Richmond, Virginia. Site of Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death” speech, the Richmond Ballet, the Sailor Sandwich and HEWOLF. While liberty, skinny chicks in tights and pastrami, knockwurst, Swiss cheese and mustard on rye are all well and good, it’s the trio of down ‘n’ dirty hooligans masquerading as rock musicians that we’re on about now.
Lord Randall recently sat down with the boys to learn about where they came from, and where they’re going…

Interview with HEWOLF
By: Lord Randall

Rebel Extravaganza: What was the music climate like there in RVA when what would become HEWOLF first formed. Of course there has always been a rich musical history in the area, AVAIL, ATP, so on and so forth…

Johnny “The Prison Warden” Throckmorton [Guitar, Vocals]: Well, we were kind of out of the spotlight during our formation. The three of us work full time and are married with children. So, it was hard for us to get out and really experience what was happening at that particular moment. I feel it was a good thing though. We weren’t influenced by what was popular at the time. Not that we didn’t want to support our RVA scene, and what was happening, or not happening, we are just very busy individuals and even making HEWOLF happen in the beginning took some elbow grease. Dad life!

Erik “Jesus, Mary And” Josephson [Drums]: For forever and a day, Richmond has had a killer music scene. You name it, we have it. But when HEWOLF first formed, there was a lot of metal going on. We love metal but wanted to write music that was heavy, yet catchy and melodic. We wanted to make music that if you were to listen to it ten years from now, it will still resonate and be relevant to that listener.

Paul “Slow” Burnette [Bass, Vocals]: I was so out of the loop at the time. After leaving Darkest Hour then Iron Reagan – two of the most brutal life decisions I’ve made – I really didn’t have an urge to go to concerts anymore.

RX: With all of you coming from other bands with varied sounds in and of themselves, did you already have an idea of what you wanted to do with HEWOLF, or was it more just plugging in and seeing what came out?

Johnny: It kind of just happened. For instance, I had stopped playing guitar for several years before HEWOLF. Most people had no idea that I even played guitar. Paul and Erik both had kind of hung up their musical hats, which disappointed me greatly. These two are incredible musicians and an absolute force to reckon with when paired together. But most of all, they’re my childhood brothers, and they were not being active in music. I guess me writing a handful of riffs and passing them onto Erik and Paul sparked a fire, and that fire has been burning for nearly five years now.

Erik: Even though we came from different bands, the three of us have been friends and have been in bands with each other since high school. Paul and Johnny were in Dusty Nut Roll and Ars Moriendi together. Paul and I were in Crackhead and Adele’s Silk Stalkings. As soon as Johnny sent a text with the first riff ideas, we had an idea of what it would sound like, and we were positive we were going to be extremely proud of what we would accomplish together.

Paul: I went in hoping it would sound like Thin Lizzy and Pink Floyd. While it may not have been that exactly, I was happy with where we started. I’ve always been such a fan of both these guys playing through the years.

RX: Do you think that a band is inherently the sum of its parts, meaning that a band is musically going to bring in influences from its members’ past projects no matter what? Is it possible to wipe a musical slate completely clean and start fresh, or is it best to embrace what you can from your past and go on from there?

Johnny: I feel like we wiped the musical slate completely clean unintentionally. If you listen to the bands we were previously in, Darkest Hour, Iron Reagan, Alabama Thunderpussy, and Hrm, HEWOLF sounds nothing like any of those bands, and those bands sound nothing like each other.

Erik: I think it’s safe to say that it is possible to wipe clean the past musical influences. Does HEWOLF sound like Darkest Hour? Not one bit. We want to make our own brand of music. Not a watered-down version of something we have done in the past.

Paul: I don’t think it’s necessarily our past bands we bring, it’s what our experiences have taught us. This band is absolutely who we are right now. The music is all three of us, squeezed, with lots of pulp.

RX: Lyrically, how does HEWOLF differ from what you’ve done before?

Paul: I’ve always liked the idea of drawing from personal experience, then putting some sort of disguise or alternate meaning to it. Dead To Fall has a song ‘Eternal Gates Of Hell’, while it’s a brutal song, it’s drawn directly from an experience at a toll booth. I think pulling from real experiences give the lyrics life. We have one song about my endless battle with a thorny weed that grows uncontrollably in the corner of my backyard. In another song I’m singing about my car tire that had a slow leak and my wandering search for free air. Some songs are way more personal than I should get. For some people, there is something therapeutic about cutting themselves.

