The Wandering, or The Wandering Jews, are a SF Bay Area band led by novelist/songwriter Joe Clifford. The band started in the ’90s as a punk rock alternative mash-up before morphing into its latter incarnation as an alt-country/power pop/Floydian anomaly. The current lineup includes Clifford on vocals, guitar, lyrics, and the occasional piano, with Matt Rosoff playing bass and the role of co-band leader/producer, supplying backing vocals (i.e., making sure Clifford doesn’t relapse). The rest: Joe Dean on all lead guitars and slaying; Franz Nicolay (The Hold Steady) on keys, piano, accordion, and organ; Kevin Seidel on vocals; and on drums the inimitable Michael Urbano (Smashmouth, Cracker, Lindsey Buckingham, et al); with Krishna Feeney on backing vocals, Bob Strickland on horns, and many more.
The band first released their 12-song debut Clean Living, propelled by the Streetlight Records hit single “My Gay Love Is Free,” in the drug-addled ’90s. The band then … went away. Twenty years (and 18 trips to rehab later), they reformed in the 2010s for two EPs, Down on the Farm and Second Coming. After signing with Square Tire Records © in 2023, the band returned to the studio with an assortment of guest musicians and rock stars to release its first full-length record in nearly a quarter century, A Better Machine.
The Wandering (Jews) play live, albeit infrequently, though (it’s on good authority) there will be at least one show over the summer in support of the limited 12″ vinyl release for Machine.