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The Wallflowers Biography

Home > Music > W > Wallflowers, The > Biography

Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, United States
Years Active: 1989 – Present
Genres: Rock, Roots Rock, Alternative Rock

The Wallflowers is a rock band from Los Angeles, California, fronted by Jakob Dylan. Formed in 1989 and originally known as The Apples, the ensemble has gone through numerous personnel changes with Dylan the only constant.

Their self-titled debut album was released in 1992 on the Virgin Records label. The original members of the Wallflowers included Dylan (vocals and guitar), Barrie Maguire (bass guitar and vocals), Peter Yanowitz (drums and percussion), Rami Jaffee (keyboards and vocals), and Tobi Miller (guitar). Peter Yanowitz and Barrie Maguire left the band shortly after the album's release and went on to join Natalie Merchant's band.

The band stayed quiet for a few years but stormed back on the scene with their 4x platinum 1996 release, “Bringing Down the Horse,” which comprised such hits as “6th Avenue Heartache” “One Headlight,” “The Difference” and “Three Marlenas.” The band switched record labels, from Virgin to Interscope and Dylan was joined by Rami Jaffee and Tobi Miller from the original lineup. Michael Ward (guitar), Mario Calire (drums and percussion) and Greg Richling (bass guitar and vocals) rounded out the other members of the band featured on the recordings. “One Headlight” peaked at #2 and “6th Avenue Heartache” peaked at #33 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart. The album went to #4 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. At the Grammy Awards of 1998, The Wallflowers walked away with two Grammys, for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “One Headlight” and Jakob Dylan was awarded Best Rock Song for writing “One Headlight.”

After almost four years, the Wallflowers continued work on their next album, “(Breach),” released in October 2000. The first single was “Sleepwalker,” the video of which poked fun at Dylan's rock star status following the success of “Bringing Down the Horse.” “Sleepwalker” was followed by "Letters From the Wasteland.” Guests on the album included Elvis Costello, who lent vocals to “Murder 101.” “(Breach)” peaked at #13 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold.

Guitarist Michael Ward left the band following the album’s tour, citing creative differences. The band has officially been a 4-piece ever since.

In November 2002, The Wallflowers released their fourth studio album, “Red Letter Days,” which peaked at #32 on the Billboard 200. This was the first Wallflowers record that featured Dylan playing a majority of the lead guitar parts. The album had a much more aggressive sound than any of their previous releases, especially the song “Everybody Out of the Water.” The first single and only music video shot was for “When You're On Top.” The single was a smash hit on AAA radio stations, but received little mainstream attention. Subsequent singles from the album included “Closer to You” and “How Good It Can Get” which received radio airplay across multiple formats. Some versions of the album featured an in-studio cover of the Nick Lowe song “(What's So Funny About) Peace Love and Understanding.”

The band's fifth album, “Rebel, Sweetheart” was released in May 2005. The two singles released from the album were “The Beautiful Side of Somewhere” and “God Says Nothing Back.” “The Beautiful Side of Somewhere” hit #5 on AAA radio stations.

The Wallflowers parted ways with Interscope in 2006. Dylan recorded a couple of solo songs in 2006, including “Here Comes Now,” which was featured prominently in the television show “Six Degrees.”

In August 2007, The Wallflowers announced that they would be touring for the first time in two years. In a late 2007 post on the band's website it was revealed that keyboardist Rami Jaffee left the band.