The indie rock/progressive band Wook, based out of Madison, is planning to host a benefit concert at the Majestic Theatre to spread awareness about lung cancer in the Madison community.
Conceived among school friends in Madison, Wook began as a hobby between like-minded students.
“The founding three members went to high school together,” said bassist Mike Kuerschner. “We played in various bands on and off, went to college, and started getting a little more serious about it.”
Wook kicked into high gear in 2008, when things started getting a bit more professional. “That’s when we really started to play more shows and doing things in Madison,” Kuerschner recalled.
The upcoming concert, to be held in partnership with the American Lung Association, was the brainchild of Kuerschner, who had lost a close family member earlier this year after suffering from cancer.
“Little over two months ago, my mother passed away from lung cancer,” Kuerschner said. “I was toying with the idea [of hosting a benefit concert] since everything came about.”
His family played a major role in getting the concert to happen. “My sister is involved with the American Lung Association,” Kuerschner said. “They’re very supportive of my family. I wanted to do something to give back to them.”
Once they started planning, everything fell into place easier than expected. “It moved quickly because the venue was instantly ready to do it, and we didn’t have to wait on a lot of back-and-forth deals,” Adam Lowe, guitarist and vocalist for Wook said. It also helped that Kuerschner was on close terms with the owner of the Majestic. “I worked for the Majestic for a while in college,” he said. “I brought the idea to them, and they were nice enough to fit us into the schedule.”
From conception to reality, the cancer benefit concert took less than two months to organize. “It really worked out,” Kuerschner said. “Everyone was supportive, everything fit, and that’s not typically the case.”
“We’re really excited to give back to an organization that’s trying to do great things and raise awareness,” he said. “But at the same time, we’re looking to have a good time like always.”
Although this is the first concert of its kind for Wook, the band prides itself on flexibility and ability to improvise, according to Kuerschner. “In the most broad sense, we’re a jam band,” he explained. “We do a lot of live improvisations on stage, and our songs are longer.”
Wook’s music is often inspired from modern genres, Kuerschner revealed. “We really take a lot of influence from progressive rock and electronic music, including our use of laptops and synthesizers on stage.”
These unique traits are best demonstrated in “Galaxy”, one of their most popular songs, Lowe said. He counts the track as one of their favorites to play on stage. “It has a lot of progressive sections, traditional rock, and even some spots for improv,” Lowe said. “It’s definitely a fan favorite, and captures almost every flavor we have.”
The four-member troupe — other than Kuerschner and Lowe, Wook includes Jake Stottler on the guitar and synth, and Andrew Stark on the drums — is planning to release their first full studio album in the next few months. “We got the album planned out, and we know the songs we want to do,” Lowe said. “We just have to go in and record it.”
Although the band is still quite small — only a little more than 2,000 likes on their Facebook page — the members are confident that they can grow bigger. “We’re not really worried,” Lowe said. “We don’t pay too much attention to things like a Facebook page.”
“We focus more on if it is going up and growing at a good rate, rather than the actual numbers,” Kuerschner added. “We think this is a good time in our career.”
“We need to keep playing,” Lowe said. “Stay at it. That’s what drives us.”
The benefit concert will be held at the Majestic Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 9:30 p.m.. Although the venue is free to enter, there is a suggested donation of $8. More information can be found at the Majestic Theatre’s official page at majesticmadison.com.