The Waiting Brings the Petty to the Pacific Northwest and Beyond
By Skip Anderson
The Waiting is one of America’s most electrifying roadhouse rock-and-roll bands. And, as the name might suggest, their specialty is celebrating the music of Tom Petty, including songs from the Heartbreakers repertoire, Petty’s solo work, and songs from the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys.
Since 2013, the band has thrilled diehard Petty fans and new converts alike throughout the American West. Whether they’re playing one of Tom Petty’s 38 songs to hit Billboard’s Rock Chart, a treasured deep cut, or a song from his work under the moniker, “Charlie T. Wilbury, Jr.” As one reviewer put it, “The Waiting plays the music that everybody knows and everybody loves with a fiery energy that electrifies crowds with their outstanding musicianship and a single-minded devotion to showing every person in the crowd a damn good time.”
“For example, if we’re performing, ‘Breakdown,’ we might enter into a session where we create space to pass solos around to different performers in the band,” says bassist Doc Wiley. “But after the solos that always seem to get the audience into high-energy dancing, we go back into the chorus; we’ll bring you back to the material.”
Wiley traces the origins of The Waiting to a Manhattan apartment across the street from famed punk/new wave club CBGB.
“I got an opportunity to hang out with Will Lee (bassist for the band on the Late Show with David Letterman) in late ’90s. Will had recently started to assemble some of New York’s top studio musicians to form a Beatles cover band,” Wiley says. “His concept was not to create a tribute band. Rather, he wanted world-class musicians to approach music they love in a unique way.”
Talking with Lee that day, led Wiley to epiphany: He knew that someday he would take the same approach to form a Tom Petty cover band that eventually would bear the name of Petty’s first song to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Rock Chart: The Waiting.
Wiley moved to Bozeman, Montana, in 2009. He had been working most recently with David Lee Roth for several years in Miami, Florida.
“David is one of the best rock showmen of all time,” Wiley says. “His philosophy was to create a cool sandbox and invite people into it. I lifted that from him when forming The Waiting. We create moments from the stage and our audience gravitates into it. We have a great energy, and that’s contagious.”
But Wiley can’t take sole credit for that energy. He and his bandmates are partners in The Waiting’s sandbox. The band on the whole is the sizzling hot secret sauce that reliably sells out shows wherever they appear.