Abrasive, Japanese Rock Trio Guitar Wolf Returns With Erratic Vibration
(CBS Seattle) — If you’ve ever spent time at a recording studio — or simply tried home recordings on your own — you may be familiar with the term, “The Guitar Wolf Technique.” When applying this style to your recording, you will have done a couple of things: You will have turned all the amplifiers to their maximum volume and you will have cranked the gain knob on the recording device to its max as well.
No one can pull off this technique better than its originator, though, Guitar Wolf.
The feedback-projecting power trio from Nagasaki has been obliterating ear drums since 1987. The band’s 50s rockabilly look paired with its thrash-garage roar quickly got the attention of the caveman rock ‘n’roll circuit in the early 90s. Guitar Wolf’s ferocious sound also comes with a live show that is a high-octane, non-stop blitz of two-to-three-minute songs — usually consisting of no more than four chords total.
After countless tours, dozens of releases and a loss of a band member (original bassist Billy “Bass Wolf” suffered an untimely, fatal heart attack at the age of 38 in 2002), Guitar Wolf returns to the record shelves with Beast Vibrator, the follow-up album to 2010’s Uchusenkan Love. Frontman Seiji (also known as Guitar Wolf) confirmed the infamous recording technique is applied to the material on Beast Vibrator.
“We just play live for records,” Seiji said by phone through a translator. “There isn’t really a technical side.”
The title track from the album (a title that made the poor translator very uncomfortable every time she had to repeat it) hit Seiji while he was walking down a street in Italy during a tour. “Be wild! Find Your wild instinct!” Seiji writes in the liner notes for the new disc.
Seiji credits Eric Friedl of Goner Records for giving Guitar Wolf its start in the U.S. The band’s first full-length album, Wolf Rock, was the first LP on the label too. However, it was the now defunct Seattle label Bag of Hammers that kept the Wolf rolling with a few singles to follow the LP.
“I sent cassette tapes over to friends and labels I had heard of,” Seiji said in reference to his first endeavors with trying to put something out in the U.S. “Jimmy [Stapleton] from Bag of Hammers was one of the few who loved us.”
Much like AC/DC or Seattle’s own Zeke, Guitar Wolf hasn’t diverted from its original formula of ground-shaking noise whatsoever. As a seemingly cute way of trying to solidify this statement, I asked Seiji what would come first: A zombie apocalypse or a Guitar Wolf acoustic album. However, I failed to factor in that small talk like this isn’t ever really that funny — especially through a translator.
“Don’t be afraid of zombies,” Seiji said after a long, long pause. “Be afraid of Guitar Wolf.”
-Chris Coyle, CBS Seattle
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