Music Q&A: The Ghost Wolves
This week, Paul Wood chats with The Ghost Wolves, Carley Wolf and Jonathan Wolf, from Austin, Texas. They are often accompanied by a wolf hybrid.
They'll be at Mike N Molly's, 105 N. Market St., C, on Friday. Carley plays guitar, Jonny drums; both sing.
What is your latest project?
"Man, Woman, Beast" (Plowboy Records)
Carley, how did you develop your guitar technique, particularly getting so much out of one?
As far as gear goes, it's a process, as is I'm sure the case with many players and their tone. There is a great shop in Austin that rents pedals and amps and if you like it they will sell it to you at a discount. I messed around with a lot of gear that way.
As for the actual style and technique, that comes from playing with Jonny in a duo format and being able to fill so much more space than was previously needed in bands with more instruments. I discovered open tuning through learning some old blues songs and that expanded my world tremendously. I also often play with my thumb on the lower strings while using the slide or other fingers at the same time on the higher strings. That helps with filling in the lower register. Sound continues to be a journey. I have some custom work in mind, so I am excited to see where that will lead sonically.
Who are your favorite drummers?
Jonny: John Bonham, Tre Cool, Dave Grohl, Jon Theodore, Daru Jones, Johnny Vidacovich
Jonny, how do you arms feel after a long set?
A bit sore!
Are you flattered or annoyed by being compared to the White Stripes?
Jonny: Both flattered and a bit annoyed, I think — it just seems like such a lazy comparison for people to make but they were a fantastic band, truly tops ... so we don't mind it in that way. But we aren't out to be them. We're out to do our own thing.
Carley grew up among hybrid wolves. Did they raise you or are you just friends? What are they hybrid with?
Carley: The animals were rescues that my dad took in — he's an animal guy — they were different northern breeds of dogs and some wolves were in there too. We raised each other. I learned a lot from watching my dad work with those animals, taming them.
Ramones or Clash? Or both? Compare and contrast.
Jonny: Both ... Ramones were so great at being to the point with their music — we love that 20-minute-long set attitude, play your best stuff and leave the rest out. Clash were great for pushing boundaries musically — my favorite track is definitely "Straight To Hell." Who would have ever thought they'd sound like that?
Do you ever want to slap each other on tour? Or does it deepen your bond?
Carley: Sometimes we throw burritos at each other when we're mad. Touring is good for the soul.
The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman nor an empire. What are you not?
Carley: We aren't crybabies.
How do you fit in Plowboy Records?
Jonny: Nicely! It's a great label.
What was it like working with (producer) Howie Weinberg? Did he have lots of stories?
We didn't meet face to face, since we were on tour at the time. We sent him our tapes and he worked on them in California. But it was great knowing he would do an awesome job with it.
What are you excited about right now?
Jonny: Touring Europe for a month this fall ... pretty stoked about that.
How did you first grow interested in music? Does your family have a musical history?
Jonny: There are musicians in my family, my dad, his dad ... some of my uncles. My dad bought me my first drum set when I was 13.
Carley: My family has a long history of music - my grandmother was a classical composer in Mexico city, and there's lots of other musicians in my family.
Which bands did you like when you were a teenager? Which bands now? Who has influenced you the most?
Jonny: I was really into The Foo Fighters, Hella, The Clash, Green Day, Mars Volta as a kid. Now I really love stuff we see along the way: Tan Vampires, Wesley Hartley.
How did you band get started? Where does the name come from?
Jonny: We started playing in our living room at home in Austin and it's snowballed from there. We named the band to honor our dead animals.
How often do you play? How do you balance this with work and family?
Carley: This band is our work. We are doing this 24/7 ... if we aren't doing a show, we're working on other projects ... videos, writing songs, recording, booking gigs. All of that. It's a full-time job. Our families are very supportive and they often are helping us out with things.
Do you write your own songs? Tell us about that experience.
Jonny: Yes we do. We co-write everything. It's great to have someone you trust, stylistically speaking, to bounce your ideas off of.
Is touring still fun or has it become a chore?
Jonny: If it was a chore we wouldn't be doing it. We really love it.
What's your favorite song? What's your favorite song by your own band?
Carley: I love all our songs. It's exactly the kind of music I'd want to hear if I went to a show.
Jonny: I agree. I just love jamming out to my elf!!
Do you feel a special connection with the audience?
Jonny: Always...that's the biggest challenge for us, making sure everyone has fun at our show.
What's your favorite clothing item for performance?
Carley: My white mini dress and my white cowgirl boots.
Jonny: My kitty-cat underwear.