Artist of the day: Wolf-Face
Wolf-Face is quartet of wily lupines in their late 20s who perform deafening rock at a breakneck speed. Their music is highly topical. The topic: the 1985 Michael J. Fox comedy Teen Wolf.
Wolf-Face dresses to the nines in full-on Teen Wolf regalia: Beavers basketball jerseys, sweatbands and prosthetic wolf face (with fuzz and snout, obviously).
They are the brainchild of “Michael J. Wolf," a pseudonymous songwriter who has a penchant for creating concept bands whose musical themes are pop culture based. Example: a previous musical endeavor, Next Season, wrote and performed songs whose subject material was exclusively based on the original Star Wars trilogy.
Wolf-Face is Michael J. Wolf, guitar and vocals; Rain-Wolf, guitar and background vocals; The Good Wolf, Bass; and Wolf-Fart, drums. The group performs with Room Full of Strangers, Alias Punch, the Mother Macine and Die Rebel Scum at 7 p.m. Friday at the Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $8-$12.
I was invited to join them (sans The Good Wolf) at their secret wolf den. Here’s a glimpse of our evening together.
What is the origin of Wolf-Face?
Michael: A buddy of mine and I though up the concept of Wolf-Face years ago. I haven’t been in bands for a decade, but I was in a lot of bands over a decade ago. I wanted to record my own stuff. I hate writing lyrics, ’cause I can’t write lyrics well, so I said, “Let’s write all of our songs about the movie Teen Wolf.” Most of my favorite bands have stupid names anyway. So I ended up recording a six-song EP on my own. Some of them are literally about the movie Teen Wolf, whereas some are more, “What’s this guy experiencing behind the scenes?”
Rain-Wolf: Emotions behind the screen.
Michael: A couple of songs are dialogue from the movie Teen Wolf. There are other ones that are loosely based but definitely on topic.
Did you play all the instruments?
Michael: Yeah, that’s what we’re giving away and selling. I gave it to friends, and eventually, a buddy of mine offered me a show in May, so I put the band together, and now we’re a national band.
Neil Young is known for only recording during a full moon. Does Wolf-Face utilize similar rituals?
Michael: I would love to do that, but I have a couple cubs at home, I don’t have time to record only during a full moon. It’s a rad idea ... Really, our only ritual, so far, is drinking Jack Daniels before we play.
Rain-Wolf: And we turn into werewolves as our intro song. We’ve never played at a place that has a backstage, so we walk out the front door of the establishment, jump into the van and change.
Michael: When were setting up, we’re in a full white costume and it represents the purity of our hearts before the full moon. Once we’re set up and ready to rock, outside, the full moon arises and then we come in as the beasts you see on stage.
How do your female fans feel about Wolf-Face?
Rain-Wolf: How don’t they feel? (laughs)
Wolf-Fart: It’s fun to see everyone’s reactions wen we’re performing, especially since we’re behind those masks.
Michael: It’s probably cliché for a new band to say this, but the positive reaction from the whole thing has been unbelievable.
Rain-Wolf: There’s always an initial 15- to 20-second confused reaction where everybody turns to each other in the audience and seem to agree at once, “This is awesome.”
Wolf-Fart: We haven’t even mentioned the slideshow ... In addition to our attire and persona, there’s a slide show, I don’t even know how to begin to describe it.
Michael: We have a slide show, it’s like 20 seconds of slides, it’s just photographs of naked dudes with wolf heads superimposed over theirs.
Rain-Wolf: In various poses. ... Even if you don’t like the band, per se, you can at least find something to enjoy in the slideshow.
Michael: There’s gonna be eye candy somewhere.
Lately, in popular culture, there’s been a great focus on zombies and vampires. Do you, as werewolves, feel overlooked?
Michael: I was a teenage werewolf. Back then it was cool to be a teenage werewolf. You were pretty tough. These days, these vampires — they’re a bunch of wusses. Twilight stuff, those werewolves ... We like to keep it raw, keep it rough. We’re not in it for the chicks; we’re in it for the dudes.
Do you feel you have an advantage over other bands due to your extraordinary powers?
Do you feel it’s fair?
Wolf-Fart: We didn’t choose it.
Rain-Wolf: It’s not like, “Sorry, we all got lucky.” We found out we had the lycanthropic tendencies and came together.
Michael: One of these days we’re gonna prove to the audience that we can play as human beings and rock just as hard as the Wolf.
Does Wolf-Face have a message for the masses?
Wolf-Fart: Watch the f--- out.
-- Aaron Lepley, tbt*. Photo: Connor Hawkins