Interview with Guitarist "Skully"
Interview conducted by Sargon the Terrible
Date online: June 18, 2003
Since their early days in the late 80ís during the glory years of Florida's legendary metal scene. Seasons of the Wolf have been doing things their own way. Now with three critically-hailed albums and innumerable live shows behind them, they stand ready to lead metal into the new century. I got some words of wisdom from guitarist/main wolf "Skully" Waddell.
Sargon: To start with, can you give us a short history of the band?
*Skully / SOTW - We started SOTW in October 1988 and our first line-up played a show on Oct. 31st - Halloween. My brother had just joined a couple months before and then we found a bassist and drummer. We already had about 10 originals written so it only took about 3 weeks and we did that Halloween show in our own open-house studio. Back then we played open houses in our rehearsal space every weekend to about a hundred partying people...sometimes more. I was crazy times back then. We had Crimson Glory and Atheist practicing on the same dead end street. We always started the latest on the weekends so fans from the other bands would also end up at our warehouse. This went on for a couple years. We also recorded 2 cassette albums during that time and releasing about 500 copies each in the Tampa Bay area only. We ended up replacing the first bassist and drummer in 91. By that time we had already had about 50 songs written and were getting very anxious to record and release a real album on CD. In those days there was lots of turning points happening in the music business especially with the heavy metal genre. Death was at a popular peak in the underground and Spandex-Glam bands were on their way out. Grunge was mainstream and of course other various pop version of this and that like always. It really seemed there was no place for a new Progressive - more melodic Heavy Metal act such as SOTW. But, that did not stop us. By 1994 we established a working line-up and began to record our first real album to release. And we knew we would have to go it alone. It took us 2 more years to financially establish our own record label Earth Mother Music and build our own recording studio. Well...I could go on. hahaha But, I'll stop with that much. That was the beginning years for SOTW.
Sargon: What is the origin of the band's name?
*Skully/SOTW - Dennis the keyboardist was writing a song titled Seasons Of The Wolf. We always had this thing for wolves and were wanting to change our name from Equinox. We wanted something unusual and obscure that we knew no one else would come up with. So, we picked that as our name. The Quilex space-ship logo worked well with it. There is a long mystical history for the Quilex. There are various songs from album to album that make reference to it. Unfolding a bit more as we go along.
Sargon: It seems that SOTW have a very back-to-basics style, what bands have influenced your sound? What inspired you to become a musician? And what bands do you enjoy?
*Skully/SOTW - Yeah kind of back to basics in the simple cool guitar riffage area. But, our use of keyboards in a dark classical fashion, and some of the middle complex fillage on the songs definitely create a heavy wall of atmosphere. And then we like to snap right back to that heavy simple in face riffage. We are not stuck in a rut with just one sound and one formula that most bands these days seem to be doing. Bands going all the back into late 50's was my inspiration. My brother Wes started his later as he is 10 years younger than I. But, we both end up liking the same thing. Dennis pretty much the same way. We all really like freaky horror and Sci-Fi movie sound tracks such as the music that Tangerine Dream has created over the past 30 years. But, we all have that love for bands such as Thin Lizzy, Utopia Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and so on. Bands from the early days of hard rock and birth of heavy metal. But, then we also have found to like a lot of the Trash and Death Metal and Black Metal and ...so on. There are some really stand out bands from every genre. I think that heavy metal has become a bit too segregated sometimes. Being influenced by so much music over the past 30 some years the list could go on for miles.
Sargon: You cover a lot of ground in your lyrics, what do you use to inspire you?
*Skully/SOTW - Horror and Sci-fi films from producers such as Dario Argento, George Romero, John Carpenter, books from writers such as Ann Rice, Steven King, Whitley Striber, and more. Plus some song lyrics come together with a good old sense of trying to predict the future based on current events. Probability. For instance check the song title "Abandoned City" from the Lost In Hell album. That one even gave us chills on 9-11. Considering the lyrics were written back in 1992 and the album was released in early 1999. For the sake of planet earth we hope some of the other probabilities we have written about do not come true.
Sargon: How does a SOTW song get written?
*Skully/SOTW - Dennis, Wes, and I have always been the 3 main lyric writers so far. The music comes about in a lot of different ways. Either I write guitar alone and come up with a cool hook and some lyric ideas or Dennis may start something out on keyboards and it falls together. Sometimes the entire band will be just warming up for practice and happen upon some cool groove from drums and the guitar riff falls in place with keys and such. My brother Wes paces the floor scribbling lyrics all alone listening while the rest of us are working the skeleton structure out. Writing new shit is always fun. We do not have one set way. It is open. Whatever works from where ever it comes from. Sometimes we write a batch of songs in one week. We scratch record them all and then pick the ones we like the best to refine and test out live and then pick for a album.
Sargon: Tell us about Earth Mother Music, and your decision to self-produce and self-distribute as much as possible.
