mostly by friends. I remember attending and playing shows with bands like Uniform Choice, Insted, Wind of Change, Chain of Strength, Against the Wall, Face to Face, Reason to Believe, and the Offspring.
DR: I think a lot of people wondered what exactly happened back in 1988 with that Sun Return LP. The test presses exist, but the record never got pressed.
Paul: Our label Wishingwell had some sort of legal dispute with their distribution. In the process, our material was held in limbo.This is why we later re-tracked it and released it as Stonetelling.
Scott: Wishing Well had a financial falling out with their distributor (Giant) around the time our record was to be released. This more or less led to the demise of Wishing Well.. We were also told that there was another band that had the rights to the name Freewill and that we would have to change our name. After that, we started to experiment with different music styles and our founding member and bass player, Mike, left the band to play guitar in a couple of other projects. I’m not sure which version of the album will get released, we’ll have to take a listen to whatever masters are available and pick the best one.
DR: Are there any reunion talks in the wake of the forthcoming release?
Paul: Yes. we are all excited about getting together soon and Playing old material as well as some new.
DR: That sounds amazing! But, wait, some new? you’re writing new stuff?
Paul: I personally have a lot of material that never saw the light of day with Freewill/Stonetelling.So Yes, hopefully we will track some new songs at some point.
DR: Will you be performing as Freewill or Stonetelling from now on?
Paul: Great question! I am not sure, most likely Freewill because that was the original name with Mike in the band.
DR: So the legal dispute about the name is not relevant anymore perhaps?
Paul: With regards to performing probably not but, we would have to record new material under a different name most likely.
DR: What set the spark for a Freewill resurrection?
Paul: I have been wanting to do it for a few years now and then one day Mike suggested over Facebook that we do it. Everyone agreed at that point.
DR: What do you the members of Freewill do now? Except for bringing freewill back to life!
Scott: As for what we’re doing now, most of us are family men. I have been married for 8 years now and have a five year old son. I work as an audio engineer and still live in So. Cal. I have been playing drums recently in a folk band with some friends. I keep in touch with the other guys a bit on Facebook and would love to hook up and play some shows, hopefully all of our schedules will allow. The short time we were together as a band was a fun time and it would be great to revisit some of that old FW magic.
No further details have yet been revealed regarding a future Freewill release or gig dates.
Be sure to visit their facebook page to find out.