Our international man of mystery, Devon has struck again. This time interviewing the furry friendly Tom from Melbourne trio Wolfpack. Check it out!
My partner quit coming to shows with me a few years ago, but I’ve been ranting about how great Wolfpack are for so long now she’s started saying she’ll come see them sometime. If they play in the afternoon. Just up the road. Maybe. We’re taking baby steps. To not discuss this at all I caught up with Tom.
Me: Holy fuck, you guys are playing Punk Rock Bowling with Bad Religion!
Tom: Ha ha ha! I know, right? It’s insane!!!
Me: Insanely awesome, you mean. Wolfpack are such a positive influence for the world, who are some of the people who’ve had a positive influence on you?
T: For me my furry family (pets) have had the most positive influence on my life. Riot Grrrl was my Kelpie best friend and the reason behind starting Wolfpack as a not-for-profit band. She lived to an amazing 16 years old. Bosstone, my first dog, made it to 10 before cancer took him, Tank Grrrl also lived to 10 before heart complications, Charlotte the wonder cat made it to 15 after nearly being killed by a car at six. My current kids are Lunachic, a two year old ex-puppy farm mum rescue, and Fang the cat who spent his first four months of life in captivity at the pound. The look in an animal’s eyes where it genuinely loves you more than it loves itself is the most sensational display of empathy. It is that compassion and consideration for others that will solve all the problems we as a society are facing.
Me: You’ve already sort of touched on this question, but how did Riot Grrl make you decide to be 100% not for profit?
T: I just wanted to be more like the person she saw, ya know? Like I’ll try to do anything I can for everyone and I really enjoy the volunteer work I do plus helping out booking shows or driving bands within the scene, but really I’m just another piece of trash chasing the eternal weekend. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!!! But to be able to give something back does make the whole adventure a lot more worthwhile, I find. As a family member she was always there for me so I want to be there for her kin in return, bro.
Me: Jeez, all I’ve ever done for a dog is pick up its shit. I’ve let the species down! If you could make one massive change to the world, what would it be?
T: No more hatred, bro… Just have all the sexist, homophobic, racist, extremist religious zealots of whatever denomination and the greedy money-hungry thugs who think their financial situation is more important than people’s well being to all simultaneously hang themselves so we can actually move forward as a united and equal people. Ah, one can dream…ha ha ha.
Me: You’re a Misfits fan. Do you metamorphoses lycanthropie possunt inquam?
T: I love “Halloween Halloween Halloween Halloween,” but alas I cannot metamorphosis into a wolf!
Me: But sometimes when you’re playing you start breathing hard and you look like you might change into the werewolf on the cover of A Benefit Release for the Lost Dogs Home. You’re the werewolf from the cover, aren’t you?
T: Funny story but we actually had to ask the artist who drew the werewolves from that cover to remove a six pack of muscles from their stomaches as no one would believe it was us if they had six packs. Six packs of cider though… definitely!
Me: But am I right in assuming you being a werewolf is why Wolfpack never play on the night of a full moon?
T: Ha ha ha. I’m nowhere near cool enough to be a werewolf, bro.
Me: Are you trying to throw me off the scent? There’s no need, I don’t have supernatural senses like you.
T: Ha ha ha.
Me: What’s your favourite werewolf movie, or all they all a bit too close to home?
T: Ha ha ha. Actually there are some serious bangers out there. American Werewolf in London obviously as it was the first movie to have the ‘dream inside a dream – double fright’. The Howling is a classic and Dog Soldiers is cool too. Silver Bullet is my personal fave though… You can’t go wrong with the mighty Gary Busey AND Corey Haim.
Me: Not just Corey Haim, but a parapalegic Corey Haim. The TV show Werewolf couldn’t get a DVD release because of music clearance issues. As a lycanthrope who plays music, how do you feel about that?
T: Seriously, bro…I hate the music industry and licensing and their whole music is a competition thing and putting monetary value on everything and then judging music by its ability to then generate more money! Gah, it’s all so evil and stifles creativity ‘cause people get swept up in the whole business side of things and it kills the community element of music which is so important. We should all be appreciating each other and supporting everyone’s bands (assuming they are not some neo-Nazi evil sexist shit, of course) not following some imaginary carrot of success being waved at us like we are donkeys by major labels and booking agents. Sorry if that’s a bit full on too everyone, it just gives me the shits as punk rock should be for everyone and every band with a message is important, and the industry really does its best to kill that, I believe.
Me: I don’t think that’s too full on, and I think Wolfpack’s messages are very important. In fact, when I listen to “Regret” I literally get shivers down my spine. At first I thought it was because it’s a blood boiling rally cry, but maybe it’s because I’m afraid of being torn apart by unnatural claws and teeth after your transformation?
T: Bro, that is super humbling and lovely, thank you, but yeah I think it’s the teeth and claws.
Definitely not any supposed talent or shit like that! We are just three people lucky enough to make noise and have people interested in it. What a crazy privileged position to be in and so stoked to be alive and have punk rock in our lives. It really is the best and all the bands make that, not us so thank you to every local band out there! We and I am nothing without them.
