WILDER is a hard rock band out of the midwestern US founded by frontman Carmen Wilder. Though predominantly a singer and bassist, he has been known to play drums, guitars, and keyboards on the records as well. Bandmembers often shift from album to album, sometimes featuring guest players. Seminal members are Bill Bruce (guitar), Brent Frazier (guitar), and James Lee Dillard (percussion) Newly added to the permanent lineup is Jimmy Pitts (keyboards). One notable guest player was A&M Recording Artist Bill Brown, guitarist for the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. He died in a tragic house fire in July, 2004.
Wilder's style is best described as melodic with radio-friendly hooks, but virtuosic playing and complex arrangements often landed their music in the AOR bin. Carmen Wilder's distinct voice and high range gave the music a unique sound that stood apart from many of their contemporaries, and was the common denominator in the exploratory writing that evolved as members were interchanged from project to project. Guitarist Bill Bruce (formerly of HELLION and SHOTGUN MESSIAH) trained with the best at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, learning licks from the likes of Paul Gilbert and Steve Vai. Featured in multiple issues of Guitar Player Magazine, Recording, and Screamer, critics rave "Bill Bruce is one of the best guitarists I've ever heard. The guy can play everything and anything, and he's capable of pulling off every single guitar trick, technique and sound in the book." (Brynn McKenna/Guitar for the Practicing Musician).
Wilder's unfortunate career arc found them releasing their first album at the same time the Seattle sound challenged Metal's dominance of MTV and radio. Most metal acts lost their contracts as audiences looked for a grungier look and sound, just as Wilder acquired their record deal with New Renaissance Records. Two years into the contract, the indie lable folded leaving the band high and dry just as the second album under that label was released. Many in the music media said that if WILDER had released their first international release "Violent Passions" four years earlier than they did, they could have made a much more significant impact in the music scene.
To their credit, WILDER never stopped producing music despite ever changing audiences, and even diversified by becoming producers working on projects in tandem with the likes of Stryper (Robert Sweet), Ricky Nelson's estate, Mickey Gilley, and RUSH (for Darkstar, the (Interactive Movie). Wilder CD's are now very difficult to find, and often sell on eBay for up to $250 per disk due to a sudden and dramatic resurgence in their popularity. Up until 2007 the band has cut seven albums, two "best of" compilations, and four music videos. A new record is in the works, and will be available sometime in 2008. The band is discussing the filming of a DVD Reunion Concert, but nothing has been scheduled at this time. Watch the INFO page for the most current news.