The music industry was different in the 1990s. Rock ’n’ roll ruled the roost. Spotify had yet to be invented. It was during this golden age — somewhere between Bill Clinton’s inauguration and the start of the New Millennium — that a rock band named Wanderlust made its stand.
Wanderlust felt like a timeless band for the modern world, its songs rooted in electric guitars, classic pop hooks, percussive stomp, and the shared chemistry of four friends — front man and principle songwriter Scot Sax, guitarist Rob Bonfiglio, bassist Mark Getten, and drummer Jim Cavanaugh — who’d finally gotten their shot at the brass ring. Decades after inking a major-label contract with RCA Records, opening for The Who, and touring America with Collective Soul, Wanderlust has reconvened to finish some unfinished business with 2021’s All A View, available on July 2, 2021.
To understand Wanderlust’s present, it helps to look at the band’s past. The group formed in Philadelphia in 1993, signed a record deal in 1994, and released the debut album Prize in 1995. Championed by publications like The Sunday London Times (“Wanderlust’s album Prize is one of the greatest rock albums ever made”) and MOJO (“power pop at its best”), Wanderlust burned brightly and briefly. Dropped from RCA before they could finish their second album, the musicians released a self-titled record in 1998 and soon went their separate ways. Sax established himself as a hit songwriter, solo artist, and sought-after filmmaker during the 21st century, co-writing the Grammy-winning “Like We Never Loved At All” for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw and serving as the hand-picked opening act for Robert Plant and Allison Krauss’ Raising Sand tour. Meanwhile, Bonfiglio released a half-dozen solo albums, performed with the Beach Boys, produced an album for Wilson Phillips, and landed an ongoing spot in Brian Wilson’s band.
Recently, in 2020, Sax came across a DAT tape featuring acoustic recordings of songs he’d written after Prize’s release. These demos felt like a time capsule — a blast from the past, dreamt into existence during the band’s heyday and filled with the same sonic spirit that had once earned Wanderlust admittance into the big leagues. The songs would’ve made a great Wanderlust album … which is why Sax decided to get the band back together and finish the work he’d already started.
“I feel like a young Cameron Crowe, with a story about a band that fell victim to its own insecurities in the bright lights — and with the big wigs — of the music business, circa 1995,” he says. “Now, the same four guys find an old cassette of songs never recorded, long forgotten in their fall from grace. So what do they do? They put on their big-boy pants and make the album that never was.”
That album is All A View, and it bridges the gap between Wanderlust’s past and present. Sax’s original demos represent the record’s bedrock, with most of his performances from 1996 remaining intact. Nearly 25 years after he laid down his vocals and acoustic guitar, a reunited Wanderlust began turning those bare-boned recordings into full-blown rock anthems, with each bandmate overdubbing his contributions from home during the 2020 pandemic. Sax wrote new songs for the project, too, including several collaborations with Rob Bonfiglio. The album was then mixed in Philadelphia, the same city that Wanderlust once called home.
“What began as a revisitation of older material became a kind of snapshot of our musical journeys in the present tense,” explains Bonfiglio.
Removed from the forces that drove the band apart — including conflicts between bandmates, pressure from their record label, and the collective desperation of four 20somethings to succeed — Wanderlust’s members have rediscovered the singular sound that turned them into radio darlings and cult favorites during the mid-’90s.
“We’re all grown up now,” Sax says. “It’s so great to reconnect once again, after the dust settled. I’ve been in all kinds of bands, but when the four of us played together for the first time in 1993, something special happened. It’s exactly the same feeling we got when we started working on All A View. The four of us just have a connection. We’ll play a song, and it just sounds like Wanderlust. It’s been amazing to let go of the ego and paranoia I had as a younger person, and just realize how great this band is.”