Travel Profile: Chris “X-13” Higgins of WANK
By Royal Thomas II | Published on November 6, 2018
Travel Profile: Chris “X-13” Higgins of WANK
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Featuring founding members Bobby Amodeo, Spider, Danny Walker and the new addition of Chris “X-13” Higgins (formerly of The Offspring), WANK originally formed in 1995 in Huntington Beach, California. Mixing pop sensibility, rock chops and punk energy, the band quickly gained momentum and garnered a reputation for themselves with melodic songs and highly entertaining live shows. Now back after an extended hiatus, have a listen to their latest single, “Shut You Down,” embedded below.

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Royal Thomas II: To start off with what really stands out and makes your hometown special to you? I know you’re from Orange County, where would you send a first-time visitor to get like a real sense of the area?

Chris “X-13” Higgins: Most of us live right here in the city of Orange, which kind of has a small-town life in the midst of crazy Orange County. We have a little traffic circle in the middle of the city, and apparently, since Disneyland is real nearby here, that’s why they have a circle in the middle of Disneyland that that leads you out to the different lands. Walt used to come down here when they were getting that stuff going and said, “You know what? I’m going to make one of those in Disneyland too.”

Travel Profile: Chris "X-13" Higgins of WANK© Herson Rodriguez

The downtown area of our city kind of has a cool, small-town vibe. It’s got antique shops and a couple of Starbucks, but not a lot of corporate shops. It’s more smaller [businesses] I don’t think they allow McDonald’s and stuff like that down there. There’s some restaurants that are kind of corporate, but it’s got a cool vibe. The downtown of our little tiny city of Orange is kind of cool. That’s one of the things that I realize while we’re touring a whole bunch; we have it good where we live.

RT: Sounds like a great place to live. What about the bigger landscape of Orange County?

CH: Orange County is still pretty mellow compared [Los Angeles]. There’s a definite difference. Most of Orange County is just mellow and chill. Santa Ana’s right next door [to me] and that’s where the county court and all that stuff is. They have this street fair downtown every year and people like to gather there. It’s almost like a high school reunion.

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RT: That’s cool! Now, what was your first, real exposure to music? How were you inspired to create your own and then actually stick with it as a career?

CH: I guess the first thing that always comes to mind is the Jackson 5. Somehow I ended up with a Jackson 5 greatest hits album when I was a little guy, probably pretty young like six, seven or maybe eight years old. I don’t know why, but I remember that. I must have asked for it. Then somebody gave me a little toy plastic guitar. I can still picture it. It was cream colored with this weird minty-green colored plastic. I would rock out in my room to those greatest hits. I don’t know if I realized at the time that I could do that as a career. I think most of my teenage life I kind of thought it wasn’t really a reality. It’s just something that happens to other people. But, at a certain age I realized that if I just stick with it I can do something with it. It just ended up working out.

Travel Profile: Chris "X-13" Higgins of WANK© Adel Gordon

RT: The guitar was your first instrument?

CH: I think when I first started playing with guys in high school I started on keyboard and I took a little bit of lessons, nothing real serious, then moved to guitar pretty quickly and just learned. I did do lessons at some point, but most of it was just friends showing me the chords. Again, I had dabbled in keyboards and piano, but then guitar was the first one that I really [got excited about]. I just started practicing every day until I got it, because I just had a fever for it.

RT: Got it. So, creating music and traveling to promoting it must be such a feeling. What’s the most impactful and meaningful part that you cherish about it? Does the travel help inspirationally when it comes to creating?

CH: When The Offspring band first took off, it was like a dream come true. I don’t know if creatively it was inspiring. Maybe it was life-goals wise. We were in other bands coming up and it wasn’t super glamorous, but it was still super fun. I never really thought of the actual traveling part being creatively inspiring, but as time went on we tried to make more time for tourist attractions and sightseeing. That does become inspiring, because we started to experience other cultures or cities. You could just get caught up in the rock and roll and partying, leaving it at that if you wanted to. But. I think it takes an effort to find it inspiring and to make time to do it.

Travel Profile: Chris "X-13" Higgins of WANK

RT: That makes sense. After the band’s 20-year hiatus, you’re back with an album titled “White Knuckle Ride” coming out later this year. Talk about linking up with the guys.

CH: It’s cool! So, over 20 years ago the guys hit me up and asked me to play guitar with them, but I was already busy with The Offspring. I was doing the Offspring stuff for over 10 years and eventually decided to move on from that. That’s been a little more than a few months, maybe over a year ago. I had also played in a band with the lead singer, Bobby, for a couple years too. The WANK guys all just wanted to play some music together and they were said, “You know, let’s do this again.”

