KNOXVILLE — On a Knoxville scale, you could say rock quintet Wolf at the Door has seen a meteoric rise to greatness. The band that shaped itself little by little into its present form has amassed a sizable following over the past six months and is only now issuing its first release.
Substantiating the idea that things just seem to fall into place for WatD, the band will unveil its new EP at a show opening for one of its biggest influences, David Bazan. The group will ride this year's momentum into early 2012 when its debut full-length is completed.
Recorded between Rock Snob Studios and the home of vocalist Gene Priest, the "Weary Bones" EP will feature four tracks, one of which is a cover that the band is shrouding in secrecy. While the release will almost certainly be made available digitally, the physical run will be scarce. Only 50 hard copies will be made available, and it stands to reason those will go fast. The limited physical run was likely offered at the insistence of Priest, an old school audiophile who values the collectability of a packaged product.
"We decided that since we aren't quite finished with our up-coming LP 'American Castles,' we wouldn't rush things but instead release a single from the record with a few B-side home demos and a cover song, just to have something for people to walk away with," explains Priest. "We wanted to do more than just slap a single on it and call it finished, so I finished mixing a few of the home demos we had worked on prior to going into the studio, and we also recorded a cover especially for this release. We are just hoping the EP will spark a bit of interest in what we are doing so that when the time comes to release our LP, people are a bit more familiar with us and our sound and not just in a live environment. The single is 'Weary Bones' and thus far seems to be a crowd favorite at shows.
"The cover is a song from the '90s we had kind of joked about doing, and upon recording it realized, 'Wow, this is actually really cool.' It is definitely not something most people would expect, but we thought it would be pretty rad to remind people of this song and how great it was — and still is — even though I do believe after going back and listening to the rest of this band's catalog, it was the only really good track they released and very different from everything else they did."
Priest, who just released a solo EP "Breathe in, Breathe out" in September on the Lapdance Academy label (available for free download through www.lapdanceacademy.com), is one of several players in the band pursuing solo efforts. The band collectively points out, however, that Wolf at the Door is the top priority.
"We all have our fingers in many other pots, but (Wolf at the Door) is our main gig," says guitarist Brian Woodruff. "We all have very different tastes and love many types of music; our other projects just allow us to use the massive backlog of songs we have written that don't fit in this band. When I write for WatD I have a very strict set of rules I follow, but I write like ten songs a week and don't necessarily always want to follow said rules."
To make Wolf at the Door's premier recorded outing even more momentous is the show that will unveil it. The band will share the stage with David Bazan of Pedro the Lion, whom Priest credits with the inspiration to begin his first solo project that WatD ultimately sprang from.
"I got an e-mail from Jason (Boardman) asking if we were available to open the show." says Priest of the show's development. "Bazan being one of my biggest personal influences and one of the main artists that caused me to decide on writing my own solo music, which brought me to being a front-man in Wolf at the Door, obviously we said 'yes, please!'"
ARC-made fire: Tonight metal instrumentalist group ARC plays the Longbranch Saloon with Ocoai and Matewan at 9 p.m.; cost is $5.