Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

Wade Schuman interview

May 04, 2022 Neil Warren Season 1 Episode 60
Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast
Wade Schuman interview
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Wade Schuman joins me on episode 60.

Wade is the singer / songwriter and leader, and of course harmonica player, of the New York based 8-piece band, Hazmat Modine, with the harmonica playing a pivotal role in the sound of such a big band. In fact, there is often a second harmonica player in the band.

Wade absorbed many musical genres from a young age, which helped shape the eclectic styles of music played by Hazmat Modine, from African, Asian, Klezmer, Caribbean, all with an American roots core. The band has released five albums, with another in the pipeline.

Wade started out learning pre-war harmonica, an approach he has integrated so well into the big band line-up. And he was a central part of the New York harmonica scene in the early 1990s, mixing with many of players who have gone on to establish themselves as the leading players in the harmonica community of today.


Yazoo album of 1920s & 30s harmonica:

Harmonicas, Harps and Heavy Breathers book by Kim Field:

Pat. Missin website:

Hog2 Octave pedal:

European tour 2022:

Wade playing with Hog 2 octave pedal:

Live at the BBC:

Outdoor concert filmed for the Nobel Laureate Committee:

Solo piece at Stockholm Jazz festival:

Podcast website:

If you want to make a voluntary donation to help support the running costs of the podcast then please use this link (or visit the podcast website link above):

Spotify Playlist:
Also check out the Spotify Playlist, which contains most of the songs discussed in the podcast:

Podcast sponsors:
This podcast is sponsored by SEYDEL harmonicas - visit the oldest harmonica factory in the world at www.seydel1847.com  or on Facebook or Instagram at SEYDEL HARMONICAS
and Blows Me Away Productions: http://www.blowsmeaway.com/

Origins of Wade’s name
Now lives in New York, where in settled in the 1990s. Originally from Michigan
Influence’s on Wade’s music
Enjoys music from all different cultures and styles
Started playing harmonica around age 10 and first harmonicas owned
Hohner made some of their harmonicas in Ireland
What drew Wade to playing the harmonica
Wade’s generation of players learnt to play by ear and were self-taught
Where blues music originated from and why Wade writes his own music
Harmonica was part of the immigrant culture of the USA
Wade’s approach to playing the harmonica
Harmonica is usually self-taught, with few structured lessons and why that is
What Wade sees as the strengths of the harmonica
Is the singer in Hazmat Modine
Started the band with another harmonica player, Randy Weinstein
After playing harmonica from 10, stopped playing for a few years due to quality issues with the instrument
Got back into playing harmonica in the late 80s and discovered minor key harmonicas
A group of US harmonica players discovered each other in the early 90s, including Joe Filisko, Kim Field, Howard Levy and Pat Missin
Wade’s strengths on the harmonica
Discovered overblows and incorporated some into his playing
Some of the younger players have great technique now, helped by online resources
When became a bandleader became really interested in songwriting
The origin of the name Hazmat Modine
A group of harmonica players started meeting in New York: The New York Reedsters Club
The harmonica group is where he met Randy Weinstein, and they formed Hazmat Modine
Other instruments were added to the band, eventually making eight members
The role of the harmonica in such a big band and having two harmonicas in the band
Wade is now the only harmonica player in the band
The different genres played by the band and where Wade drew inspiration for that
First album from the band is Bahamut, crafted over seven years at great expense
About to record a new album
Lots of virtuoso playing now, but it’s niche
Songwriting is the primary goal of music for Wade
Second album is Cicada and then a live album was released
Box Of Breathe album is the most recent, with Extra Deluxe Supreme released before that
Extra Deluxe Supreme song
Song with Son of Dave
Harmonica players obsession with gear
Dark River song uses a cheap karaoke mic with the harmonica
Has used a wireless mic from the beginning
Uses octave pedal and being a forerunner of using pedals
Jason Ricci has encouraged more harmonica players to use effects
Uses clean microphone and sound
The sort of sound favoured by the other harmonica players in band
Lost Fox Train song dedicated to Joe Filisko
The harmonica community is very supportive of each other
Steve Baker book revolutionised the harmonica scene
Doesn’t do much session work, but has done a little
More on the collaborations Hazmat Modine have done
Ten minute question
Amp taking on tour and autowah pedal
Harmonicas of choice: plays Filisko customised harmonicas
Off-the-shelf harmonicas are such good quality now
Influence Steve Baker has had on harmonicas community
Using low tuned harmonicas recently
Used Seydel harmonicas for a time and likes them
Still uses a lot of minor tuned harmonicas
Strengths of Wade’s harmonica playing
Embouchre and over emphasis on technique these days
Touring Europe in June / July 22 and plans for new album