Local psych-rockers Wild Wild Wets are going to Mecca. They’re not making a holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia or anything. Instead, the North Park-based six-piece will head to Mecca, Calif., to serve as the only San Diego band at the upcoming Desert Daze Festival on May 2.
Now in its fourth year, the destination festival kicked off as an 11-day, Desert Hot Springs event in 2012. It featured San Diego groups like The Soft Pack, Joy, Tropical Popsicle, Moving Units, and Barbarian.
By 2013, it had been streamlined to a single day, moved to its current location at Sunset Ranch Oasis near the Salton Sea, and mysteriously failed to include a single San Diego act.
It remained that way until Wild Wild Wets founder Mike Turi and original member Taejon Romanik got the call to play this year’s incarnation.
For them, it’s more than just being excited to play alongside the likes of Failure, Warpaint, The Budos Band, and RJD2. The pair are also looking at it from an ambassadorial point of view.
“We do kind of feel like we’re delegates,” Turi told DiscoverSD. “We not only want to represent San Diego, but we also want our contemporaries to come here. You know how it is - a band has one bad show and the next time you see them on tour they go straight from L.A. to Arizona. We’re trying to build the kind of scene where bands feel like they have a home here.”
Turi should know. He’s organized the San Diego Freak Out - a series of showcases that feature both local and national psych-rock bands - since 2013.
And despite the challenges that accompany lineup changes and label shopping shenanigans, Turi and Romanik have kept Wild Wild Wets alive through hard work and the ability to weather a storm.
Rounded out by their best line-up yet (drummer Ryan Hand of Tropical Popsicle, Rocket From The Crypt’s Jason Crane on congas and trumpet, new bassist Yegor Mackey, and longtime visual director John Kelley), Wild Wild Wets seem to be hitting their stride. French label Big Tomato Records is pressing their long-in-the-making January debut, “14th Floor,” on vinyl. And the band already has another full-length, “Prisom,” near completion.
The guys even have six songs from a prospective third album in the can. But for now, their focus is squarely on Desert Daze and continuing to build on their recent momentum.
“We’ve gone through some crazy hoops,” Turi said. “And they’ve all been trying. But it makes ‘right now’ that much sweeter.”
“We’ve definitely seen a lot of speed bumps,” Romanik concurs. “But we’ve fought through all of them. We do everything ourselves, and it takes a toll. But all of that just makes us want to do it even more. And things are really starting to get good.”
Wild Wild Wets play the Desert Daze Festival on May 2. Their set is at 3:05 p.m. on the Moon Stage.
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to firstname.lastname@example.org.