Heavy Metal and the Global Pandemic is a new series that focuses on examining how metal bands are dealing with the COVID-19 world. Heavy Metal is unique as a genre for often writing songs steeped in dystopian imagery, the darker side of the human condition, and of course – death. However, these are unprecedented times for everyone, including musicians with an inclination for relishing chaos.
Oakland, California quartet, Wolves in Argyle, has a loaded roster of members from some of garage/punk rock’s most heralded bands, as well as studio and production connections that will make any 1990’s Seattle fanboy squeal. Initiated by Dave Holmes (The Oozzies, Shootin’ Lucy, Brother Cain), the band includes former members of the Gits (drummer Steve Moriarty), White Trash Debutantes (guitarist Josh Phillips), Mordred (guitarist Sven Soderlund), and Memphis Murder Men (bassist Hans Hunt). Their debut album, Dangereux, was produced by Tad Doyle (Tad, Hog Molly, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth) and mastered by Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Mudhoney) at Doyle’s own Witch Ape Studio.
From the press release:
A thirty-two-minute sonic white-knuckle ride, recorded “hot,” and reminiscent of the production value of albums such as Nirvana’s Nevermind and Husker Du’s Land Speed Record, with Dangereux the quartet lures its listeners into a film noir-ish sonic and emotional landscape, frothing over with anthemically tuneful songs, boasting shadowy tales of lies, betrayal, and hard-fought enlightenment.
The name Wolves in Argyle conjures the group’s combined survival instincts to rise beyond their esteemed pedigrees, and to transcend the pain and inner turmoil that initially connected and bonded the four together in the first place.
Dangereux has been acclaimed for it’s combination of garage punk, stoner/desert rock, and 90’s alternative rock, but the momentum the band developed since it’s release has since been stymied by the COVID pandemic. We spoke with Dave Holmes to get the scoop on how the band has been dealing with these unprecedented times.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your band, be it cancelled tours or studio time?
Dave Holmes: This pandemic hit Wolves In Argyle hard. We had just gotten back into rhythm after a brief 2019 hiatus following the release of our first album. The COVID pandemic had us cancelling two tours this summer, including a West Coast US tour of seven-eight shows and six dates in Brazil for June.
Where are you sheltering in place and what are your circumstances? Are you alone or with family? How are you coping?
Dave Holmes: I’m fortunate to be with my partner and family in our own East Bay Area home. Coping is another story as we do our best not to drive each other nuts.
How are the members of your band staying connected?
Dave Holmes: Steve and I jam weekly as he even stayed here for a few months. Funny, we had our first Zoom meeting a few weeks ago, but mostly via phone/text and file sharing. Starting next month we start to demo the next new material.
Concepts of “virus” and “pandemic” are no strangers to heavy metal lyrics and imagery. Is it strange that we’re now living in such a world? Also, have the current circumstances provided any inspiration for writing new material?
Dave Holmes: Oddly enough, no. I am deathly afraid of parasites and always imagined some fucked up virus wreaking havoc on our existence. I have been writing a ton of lyrics and riffs to accompany, but nothing relating to the end of the world. Some about slowing down and enjoying all you have been given.
The absence of live music is no doubt affecting the audiences and communities who thrive on the experience of seeing bands perform. But, as performers, what’s it like for you not knowing when you will be able to return to the stage?
Dave Holmes: This is a very weird feeling not knowing when we can return to playing live. So much that we have discussed streaming live sets, even the Dangereux album in its entirety. We’re kinda mystery men and aren’t into the social media butterfly thing, instead letting our music, lyrics, live shows and imagery do the talking.
Music provides solace for many in times of hardship. What have you been listening to in these strange and uncertain times?
Dave Holmes: Really bangin’ out some classic rock n’ roll, like Zeppelin, Elton John and Thin Lizzy while dazing away to Queens of the Stone Age and Elder. However, recently stumbling onto trippy Igorrr videos, I’m greatly contemplating psychedelics again!