Q: Who are you? Where are you from?
George Wilde: I’m George, I play guitar in the group Sexual thunder I grew up in Chicago in the city on North Side. Right of Morse on the Red Line.
Q: How did you start getting into music and playing it?
A: Chicago had a rich youth music scene. It invests a lot in music. I started out playing in a High School Jazz Band called the Ravinia Jazz Scholars. It was really quality intense instruction with great people teaching like Bobby Broom. I was playing with people like Donnie Trumpet. It was an incredible company. I was the worth musician in my Jazz Group. There were such creative people playing and the music was so complex. I never knew if I wanted to make a career. It is what I’m doing now because its what I’m doing. I never knew it was in my future.
Q: Where did this take place? And what else are you into?
A: Lincoln Park High School. I like to write Journalism stories and take photos and so much other stuff. I’m Passionate about experiencing the world and the telling about those experiences and trying to reveal it.
Q: So how did you end up at Tulane?
A: I visited Tulane and fell in love with the city. The most important thing to me about college was where I was going to spend the next four years. I wanted those four years to be in New Orleans.
Q: What drew you in?
Frenchmen street changed my life. It was different then than it is now. Everything used to happen so organically on Frenchmen. People would just culminate together. It was a community gathering place for locals of NOLA to express themselves musically and artistically. It is still that. But it has changed a lot. It went viral.
Q: When was this?
A: This is around 2010. There used to be an empty lot where Dat Dog is now. The spotted cat on Sunday nights was the place to be. I would go every weekend and take the streetcar at 18th and royal.
Q: What made it so incredible to you?
A: I just didn’t know you could combine these genres and see people rocking out at the club at one in the morning. I thought to myself, I could do this, and I set out to find a way to do this and make it special.
Q: How did you set out to do that?
A: In 2012 I started interning at Preservation Hall. It was my sophomore year of College. Music was everything to me. I wanted to just finish my degree in philosophy and get even more involved than I already was.
Q: When did you graduate? What else occurred that influenced you?
A: I graduated in 2013. So I stayed for the summer in after my sophomore year. I didn’t really have many responsibilities and it was something I took advantage of.
Q: How so?
A: I just set out to pursue every opportunity I could. I was so eager to get a name for myself. I chilled at WWOZ a lot. I learned a lot at Pres Hall and being in NOLA is all about community its really a beautiful thing. I really felt like I had a place and was welcomed. It really felt like a community. I really just fell like anyone who is honest and has integrity and is full of love has a place in NOLA.
Q: So how did the band Start? How did you really get Sexual Thunder going?
A: Well I really want people to know that Sexual Thunder is not just me. It’s a great group of guys. A lot of us didn’t really know a lot about funk but we just picked it up.
Q: Where did y’all play?
A: : We would play at Café Prytania every Carnival. Sexual Thunder really has grown so organically out of a collective effort and energy. It started out as a jam band but our contemporary iteration didn’t really start till 2015. We spent three or four years really sorting everything out.
Q: What changed over those 3-4 years?
A: What changed is we started playing songs. We went from a college funk jam band to a band that plays songs and has a performance. The element of improvisation is still there. The songs are what we are focused on right now though.
Q: What is the current lineup of Sexual Thunder?
A: We have 8 people in the band. And Everyone is writing. And we have a lot of different tastes There are a lot of other projects and it’s really a collective of different people with different backgrounds. I play guitar and sing, We have the Brass Lighting Horne section, that makes up of. Ari Kohn Sax, Cyrus Nabipoor Trumpet, Evan Oberlz on trombone. Then Andriu Yankovski on Keys and Singing. Dillon Frazier on drums and Robert Hinson on bass.
Q: What inspires you guys?
A: Everyone in the band comes from different places. Our drummer is super into metal. We are all into funk, rock, and soul
Q: Who are artist’s you guys like?
A: Innovators such as Prince, P Funk, The Meters, and Contemporary New Orleans Funk World. People I also like are Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Calvin Harris, Ed Sheran, I listen to everything from Justin Timberlake to Anderson Paak, to St Vincent. So much.
Q: What do you guys feel represents those influences?
A: Well I think since we added Synth and electronic drums it’s become a contemporary evolution.
Q: What do you classify y’all as? And What are Yall doing?
A: We are Free Love Future Funk. We put out a record last September and we are working on a new one now.
Q: When is that coming out?
A: we are not rushing it. We are gonna put out a full length, It a very big exciting thing for us. So we have no plans for release. We are working in the studio to get it where we want it. When we get it where we want it you will know.
Q: What else do you do today other than play in the band?
A: Well, I am involved in the Shorty Foundation. I started that four years ago as a service internship with Tulane. I really love it. My goal it to equips the kids with the tools they need to take their passion into a career and lifestyle. We spent our first session answer, “What is a gig? And what do you do when you get a gig? That’s something I think the Kids really need. I don’t think kids in New Orleans marching bands are being taught this.
Q: What do you want people to take away from this interview?
A: I want people to be kind to each other and learn about each other and I think music help do that. My experience is if people wanna see it they will see it. And we have experienced that and people come to our shows and I feel so fortunate every time.
Q: Any last words?
A: I want our music to stand on its own. If u wanna come and if it speaks to you it will. Every show we do I’m blown away by the turnout and that people are coming out and seeing it. I never take for granted that people come.
ALL PHOTOS: Leo Gilbert