Wolfmother Returns Anew

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Wolfmother formed in Australia in 2000. Originally a trio consisting of vocalist and guitarist Andrew Stockdale, bassist and keyboardist Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett, the band released their debut self-titled album in October 2005.  Wolfmother reached number three on the Australian Albums Chart, and the band soon found them selves receiving critical success across the globe. 

The following year, Wolfmother received the ARIA Awards for Best Breakthrough Album and Best Rock Album. A year later, in 2007, the single "Woman" earned the band their first Grammy Award, for Best Hard Rock Performance. 

 

 

Having traveled the world performing for millions, sharing the stage with Pearl Jam and The Who, and performing at Led Zeppelin’s induction to the U.K. Music Hall of Fame (at Zeppelin’s request), Wolfmother nearly collapsed in August 2008 when co-founding members Ross and Heskett abruptly left the band due to "irreconcilable personal and musical differences."

wolfmother2.jpgStockdale, the front man and obvious leader of the band, wasn’t sure whether to go forward as Wolfmother, and even performed a few gigs with a new four-piece band under the name White Feather in January 2009.  With rave reviews proclaiming, "Wolfmother is back!," some fans were confused, and others seemed upset about Stockdale’s changing the band’s moniker.

Ross and Heskett went on to perform a one-off show as "Doom Buggy," and are now working on their new band, Palace of Fire, adding the guitar and vocals of Matt Blackman.

Stockdale, meanwhile, decided it was best to keep the Wolfmother name, and soon announced the addition of new band mates Ian Peres on bass and keyboards, Aidan Nemeth on rhythm guitar and Dave Atkins on drums, and quickly began recording, Cosmic Egg, due out later this month.

Stockdale describes the new material as “hypnotic explosions of anger and angst” before adding, “Cosmic Egg is three years of writing with my guitar on the road, in the studio, and at home. That’s how those Led Zeppelin records would get done, some of the songs recorded on the road and thrown together in five different studios.

wolfmother3.jpg"I think it’s cool to have all of this different energy from different places. You’ve got to make (being on the road) kind of like a holiday. If you are going to be in such a beautiful place, then try to capture the energy. When you go to that strange place, maybe that is where you need to be, to take in all the dreams and illusions and good things and interesting things about it. This record has a lot of that.”

On Cosmic Egg, Stockdale’s new band mates deliver a performance that leave the listener wondering if Wolfmother, version two might just be better than the original.  While Stockdale’s playing remains heavily reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath the band now leans equally on a Hendrix Experience type vibe, complete with walking bass lines and random, psychedelic drum rolls, pushing Wolfmother’s performances to entirely new peaks.

“What I am tempted to do now,” Stockdale says, “is a full, all out rock show from start to finish, just fucking knock your head off. We’ve got ‘Woman’ and now all these songs that are heavy but with a different vibe – unapologetic rock-n-roll.  I just think if you are going to do a good show, then you better kick ass, live it, and don’t look back. I like you to feel emotionally charged by the experience, a willing victim that enjoys having their ass kicked by a massive rift.”

Stockdale first met Atkins at a café in 2007, and the drummer mentioned, "Hey, if you ever need a drummer give me a call." Atkins started dropping by the studio when the original Wolfmother was recording demos for the second album.

wolfmother4.jpgThen when the band broke up, Stockdale called and said, "Hey do you want to come over and have a jam?" Atkins introduced Stockdale to Peres, who plays both bass and keyboards in a style often reminiscent of a modern day John Paul Jones.  Given Stockdale’s affinity for Led Zeppelin, Peres was a natural fit, and suddenly, he had a band again and was ready to bring Wolfmother back to life.

Though the original Wolfmother had always performed as a trio, their debt album contained numerous multi-tracked guitar parts that Stockdale was never able to perform live. This led to the idea of adding a second guitar player, leading to the addition of Nemeth, who Stockdale had spent time jamming with during the time he was trying to figure out what to do in light of the departure of his former mates.  The results have proven to be phenomenal, making Cosmic Egg one of the most bad ass rock-n-roll albums of the decade.

Stockdale gives much of the credit to producer Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, The Killers, My Bloody Valentine), “Alan is one of the factors that I am most excited about. He just made the album sound fantastic, a huge, classic-rock beast.”

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Wolfmother has been born anew. Those that have caught early performances by the band are already celebrating the triumphant return.  With a sold out European tour under their belt, Wolfmother 2.0 is preparing to touch down in the U.S. for a pair of gigs at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit in San Francisco, followed by an appearance on the Tonight Show on Monday October 26, then a series of theatres across the country.

Fans rejoice, the days of the Cosmic Egg are almost at hand. 

 

 

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