By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Austin Walashek’s friends have called him the “male Taylor Swift.” His penchant for writing about broken hearts and broken relationships has earned him that nickname.
He’s furthering the cause with his band’s single, “Rose.”
“I write a lot about my past girlfriends and relationships,” he says. “It’s about getting closure on one of my girlfriends and accepting we’re not together. I thought she was the one, and it took a really long time to accept we’re not going to get back together.
“The whole song starts off by saying, ‘40 miles down the interstate, 100 miles an hour.’ Literally, she lives 40 miles away. It’s within a reachable distance, but I’m never going to get there.”
Walashek and Wild Giants will play that song and a slew of others 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, November 27, at Amped Coffeehouse in Anthem.
A 2-year-old alt-rock/blues band, Wild Giants features Walashek on vocals with a rotating group of musicians.
“It’s basically a solo project and then I hire musicians to play along with me,” he says. “But 90% of the time it’s the same two or three guys. We play a lot of blues rock-style songs and alternative rock, a lot of ’90s rock.
“I really like doing songs that people wouldn’t expect us to do. I remember once one of the baristas here said we should play ‘Bennie and the Jets’ by Elton John. I said we weren’t going to do that. As the set was progressing, though, it kept sticking in my head. I thought, ‘Screw it. I’ll try it.’ It’s been a staple in our set since then.”
Walashek enjoys challenging himself in terms of original and cover songs. He grew up listening to ’90s rock and grunge. His father’s favorite band is the Eagles. So Walashek counts the Foo Fighters and the Eagles among his favorites.
“I also love Jimi Hendrix,” he says. “He’s one of the best blues players we ever had. I know a lot of people don’t really classify him as blues, but if you listen to his non-mainstream songs, they’re very bluesy.
“I also like the Black Keys. They’re very blues rock.”
As far as Arizona bands, Walashek enjoys Damn the Weather, which he discovered while booking acts for Amped.
Born in San Diego, but raised in New River, the Boulder Creek High School graduate says he plays his songs for his best friend, who figures out they’re mostly about exes.
“He knows my whole life story,” Walashek says with a laugh. “I try to be cryptic. My songs are so personal. This is my way of going through therapy. When I’m writing such personal songs—when the songs aren’t very positive—I don’t want to tell the listener who they’re about. I don’t trash talk.”
Still, he can’t shake the Swift comparison.
“I never thought about it like that,” he says. “But it’s true.”
Wild Giants, 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, November 27, Amped Coffee Company, 3434 W. Anthem Way, Suite 102, Anthem, 480.462.6733, ampedcoffeeco.com, facebook.com/wildgiantsmusic, wildgiantsmusic.com.