Local rock favorite Wild Ire heads to California for the world’s largest music trade show

Local Salem band Wild Ire is performing at one of the world’s largest music trade shows next month. (Courtesy/Wild Ire)

In the basement music venue, the Space Concert Club, Wild Ire is setting up for a show on a Thursday night.

The alternative rock band is a local favorite around Salem, but next month the bandmates will be taking their talents to California to perform at the National Association of Music Merchant show, described as the world’s largest trade-only event for music products. Famous musicians attend the yearly event, seen as an opportunity to look at the latest and greatest in music gear.

Wild Ire was one of more than 100 bands chosen to perform at the show.  

When they found out they were selected, “It was like ‘wow, cool,’” said drummer Nick Turner.

Then they went straight into logistics, figuring out how they were going to get to Anaheim.

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The musicians behind Wild Ire have been playing together for five years, a few of them went to high school together. Turner and bass player Taner Jones grew up playing music together and were always aware of other successful local musicians.

“And then now to have our name a part of that, it’s pretty surreal sometimes,” Turner said.

Guitarist Jesse Palmer is the band’s lyricist, and said he draws inspiration from “pure sadness.”

“It’s my way of expressing myself. Otherwise I’m generally pretty happy. But when I sit down with a guitar it’s just, that’s the time for my tears to flow,” Palmer said.

The band points to Maroon 5 as a musical inspiration, while Palmer will also refer to math metal as an interest.

On Spotify the band’s song “Ragtime Gal” – a song about someone who focuses on sadness — has more than 270,000 listens.

Since they got accepted into the show, the bandmates said they’ve had people they’ve never met come up to congratulate them before they’ve even played the gig.

Jones said he keeps hearing: “’You guys are one of the most popular bands in Salem.’ It’s weird being in the band and not seeing it that way. Because there’s so many other bands that I respect myself that I think are equally as good, or even better.”

Turner thinks they were chosen for the NAMM show because they’re a “solid band,” made evident by the amount of listens they have on Spotify and their music videos on YouTube.

That, plus their ability to appeal to people of all ages.

“It’s very palatable music, which is cool because that’s my favorite type of bands, where a band can go through different waves of what they are,” Turner said.

Vocalist Jake Mayes said the band tries to be strategic about when they play in Salem, but “I think we’ve reached the peak of what we can do here, so we’re trying to expand it somewhere else.”

Drummer Turner said they would love to become full-time musicians, but don’t plan on taking a traditional path to get there.

“It seems even though we really want to do the whole normal route, which is get signed and get money and all that cool stuff, that’s the way things don’t work anymore. So, we’ve been trying to carve our own path of how to do it pretty much. Which I think we’ve been doing pretty good so far. A lot of people around the country know our name for some reason,” Turner said.

Wild Ire plays the NAMM Show on Thursday, Jan 16 at 10 a.m. at the Grand Plaza stage. 

Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected] or @daisysaphara.