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Danny had some songs written and they were trying to do the as a three-piece, but Danny was just getting sick of trying to play rhythm and lead guitar at the same time. The cool thing was, when Bobby called me he told me that Danny said, “Just call Chris Higgins and see if he might be interested in playing with us.” In hindsight it was pretty cool that there was only one person that they were going to ask, and they just asked me.

RT: What were some of your thought processes behind crafting the album and putting the songs together?

CH: There were a bunch of songs kind of ready when I came in, but I was lucky enough to work on the last three or four of them. I like a lot of them. They’re all just aggressive, but they’re really just good, solid, pop music. That’s one of the things that we have in common, we just have a love for catchy-fun songs. The ones that kind of gets stuck in your head.

RT: And, speaking of new music, you guys recently released your single, “Shut You Down,” on September 5th. What’s been the reception to that?

CH: It’s a little hard to tell. We’re working with our publicist, so he’s getting it out there. People seem interested, but it’s hard to really tell right now. It’s more aggressive and fits into that ska-punk mold. So, it’s for that type of person that loves those genres. I do think people really like the song. Everybody that’s watched the video says something along the lines of, “Wow! Great job. The video looks good. You guys look cool.” People seem to really like the song. It’s really hard to tell, because we don’t have any people like the Rolling Stones or [major outlets] talking about it yet. There’s a little bit of a buzz in our local community. We just want to keep pushing it and see if we can get into a place where people are funding the band, so we can go out and do shows. I don’t know what exactly we’re hoping to achieve, I just know we want to be able to bring back shows where people are impressed and entertained. It’s fun for us and it brings a lot of fulfillment.

RT: What are three different travel destinations that you still want to go to? Where would they be?

CH: I don’t really have a bucket list of places where I really want to go to, but Tahiti sounds like a cool one. Fiji would be kind of cool too. I’d really like to go back to Tokyo with my son and wife, because it’s just fun there. It’s just so different in Japan.

Travel Profile: Chris "X-13" Higgins of WANK© Brannon Niato

RT: Of the places that you’ve been to, where would you say is the most beautiful location you’ve had a gig at?

CH: That’s tough! I really think Australia is beautiful, but it’s not that much different from California. Hawaii is also obviously beautiful, but it’s also not that much different either. I guess we’ve been to enough “beachy” places that are beautiful, but they all kind of seem pretty similar. A place I liked, maybe not so much for its beauty, but in just a breathtaking and different sense, was going to Moscow. There’s just something about the clouds in the sky. They are different there. There’s something interesting about the European-meets-Asian strangeness of Moscow and Russia.

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RT: So, when you’re traveling and have some downtime are you listening to music? Do you like to switch up the genres?

CH: Yeah, when I’m traveling all the time I don’t think I listen to music all that much. I’ve always been one that kind of has my favorite records and listens to the same things all the time. Back in The Offspring days, I think my mainstays were the Sex Pistols, the Damned and Devo – stuff like that. Especially during the 90’s and 2000’s there wasn’t really any brand new music that I had to listen to. Some that I did were friends, like the Lunachicks, AFI and Vandal. I’d end up grabbing their CD and listening to it to see what they sound like on the album compared to what they did playing at the shows. I’m just listening to the same old stuff. I don’t remember it ever being a priority to be the guy that’s trying to keep up on the trends and listen to the brand new stuff. It’s never been my thing. I tend to more towards the late 70’s-early 80’s stuff. It’s when I was at that age where you fall in love with certain types of music.

Travel Profile: Chris "X-13" Higgins of WANK© Nikita Karimov

RT: Lastly, what else do the next few months have in store for you ?

CH: We’re. excited, because we’re doing this tiny, tiny place right by Disneyland called the Doll Hut. It’s kind of known as being the “CBGB’s of Orange County.” So, we’re going to do two nights there with various bands from around here. It will be nice, full and kind of crazy, so it’s kind of cool to do that. That’s coming up just about a month away in the middle of November. Then, beyond that, we’re just trying to to book other shows. What I’m really trying to work on is to get some shows with other bands that are up-and-coming. We’re planning on releasing that album in some way which like I said it was still kind of navigating and we did get a recorder song with her friend Chris Shiflett from the Foo Fighters. So, we’re trying to think of that right now. We’re trying to decide what to do to get people interested.

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For more on Chris “X-13” Higgins of WANK visit their website:

Travel Profile: Chris "X-13" Higgins of WANK

About The Writer
Royal Thomas II

By: Royal Thomas II | Published on November 6, 2018

   
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