You’d be amazed just how many rock stars were teachers, as Carlos Wilde still is, and has been for years now. Queen’s Brian May taught math(s) and science; Mark Knopfler taught English, as did fellow Geordie, Sting.
Sheryl Crow and Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie were music teachers. Gene Simmons of Kiss taught sixth grade and Brian Ferry (another Geordie) taught art. And they’re just the ones I can think of. As for Carlos, he says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Other rock stars started teaching after their time of ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ music stardom ended.
The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, for example, went on to teach a music degree in Manchester’s Salford University. Nine Inch Nails’ Chris Vrenna is a professor, teaching music technology at Calhoun, Alabama, while The Velvet Underground’s Sterling Morrison became a teaching assistant in medieval English at the University of Texas. Wow. Verily impressed am I. Ye get my drift.
On the subject of drifting, let’s move to the wild Atlantic coast, to Galicia, on Spain’s north-western shoulder. Here, the Portuguese rock musician, Carlos Wilde, teaches English by day while making music at night (or whenever his day job permits). Yes, that’s Carlos of the crunching blues-rock-based guitar riffs and melodic song-lines, whom I’ve talked about before on these pages.
Here’s an example of those melodic song-lines from one of Carlos Wilde’s earlier releases, below.
With his latest EP, ‘Problem Solving’, Carlos has ramped up his guitar riffs even more than usual, inspired, it seems, by the punk rock of his teenage years. There are five new tracks, each sounding how punk might sound today, had its ‘do-it-yourself’ protagonists spent the last few decades honing their craft, as Carlos has.
In other words, ‘Problem Solving’ features five new tracks, each sounding like polished high-end rock ‘n’ roll – the kind of rock the punk guitarists were trying to emulate with their rough-and-ready riffs all those years ago.
The precision and tightness of Carlos’s latest intertwining, fast-paced guitar riffs make these tracks appear angrier than those he’s previously produced. His vocals are more hard-edged but hard rock lovers will love that. Why not check out ‘Different Roads’ from the new EP below.
And get a taste of more new Carlos Wilde tracks below.
So, where do they come from, these rocking guitar riffs running through Carlos Wilde recordings like well-oiled machinery? Carlos says he has a host of influences. Growing up in Portugal, he listened to limitless rock, blues and jazz, absorbing everyone from AC/DC and Jethro Tull to blues legend Lightnin’ Hopkins.
His jazz influences included John Coltrane, Chick Corea and French violinist, Jean Luc Ponty, who’s worked with Frank Zappa and John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra.
Still a teenager, Carlos Wilde took his influences to Holland, where he was living when punk hit the music world like a medieval mace – the spiked metal ball variety, of course. Carlos not only imbibed in the Sex Pistols, Stranglers, Ramones, Boomtown Rats, Dead Kennedys and Buzzcocks, he also soaked up Dutch sounds.
“I loved Dutch punk as well, like Ivy Green (the Pistols of Holland) and Flying Spiderz,” he said, “although the one that I followed and enjoyed most in Holland was not punk. His name was Herman Brood, often called ‘the greatest and only Dutch rock ‘n’ roll star’. I saw Herman live several times.”
Introducing Herman Brood.
Always wanting to know about rockers I haven’t heard of, I checked out Herman Brood on Wikepedia. “As a musician he achieved artistic and commercial success in the 1970s and 1980s”, the site said.
“Later in life he started a successful career as a painter. Known for his hedonistic lifestyle of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”, Brood was an enfant terrible and a cultural figure whose suicide by jumping from a hotel roof, apparently influenced by a failure to kick his drug and alcohol habit”. Born in 1946, Herman Brood died in 2001.
“In those days if we wanted to listen to English, American or Australian bands in Portugal we had to import their records, which were prohibitively expensive,” Carlos said. “So people with good LP collections were in great demand.”
From teaching Portuguese kids about rock and punk through his guitar and records, Carlos headed north across the Atlantic to Ireland to study to become a teacher.
“I had a good teacher, Half devil, half preacher” – Lynyrd Skynyrd.
I wish I had good teachers, like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s. At my school in the dark ages we used to get six-of-the-best (as they used to call it) on our arses (asses), often for just talking in class. Oh, to have had a teacher like Carlos.
“I enjoy teaching because it allows me to explore my creative vein in the world of education,” he said. “I like to think I am an unorthodox but very effective teacher. I bring fun to learning and prefer to be like my students’ older brother or friend. That way, I work closer with them and get excellent results.
“Game-based learning and collaborative learning are some of the methods I use. But one thing I never, never neglect is individualized learning. One must never forget that students learn at their own pace, otherwise we have a recipe for disaster.
“We prepare students to sit English Cambridge Exams (also known as ESOL – English for Speakers of Other Languages) and we have an EXCELLENT 95 percent pass rate from Lower Intermediate level to Proficiency. Not many can claim that, even if I say so myself.”
Carlos Wilde lived in Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s, teaching ESOL in Dublin and lecturing on Teacher Training Courses throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland. In rock circles, he mixed with Thin Lizzy, Hothouse Flowers and U2, described in ‘his own words’ in an earlier feature on Carlos, available below:
As for future plans, Carlos Wilde says he takes it one day at a time. “I am enjoying my teaching and the freedom to write music without worrying about paying bills or putting food on the table. I have a much healthier relationship with my eternal love affair – music.
“What I will do next or where I am going to be – your guess is as good as mine,” he says laughing.
Hopefully, you’ll let me know when it happens, Carlos. So, I can keep your many thousands of fans around the world informed on the next part of your journey.