RX: What was the gear setup for Lilith, and how “analogue” were the recording sessions, if at all. In these days where anyone with the right software package can make a decent-to-amazing sounding album, do you feel that we’ll approach a place where people get tired of pristine, clean-sounding music and want to get down ‘n’ dirty again?

Johnny: We recorded Lilith with our live setup.  We also recorded the tunes in the same room together. There is just something special, a vibe, an energy you get from one another while rocking out together. Sometimes you lose that naturalness when you’re each shoved in a room by yourself to track. I mean, it’s inevitable, some things have to be recorded individually, but the main body of our recordings are live. Also, we rehearse religiously before entering the studio. So, usually, our first takes end up being keepers.

Erik: We want it dirty, nasty and raw. We are a loud band. Really loud. A clean pristine recording would not capture our sound at all. We have recorded all of our EP’s live with no click. The human element is there. It’s music. It’s alive! Let it breathe! Johny and Paul bring their amps and cabs to get that big push of air and I tune my the drums just like I do when I play live. Wide open with tons of ringing. It’s a nightmare for a sound engineer.

Paul: I’m already sick of the slick. I want my rock filthy. We had mics on the amps, stood toe to toe, and riffed ’em all out in under a day. I’ve got a beastly 1350 watt DNA bass head, and the illegitimate bass I’ve been playing for 30 years.

RX: If HEWOLF were an ‘80s movie, a book (any era) and a porn star, which would it be?

Johnny: Spaceballs, The Necronomicon, and Bridget The Midget

Erik: I think we are
Revenge Of The Nerds, any Hit Parader magazine from 1988, and Sasha Grey. Low key, but filthy.

Paul: That’s easy!
Hands Of Steel, the futuristic story of a cyborg assassin named Paco Queruak who goes rogue during a flawed mission. Paco winds up stranded at a desolate truck stop to find himself deep within the realms of a high stakes arm wrestling showdown. On the other end of the table is the local champ, a truck driving bully named Morales. Will Paco win? Will the evil scientists who developed this killing machine be able to track him down and destroy him? Will Paco find love? There’s even a dude in the movie that looks like Billy Milano!
Chicken Soup For Dummies
Porn star: HEWOLF is a strap-on

RX: What’s your opinion on studio-only bands? I mean, can you really even call them a band? To be honest, it’s hard for me to see them as such, more as projects. Would HEWOLF be HEWOLF without the live element? Also, who would win in a street dance battle like they had back in the breakdance days? Wolfmother or HEWOLF?

Johnny: I guess it works for some bands? Not us though. Live and loud is the way of the wolf! As far as a breakdance battle, you’d get a lousy moonwalk out of us three and that’s about it!

Erik: I’m not a fan of studio-only bands. Its a totally different world. HEWOLF is a mostly a live band that records sometimes. Performing live is where we get our point across. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that Wolfmother would win a dance war. I’m not proud to admit that, but that’s the truth. I’m pretty sure the three of us can’t dance.

RX: You guys recently attended the annual GWAR-B-Q and played with RAWG. How was that, and how does a RAWG show differ from the insanity of GWAR? Just a different kind of crazy, I’d imagine…

Johnny: It was fantastic! We got to honor our friend Dave Brockie by playing some loud and sleazy tunes for everyone, had a blast! Definitely more chill than a GWAR show, and no fake blood to wash out the next morning either.

Erik: Those dudes are longtime friends of ours and we were so excited that they invited us to play the Dave Brockie Memorial afterparty. It was really a great honor. It was also really hot! It was a great lineup too, so of course we had a blast. To me, a RAWG show is like crashing a GWAR practice session. It’s has a great vibe, it’s hysterically funny, and you quickly get reminded that they are a serious kick-ass rock band.

Paul: It was a total party when they played! The celebratory vibe was a perfect way to raise glasses and toast what Brockie and GWAR means to us all. If ever in town, GwarBar is an absolute must for the food and decor. They even have poutine!

RX: Plans for the remainder of the year?

Johnny: Continue to play out and work on new material. We will most likely hit the studio in early 2020.

Erik: Space travel.

Paul: working on two records. One is a soundtrack for an action movie and the other will be a dark continuation from
Lilith. We can’t thank you enough for the interview!

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