Saturday, November 29, 2008

Interview with Cry Wolf

Cry Wolf formed back in the 1980's and their popularity rose towards the end of that decade. They recorded two albums before calling it quits in the 1990's. However they once again have some plans so I recently interviewed guitarist Steve McKnight to learn more.

So what are you currently working on?

A: Tim is working on new tunes with his band, Fast Otto, a trio playing "Bluesabilly Deluxe". Tim sings and plays some cool guitar. Steve is working with Phil on acoustic songs, playing locally in LA. The group is called "McKnight". Not an ego thing; just needed a quick name, not to be confused with Brian (McKnight).That brings us to Cry Wolf. We are putting together a list of tunes that never made the coveted "second record", recording them and getting this thing rolling!

You guys had a reunion tour set in August last year. How did that go? Where did you play at?

A: We had a great show in the SF Bay Area where we are originally from, and always will be from! We had people come from New York, MidWest, even Japan! They still knew the words to the songs! It was amazing!

How did you come to the decision to reform the band?

A: I think we all felt that we had gone away and done other things musically, lived our lives, and realized we had a story to finish. I think each of us wanted this to happen (for me, I wish sooner!). We just love doing music, and getting back together feels like we're a gang again.

Tell us a little about how and when you guys first formed.You moved to LA some point early on. What prompted the move and what were the toughest parts about adjusting to life there?

A: We had Mgmt. in LA and at the time the LA scene was hot. We thought we should be right in the frying pan fighting it out with 3,000 other bands for the deal. Definitely made us stronger. We all learned what poverty feels like, not knowing where our next meals were coming from. (Hmmm gas in my tank to get to a job interview, or eat?) The constant drive to get just enough money to eat was pretty tough. At first we were in the San Fernando Valley, 11 people in a 5 Bdrm house. After about 4-6 mos. we split off into different living situations.

Now you started out going by the name Heroes. How long did that last and why the name change?

A: Tim's previous band was named Heroes, and we actually carried on for a while under that name. There was a conflict with the name, so came the name contest.

Wasn’t there a contest to pick your new band name? Whose ideas was that?

A: We were looking to jump-start a mailing list and get ourselves out there. Tim and Mgmt. may have come up with that one. Some losing names P.S. Dump your boyfriend,Bastard, Sword (a personal favorite).


How competitive was the LA scene in the mid-late 1980’s?

A: Fiercely competitive. 3,000 bands crammed into 2-3 city blocks all looking to be bigger, better, faster. Bands were getting signed after 1 show!!!! (Faster Pussycat comes to mind). It took us a little while, just fighting until we were selling out most of the clubs on the strip and some venues in the S.F. Bay Area.

What were you doing that got you noticed?

A: First, we really worked on our show, just making sure the harmonies were dialed and we were on fire. The "gang" reference is important. We attacked our music and the audience like a gang in a fight. Even though the music wasn't thrash-heavy, we had an intensity. We have that kind of intensity now.

You seemed to have success in Japan early on. How did that come about?

A: Our demo tape got into the hands of Kerrang and got a good review, which caught the attention of some other magazines and promoters. That lead to us working with a small promoter and put together a 10-day tour of Tokyo and Osaka, Japan as an unsigned band. I don't think any other unsigned "strip" bands did that back then. That tour led to the deal at first with Epic/ Sony in Japan, still without an American deal. 6 mos. Later we toured Japan as a "signed" band for about a month, playing outlying cities, as well as the major cities.

Who did you guys open for back in the day?

A: One of my favorite bands, Kings X!!! It was a festival in Florida, it was raining and we are jumping over sparking junction boxes! 8,000+ people singing "Pretender". Amazing!Trixter. Every Mother's Nightmare.

When and why did you break up?

The US tour for Cry Wolf ended 7 shows early with all our equipment being stolen (Thanks Houston!), our label dropping us, and our Mgmt. exiting their contract early. At that point we lost our drummer, Paul Cancilla, and tried to carry on with other drummers (Jimmy Gilmore, John Link) and we started to look for other outlets, get back in touch with our lives. So we stepped away. We were all involved in other musical stuff all throughout the "separated period".Actually, because we all cut our well-farmed hair, we lost all our mojo, and had to gain it back (kidding).

Which of your two albums do you prefer and why?

I prefer the newer stuff, just because it represents more an evolution for the music. The later stuff reflects all the heavy stuff from what happened with the band, and life in general, so the music seems to have more meaning. Although I love a lot of the songs on Crunch, I think the second round of tunes was the album we should have made. But who am I? I'm too close to the music to tell. The tunes are all like kids. How do you pick your favorite?


Why do you think grunge knocked hard rock and metal out of fashion in the early 1990’s? Was it just time for change or do you think that there were other factors at work?

A: Every "scene" runs a cycle of being at first different than what preceded it, then huge, then a sort of parody. The consumer-ism of "if a little bit of this new flavor is good, then millions of gallons of it (hairpspray!) is even better! Once saturation hits, people are looking for the alternative. It could be that the music and marketed lifestyle became excessive, so the alternative is to strip it down and have a different vibe. In both late 80s and 90s there are AMAZING songs and great musicians who came out of both eras. Nine Inch Nails is my all time favorite! I'm also partial to Alice, Tool, Bjork, Extreme, Kings X.

What were the members of you band doing after you break up?

A: Tim went on to woodshed on guitar and become a great player. He did a few solo recordings and then formed Fast Otto. Phil worked with Tim on some of his projects, and got involved in DVD authoring for film studios! He is great with website design. Steve (I) got involved in film scoring and doing some session work here and there. I got involved in computer network strategy, went back to school and finished my BS in Business Mgmt. I also have worked for the studios.

What kind of music are you listening to these days?

A: I have a pretty wide palette and go from film scores, to ambient, industrial, to death metal, to Bulgarian women's choir! I really appreciate singer-songwriters and the craft, getting involved in acoustic music. Still after the perfect song!

Is there anything else that you would like to say about your band or your music?

A: Its humbling and cool that people are interested in this era of music, and its exciting that bands from the day are not only reforming but putting out new music. We need more of that. Stay tuned for Cry Wolf. We had a little taste of it last year but will be rockin' very soon! Thanks for putting this together, Mark! Steve

Labels: ,


Blogger Hard Rock Hideout said...

Great Interview Mark. I had no idea that Cry Wolf was getting back together. I used to love them back in the day.

12:24 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home