Mark Wells of Twenty Two Hundred

Mark Wells
A couple of years ago, I was reading an interview with Slash. The interview was nothing groundbreaking, but being a fan, I’m always interested in what Slash has brewing.

In the interview, Slash made a point of mentioning this great new band that would be opening up for him during his tour throughout Asia. The band was Twenty Two Hundred.

Formed in Australia in 2010 by former Ronnie Wood Band member, Mark Wells, Twenty Two Hundred is carrying on the great tradition of Classic Hard Rock and is without question, one of the best Rock & Roll bands in the world today.

Guitarist/Bassist/Writer/Producer (I’ll run out of slashes, this guy does so much) Mark Wells was kind enough to sit down with me for this exclusive interview for InkedAngels.net.

Mark, please introduce yourself to Inked Angels’ readers with a brief background on the history of the band and its members

Mark: The lineup is Tony Cardenas-Montana (vocals), Marcus Kain (guitar/bass/backing vocals), Drew Alig (drums) and myself (Mark Wells) on bass, guitar and backing vocals. Originally, we formed in Melbourne, Australia in 2010, and we were working with a different vocalist back then. We got the opportunity to go on tour with Slash throughout Asia, which is where we met Tony. He was playing for Slash, filling in for Todd Kerns. We noticed Tony’s voice on all the backups to Myles Kennedy, and he blew us away. So we asked him to sing on some demos for the new record. The demos came back sounding so good, we couldn’t find anyone locally who could come close to what he had sung. So we asked Tony to sing on the album, and the rest is history.

Who came up with the name Twenty Two Hundred and what’s the meaning/story behind the name?

Mark: We all came up with it. Twenty Two Hundred is the highest number any of us can count to. We’ve had others suggest there is “one” higher, but we don’t believe them. (haha)

Twenty Two Hundred Carnaval De Vénus

Tell us about the making of what is clearly the best record released in 2013, Carnaval De Vénus?

Mark: We recorded the instruments all old school, through a vintage Neve straight to 48 tracks of 2″ tape. I was producing it and I wouldn’t allow computers to even be switched on during tracking, only for backups at the end of the session. We did this in a week at Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne, Australia. We tracked live as a band for the most part, and overdubbed afterwards. We also did some crazy percussion and some extra guitar solos at Sound Machine Studios in Melbourne. Then we headed over to LA, where we recorded the vocals at Stagg Street Studios. We recorded all the vocals in about 6 days. Andrew Scheps mixed the record at his studio in LA, also through a nice vintage Neve and vintage outboard. It was mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman in Hollywood.

A couple of years ago, TTH released a brilliant EP, Eleven. The songs were intense, blistering hard rock, featuring great musicianship & a memorable cover of a hot chick holding a guitar in flames. Why the delay since then with releasing Carnaval De Vénus, and have there been any changes in the band since?

Mark: The delay was firstly because we were touring the EP, and then things were not working out so great with the singer at the time. So we took a little while to figure out what we were going to do about vocals. The biggest delay was really while various industry folks were buzzing around us as soon as we had finished recording the album. We had just returned to Australia from the States and we were looking at labels. This took a couple of months, and we had to just sit on the record, when we were all dying to release it. But we wanted to release it on the right label. Andrew Scheps, who mixed us, has his own label called Tonequake Records, and this was the one we eventually settled on, as we knew we could work well with that label.

How did you first meet Slash and what was it like touring with Slash, Myles & the band ?

Mark: I first met Slash when I played for the Ronnie Wood Band, back in 2001. Ronnie’s solo band outside the Rolling Stones had many famous guests, and Slash was one of them. He and I got on well, and when I put TTH together, he really dug our music. So he invited us to open for his band.

Slash did request us to open in Australia, but we never ended up doing it. Instead, we toured throughout Asia with him, which was totally rocking. We played Singapore a couple of times, as well as Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. All great countries to play and visit. It was such a great experience touring with those guys. Slash, Myles and the whole band are all really down to earth guys who just love music. Their audiences are also really cool – they really love rock-n-roll.

Slash Mark Wells

What kind of music did you guys listen to while growing up and who are some of your favorites?

Mark: We have a bit of an age span within the band, but we all grew up on the same kind of stuff. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC and lots of great blues artists like Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf, and also great funk artists like James Brown and Parliament Funkadelic. Rage Against The Machine and The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a couple of favourites from the 90s, but most of our favourites are 70s and earlier. Anything blues-based and done well goes down a treat for me, personally.

Australia has a long tradition of cranking out some of the greatest rock-n-roll bands, and there is no question TTH is carrying on the legacy of Cold Chisel, Geordie, AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, to name a few. What is the music scene in Australia currently like?

Mark: You know, Australia is a tough market for Australian bands. The population is small, and really spread out. The nearest major city from any other major city is at least a day’s drive away. So bands end up being localised to just one city, and there’s only so many times you can play the same venues. It costs a hell of a lot of money to tour here, given the vast distances, and most bands just can’t do it. I think the scene that AC/DC came up in is long gone. That was the heyday, but it was the late 70s and early 80s. Things have really changed since then. But there are still a lot of really good bands here, and a lot of people who love rock-n-roll. I don’t think that will ever change!

Any plans to tour America in the near future?

Mark: Yes, definitely! We had such a great time playing in the US. We are coming back later this year. Sometime around September/October and we hope to play a bunch of cities and states on this trip. Can’t wait!

What’s up next for TTH?

Mark: We are making some music videos right now, and I’m always writing. I don’t think there will be a shortage for the next record, but first we want to tour Carnaval De Vénus and play live to as many of our fans as we can reach. If we had the budget, we’d be touring the entire world right now!

What is the best way for fans to stay up-to-date on what’s going on with TTH?

Mark: Facebook is the best way to stay up-to-date with us, but our new website is coming soon, for those who don’t use Facebook. You can find us on www.facebook.com/twentytwohundred, www.twitter/22hundred, www.youtube.com/TTHofficial, and our website will be at www.twentytwohundred.com. Our label (where you can purchase our cd and get the latest TTH news) is www.tonequake.com.

Anything else you would like to add?

Mark: Just a big thank you to our fans out there. We love you guys. Also thank you to you guys at Inked Angels!

Carnaval De Vénus Review: Run, don’t walk to buy this album, and while you’re at it, pick up Twenty Two Hundred’s EP, Eleven.

Buy, if you dig: Led Zeppelin, Free, Humble Pie, Bad Company, Aerosmith, The Black Crowes.

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