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Sunday, December 29, 2013

These Go to 11: Interviewing The Wolfhounds

As we move on from the end-of-the-year lists, is time to offer you another interview. A great one, as a matter of fact. I'm proud to bring you the answers to our peculiar questionnaire from the frontman of a legendary (criminally underrated) band that, happily, has returned to action. I'm referring to David Callahan, leader of The WolfhoundsThese Go to 11!

Band named Wolfhounds & the
gallows behind,  what's not to fear?
David Callahan, The Wolfhounds
Formed in 1985 in Romford, UK, their first EP "Cut The Cake" made them part of the mythical C86 compilation album. After the poppier debut "Unseen Ripples From A Pebble on Pink", they evolved into a rockier, raging indie rock combo with brilliant albums like "Bright and Guilty", "Blown Away" and "Attitude" in 1990, after which the band disbanded. Several music adventures (urge you to check Moonshake) followed until they got back together in 2005 for a gig on the 20th anniversary of their first single. More gigs came, plus an EP with three tunes pre-dating band's debut in April 2012. Fuelled by the success of song "Skullface", the band is back in full form as the stunning 2013 singles "Cheer Up" and "Divide and Fall" prove, with more to come in 2014. The dogs are released again. Here we go!

1. First record that you bought (be honest)
"Gudbuy T'Jane" by Slade from a post office near where I lived - I still like the bad spelling of their titles - the B-side was "I Won't Let It 'Appen Agen" ...

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)  
City Rock '77, when
Mr. Callahan went punk
First gig I ever went to was a punk festival called City Rock in Chelmsford. It was a little pathetic as you can see here. However I got to see Rob Tyner from the MC5 sing with Eddie and the Hotrods and Slaughter and the Dogs. The Damned got to the stage where they were onstage ready to play, when their manager ordered them off again as they weren't getting paid. They should have played anyway. I remember the Doctors of Madness being quite impressive. Most impressive was the aggression and teenage confidence of the older punks with their dyed hair and ripped school uniforms. I was 13, but remembered to make my flared trousers skinny with a packet of safety pins. The last gig I went to was to see my mate Mathew Sawyer play with the Len Bright Combo (which is Wreckless Eric with a couple of the Milkshakes). Mathew was good but he was even better the week before at a smaller venue. Len Bright Combo were also enjoyable, but unfortunately I spent most of their set chattering as there were a lot of people I knew there.

3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, though I think it's fair to say I only like the Crosby and Young bits. And "Our House".

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
A notebook, a pen and an instrument to mess around with (and a laptop or phone to record it on). Otherwise I'm not really precious about memorabilia, though I understand that some records I own are worth quite a lot of money.
Don van Vliet, Captain Beefheart

5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Today, it's the English translation of "Jackie" sung by Scott Walker, or all of "Trout Mask Replica" by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band.

6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Members of a few young bands that I've seen, but I never introduce myself in case I either patronise them or make a fool of myself. I'm not great at meeting those with a body of work that I admire, and (perhaps foolishly) turned down introductions with Captain Beefheart and Dr John.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
I have a Dutch classical LP released as a picture disc in the shape of a circular birth control pill dispenser - I'm not sure it gets better than that! Otherwise, I like American cheesecake and exotica sleeves from the 1950s.

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both)
I would press a copy of Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" into your grateful hands, after forcing you to watch Nicolas Roeg's "Don't Look Now", accompanied by coconut and lime ice cream and several gin and tonics.

"The Sound Your Eyes Can Follow",
Moonshake's 2nd album 
9. Song (of yours) you are most proud of
My favourite song of my own is "Just A Working Girl" off the 2nd Moonshake album. I wrote it on my 4-track portastudio when I lived in Hackney Central, after coming back from the pub pissed, went to sleep, and then had to spend the whole of the next day trying to figure out what I'd done as I'd erased all the source samples and not written down the lyrics. I was double happy that PJ Harvey agreed to sing on it, but still regret not honing the song first before it was recorded. Unfortunately, it was a lot better a year later after we'd toured it, but it was out by then.

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
I'm a literal indie fundamentalist - it means striving to be independent of influence and doing as much as you can by yourself or with like minds. Most 'indie' groups aren't.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I'd like to think I'd be taking a well-earned break from writing and music by trying to see all of the exotic birdlife of the Polynesian islands. But I think it's entirely probable that I'll be on a defibrillator.
Zillion thanks David!

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