Ted Z and the Wranglers is an Americana band from Orange County, California. The band recently released its new album Southland. By phone Ted Z discussed making the new album, how it compares to the previous album, and what’s next for the band.
Americana Highways: You mentioned how making the new album was different than the previous one. How so?
Ted Z: The last one we did, we drove all the way to Texas and did it in about seven days. We slept there and ate there and came up with 12 songs. It was really packed to get everything done, and we didn’t really polish it. This one we did in our studio in Costa Mesa. We really took our time, making sure we had all the right players and the sound was correct. It took a while. Getting everyone there because everyone’s got different schedules. It certainly wasn’t as quick, but I think the sound is a lot better than the last one.
AH: How do you feel about the new album as compared to the last one?
TZ: It’s 100 times better than the one we made in Texas, Ghost Train. Just the sound quality is much better.
AH: You had different personnel on this record too.
TZ: The last one had a different drum and bass section. Jackson, our lead guitarist, is the only guy that played on the last one too. This is a whole new structure of players. We brought in some guest players. It’s a little rounder and much tighter than the last one.
AH: What do you think about the country-Americana scene here in Orange County?
TZ: It’s starting to build again. There are some really cool venues, and there are some really great bands in Orange County that do it. Don the Beachcomber closed. That kind of hurt. We’ve got a pretty decent local scene of Americana acts. Then you push that toward L.A. and you’ve got The Grand Old Echo and some stuff out there. If you combine the L.A. and Orange County, there are quite a few great acts. You’ve got some that are doing some more artful country stuff. It’s a good scene. It’s thriving, but it could be better. That’s for sure.
AH: There are some good venues.
TZ: The Wayfarer is a great one. They’ve always supported Americana acts. Whenever we put a bill together, we get a pretty good crowd coming to check it out.
AH: What’s the biggest challenge about being an Americana act here?
TZ: I think we have run the gamut of places to play. It’s not like going to Nashville or something like that. There is a limited amount of spots to play. In my opinion there’s a limited crowd that’s going to come out. We just played The Wayfarer, so if we want to play another show in Orange County, we have to wait a while. The scene is there, but not enough that you can play every weekend. You have to get on the road, and then come back and do it again.
AH: What’s next for Ted Z and The Wranglers?
TZ: We still have to get this thing on all platforms. We’re trying to work with a new publishing agency. We really want to start booking more shows. Not necessarily playing all the time, but playing shows that matter. Talking to booking agents in Europe to see if we can set something up to go there. We’ll keep recording. I’ve got more stuff ready to go. I don’t know that we’ll start a new album, but putting them out as singles over the next few months. We just got a bunch of new merch, so I want to get that out. There’s a lot to do. Everybody’s got a day job still, so it’s a lot.
AH: What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?
TZ: I teach English. I’m a schoolteacher. I’ve always liked to write.
Southland is available now. Order your copy here.