Me: That’s not bullshit for that question, I get literal shivers when I hear that song.
T: I think that ties back into your question about positive influences. too… Hell yeah I love my fur babies but I am genuinely inspired in every element of my existence by all the great bands out there.
Me: You mentioned Busey before in an affectionate way. I woulda thought he’d be one of the religious zealots that hung himself in your change the world scenario?
T: Yeah, Busey would go down but he is a fantastic insight into getting sucked in to all the bullshit out there in the world. It’s frightening to see how dark and treacherous a decline the descent into capitalism is, so I don’t revere him in any way but I definitely recognise his journey as I am afraid of it.
Me: He did a fascinating interview with Metal Rules! Magazine years ago. He kept ringing the interviewer back for hours with new things he wanted to add.
T: To live it first-hand like he did must have been absolute terror. It’s no wonder he ended up so maligned. It is sad he didn’t survive.
Me: Hang on, Busey’s not dead.
T: No, but the essence of Busey died along the journey. He’s not himself now just an evil societal construct, a shell polluted beyond recognition from all the elements he encountered along the path of ‘stardom’. Frightening and horrible to see.
Me: Kane has said a few times now that he thinks the Brisbane punk scene is better than the Melbourne one. Is that really just because they have a massive boost by having Flangipanis there?
T: I don’t think any scene is better, but there is an excellent supportive element to the Brisbane scene and an appreciation for all different styles of heavy music there which we are still working towards in Melbourne. Melbourne really suffered with the onset of metal-core and the competition that arose from the decrepit Oz industry types sniffing around for the next big thing. All of a sudden every band was fighting each other for the next surfing label endorsement and clamouring to sign with an agency. Gigs became shit fights and not an environment that was conducive to young kids starting bands as it was literally a bitchy schoolyard at shows not the rad, supportive and nurturing ‘scene’ it should be. Thank fuck we have bands like The Bennies, Clowns and Strawberry Fist Cake who brought some fun back to gigs ‘cause it all got too cut throat and career driven.
In Brisbane you have Flangipanis, who are a national treasure, a radio station genuinely switched on to heavy music in 4ZZZ and a great crew called Punkfest who have always stuck to putting together diverse mixed bills of all punk genres playing on the one night. This has resulted in a really diverse group of punters supporting a great range of acts playing all facets of heavy music; it’s awesome. Melbourne is on its way back though and we are coming for you, Brisbane… Watch out! Ha ha ha.
Me: Right, so if we just get Flangipanis to move here then Kane will think Melbourne’s better again. Got it. Actually, I don’t even care if Melbourne’s better, I just want Flangipanis to move here.
T: You and me both, brother… Fuck yeah Flangipanis.
Me: Oh, and while I agree those bands you listed have helped create a community spirit in the scene, I would say Wolfpack do as well, and you’ve helped put together some great line ups personally with The Drunk Promoter. I certainly wouldn’t be as involved in the local scene as I am without the work you and The Drunk Promoter did in putting together amazing gigs.
T: Thanks, bro, yeah Wolfpack have worked really hard booking heaps of shows throughout Australia, at least 90 per year every year most of which we play, but 10 or more we don’t and ensuring every line up has great locals and lots of different acts involved. On top of that it has been amazing to get the support we have from The Drunk Promoter, doing some rad supports and playing some amazing shows with him. As well as partying with, whoops, I mean driving around a lot of the acts he tours!
Me: And you got to share the stage with the man himself last Saturday! Your last CD was so good I described it as ”…so fucking solid it wouldn’t surprise me if people mistake it for a Wolfpack best of that was compiled for promotional purposes.” What can we expect from the new one due out Friday week?
T: It is diverse like the last one and heavy as fuck again. This time it’ll be a benefit for Forever Friends Rescue so hopefully it’s as popular as the last one which brought in a swag of cash ($1500 and still more to come) for Second Chance Animal Rescue.
Me: $1500! That’s amazing since the EP is the greatest bargain of all time at $5! I started buying copies and handing them out to strangers at shows at one point, it’s so reasonably priced. What’s your tally raised at this point? It’s always going up!
T: $26,800 raised so far from shows and merch sales for charities and no-kill animal shelters/welfare organisations throughout Australia. Absolutely stoked, bro.
Me: It’s so inspiring, what you guys do! Anything else you’d like to add?
T: Nah, bro, I think I’ve shot my mouth off well and truly enough! Thanks heaps for hitting us up to do the interview though and always rad to chat with you. Big cheers also to everyone who supports us! We are super lucky to be able to do what we do and it’s not possible without our crew and the great Melbourne scene we call home, so love and hugs all ‘round, mates. Be well, everybody.
Me: Holy fuck, you guys are playing Punk Rock Bowling with Bad Religion!
T: What? Bad Religion are playing Punk Rock Bowling?! That is so rad ‘cause we are too!?! Fuck YESSSS!!!
Wolfpack launch their new CD on 17 March at The Retreat Hotel in Brunswick.
Photographs by Matt Gleeson.