Chelmsford Odeon, December 13th 1980 – Adam and The Ants are on the final few dates of their Frontier Tour, the audience is split 90/10 in favour of spiky spitting punks over shiny new pop fans. An enthusiastic, energetic punch up between skuffling skinheads and mad eyed mohicans bubbles away in front of the stage until eventually Adam has to stop the band and scream at the scrappers “it’s not 1977 anymore”. The fight fizzles out and the show goes on all punchy double drums with glam twang guitars. And there’s me a trembly teen at his first ‘grown up’ gig watching wide eyed at the back .
Fast forward 27 years. The Islington Academy, November 14th 2007 – it’s The Wolfmen’s debut gig, slinking on stage they kick start with a spectacular sizzler – but hang on a mo’ isn’t that one of my favourite Eno tunes with added Roxy riffing? Now it’s glam garage guitars, flute solos and sitars sharing the same stage, and what’s that about the special guest star Dahler Mendhi? He’s unable make the gig due to an interview with Her Majesty’s finest, not a problem as the show goes on all snap, snarl and sparkle. And there’s me a seasoned salty ol’ gig goer watching wide eyed at the bar.
I thought The Wolfmen’s debut show last November was a stormer what were your feelings on it?
I think we pulled it off,we got away with it – we were rough, ready and raw which is great. One odd thing about doing this for 30 years is I do not have the ability to make mistakes any more which I miss,sometimes the best things come out of unpredictability…thats my excuse for not turning up to rehearsals and I’m sticking to it!
The set opened with Eno’s ‘Needles in the Camels Eye’ which is an inspired choice of cover version. Did you try out any other covers before ‘Needles’? And are there any more lined up for the future?
No we haven’t as yet worked on other covers, but at some point I would like to try ‘Homosapien’by Pete Shelley,’Don’t split It’ by The Subway Sect ,’The Telephone Call’ by Kraftwerk (don’t ask me how we are going to do that!), ‘Theres A Ghost In My House’ by R.Dean Taylor and even maybe ‘Sounds Of The Underground’ by Girls Aloud or ‘House Of Love’ by East 17, but at the moment we are working on our stuff so don’t expect these anytime soon. I think covers should be worked on in downtime for fun.
Everyone I’ve played Wolfmen material to is always hooked after a couple of plays, where do you start when writing new songs and what comes first the catchy tunes or rocky swagger?
Catchy tunes come first every time. Rock swagger is easy,we’ve had enough practice at that – I learnt Rock swagger before I could even play!
There’s some eclectic instrumentation on several tracks flute, harmonica over growling guitars. Do you write with a view to adding these touches, or does it get worked up later?
We think about it later,there’s always a space where we think “what can we do here?” shall we just stick yet another guitar solo over it or make an attempt at something different? Chris is a bit of a multi-instrumentalist so that comes in handy,I can only play the guitar and the intro to ‘Virginia Plain’ on a Stylophone,but to be frank I don’t get much call for that these days.
(I can also play ‘Run Run Run’ by the Velvet Underground on drums, but again that talent is not in demand anymore…well it never was.)
The Wolfmen are start their residency at the Embassy club tomorrow( future dates and details are on The Wolfmen Myspace site), are there any plans for a UK or international tour after this?
It all depends if people want us, we are in talks about touring India at the moment but it’s early days yet.
Who were the guitarists or artists that inspired you to pick up a guitar? And are you self taught?
Mick Ronson,Phil Manzanera,Marc Bolan,Link Wray,Pete Townsend and yes I am self taught (Steve Jones is also in my hero list but no way am I admitting that to him) .
If you could choose anyone dead or alive to jam with, or join The Wolfmen for one track who would it be and on what song?
I’d love Andy Mackay to come down and do something, or Simon House to do some violin but we don’t have the song yet, when we do I’ll be straight on the phone. And of course the great, incredible and unbelievable Ms Mo Tucker who ranks with Keith Moon as greatest rock drummer of all time!
The Wolfmen – ‘Cecilie’
The Wolfmen – ‘Cecilie’ (Alan Mulder Mix)
The Wolfmen – ‘While London Sleeps’ (Alan Mulder Mix)
Coming in part 2…
What is the connection between Marco and the rocking chipmunk Dave Hill?
Were there any ‘guilty pleasures’ at the height of the punk Wars?
Where will the Wolfmen be in a years time?
Recommended reading until then…
The Wolfmen’s Myspace site
The Wolfmen’s Wikipedia entry
The Marco compiled CDs
Biba: Champagne & Novocaine
Sex : Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die