Welcome to WGC
When we hear the name Robert Neil Fisher, we can associate him with the man who strongly stood by Willard Grant Conspiracy up until the day he died. Formed in 1995 by Fisher and guitarist Paul Austin, this alternative country band was founded in Boston, Massachusetts although later they moved their musical operations to Palmdale, California. Fisher and Austin were longtime collaborators who had previously teamed in the Flower Tamers.
Born on September 9, 1957, Fisher was raised in California and always had a strong passion for music. His musical talent, voice, and style were often compared to John Cale or Johnny Cash. Robert Neil Fisher was the main contributor to WGC by being the vocalist and songwriter.
Throughout the existence of this band, Fisher was the only permanent member. He toured around the world and performed with temporary musicians. Over the years that this band was active, 30+ musicians contributed to WGC throughout live performances and studio recordings in the United States and occasionally in Europe and the United Kingdom until 2016. In an interview, Fisher states that Willard Grant is designed to let people come and go as they need to and work on other projects as they want to, and benefit from their associating with Willard Grant in that collaborative and creative relationship.
Past members of this band have included guitarist James Apt, violist David Michael Curry, bassist Matt Griffin, mandolinist Erich Groat, and Malcolm Travis. The more recognized members were Paul Austin, Sean O’Brien, and of course, Robert Fisher.
In 2002 Fisher’s partner Paul Austin began to play with Terri Moeller. The latter played with the Walkabouts before becoming a permanent member of this band in 2011. The absence of Austin did not discourage Fisher.
Despite the inconsistency with members, Willard Grant Conspiracy released 10 studio albums, their first one being 3 AM Sunday @ Fortune Otto’s in 1996 and the last being the Ghost Republic in 2013. Other popular studio albums include Let It Roll, Pilgrim Road, and Paper Covers Stone. They also had 4 live albums, including Weevils in the Captains Biscuit and Live at Rockpalast – Crossroads. Their live European-tour albums are Live 2001: Amsterdam and Aberdeen, and From A Distant Shore—Live in the Netherlands. In addition, the group producted one compilation album There But for the Grace of God. They also have 3 EPs (Color of the Sun, Radio Free WGC, and In the Fishtank 7).
Willard Grant Conspiracy, sometimes known simply as WGC, has a genre of that has always been different than others, often described as country tainted with blues and punk. Robert Fisher was a self-taught musician who followed his instincts—the main reason his music has such a unique sound.
Various production companies, including Loose Music and Rykodisc, as well as Glitterhouse Records, Slow River Records, and Kimchee Records all signed record deals with Willard Grant Conspiracy. This band had great success from the moment it was founded in 1995 to their last year of existence in 2016. Robert Neil Fisher died of cancer at the age of 59 on February 12, 2017. He was the beating heart of Willard Grant Conspiracy, was loved by many, and has left behind a legacy that will never die.
In memory of Robert Fisher (1957 – 2017)
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