*Skully/SOTW - We started Earth Mother Music because we all agreed that we would never conform to outside entities trying to make decisions for SOTW's music. Although several labels have approached us over the years, "not one" had interest enough to let us do our thing. We want to always give people 100% SOTW right down to the album design. We want complete control over our own destiny. And there is no way in hell we would ever be satisfied and happy with a outside label making all the money from what we create.
Sargon: How has being so independent helped SOTW? How has it hurt? Do you get labels offering to sign you?
*Skully/SOTW - The positive sides - We are not in dept to anyone outside our own financial dealings on bank credit. We have built respect from our growing allied forces of fans because they know they are getting 100% SOTW in every aspect. At the end of the day it feels damned rewarding no matter how hard and trying the work towards a larger success can get. We have more control with direct contact with each and every fan and will always continue that situation to the best of our ability. Negative side? We would like to play more live shows. The area we live in does not have much of a demand and it is expensive to tour.
I would say they only negative side to it ...is that we don't have millions of dollars to spend on a massive worldwide promotional campaign. And of course that effects the timing. Time and Money. We would most likely already have 6 albums out instead of 3 and would have already launched a world tour if we had the money. But, it seems with every release we are getting stronger. So, really we are not sweating so much. We are working to get album #4 out by summer 2004 along with a very cool SOTW music rockumentary DVD. Again 100% SOTW right down to the filming of the DVD music video and the interviews. All the packaging with graphics and the works all done right here SOTW's Level- D-Green Studio.
Sargon: You and your brother Wes are the backbone of the band, how did you end up working together, was this what you always wanted to do?
*Skully/SOTW - Well...actually Dennis and I formed the band. And Dennis has been a major contributing backbone for SOTW as a very original keyboardist and recording sound engineer. It is a collective strength between the 3 of us that has held this band intact no matter what line-up problems on bass and drums we have suffered. We are like Captain Kirk, Spock, and Bones from the original Star Trek series. hahaha At least that is how we joke about it. We spend most of our time together even when it is not completely music related. My brother Wes has developed a very original voice and stage presence over the years. That plus his lyric style fit right in back when SOTW came together. And to think back when we were auditioning vocalists in 1988 ..Wes was only giving me a ride to practice that night because my van broke down. He heard a couple guys audition and said he could do better. So, he jumped up on stage and did. We all shit when we heard him sing. We knew that was it right there. Boy, was Mom and Dad gonna be pissed! At least that is what we thought at the time. But surprisingly they were not. They were totally supportive and have been to this day.
Sargon: Tell us about the worst time in the band's history. Tell us about the best time.
*Skully/SOTW - During the formative days in 1991 through 93 there were a lot of friends from other bands dying around us. Roger Patterson from Atheist, Chris Olivia from Savatage, both got killed in car accidents. And several other things were mixed up and seem to be going no where back then. It was a unstable period. Then again in 2000 things got weird again for a while. Mostly due to financial type situations.
Best times! ha They definitely out weigh the bad ones. The massive street parties with Atheist, Crimson Glory, Steel Angel, and Seasons Of The Wolf all practicing on the same street every weekend. Very fond memories of those times. Then a time period from 95 to 98 where we pretty much just took over Draculas night club in St. Petersburg and was the house band. Lots of cool shows there. And every Halloween was packed to the brim. Lots of fun and laughs there. And every show we have played at the State Theatre in downtown St. Pete was always a ton of fun. Actually now thinking about it every show we do is fun. We would like to play every night if possible to a live crowd of people. What band wouldn't?
Sargon: Do you get the chance to play live as much as you'd like? How is your fan base down there?
*Skully/SOTW - haha Well...I suppose that question has already been answered. Hell No! We have a good local west coast Florida fan base. But, to over-saturate and play shows 4 nights a week in the same area is completely UN-necessary and a big mistake for any band. After we get over to Orlando, down to Ft. Myers, up to Tampa and St. Pete, and then a couple local Sarasota and Bradenton shows we have pretty much covered the area. We want to tour. That is what we have been more concentrated on the past 3 years. Building a demand in as many areas of the world possible and putting together strategies of touring those areas. That's what record labels do for a band. Well....they are supposed to do.
Sargon: What do you think of the American metal scene? Any other good bands in your opinion?
*Skully/SOTW - At this current period of time it is in sad shape. The clubs, the larger venues, the labels, the bands, every aspect in sad financial shape. There just is not enough money in heavy metal right now. No matter how you look at it has to do with money. Oh boy....now you done got me going on this. Ok.. This is how the Large Festivals are ruining the Arts & Entertainment Industry these days. Ozz Fest charges up to $75,000 for bands to play ..Warp Tour up to $35,000 - and Death Across America up to $10,000. The major labels are usually the only ones that can afford it to pay for their bands to have a slot...and they re-coop that money back from anything coming in from whatever band ....so, the band still "pays to play". That money will be re-cooped by the label from the band by whatever means necessary. Even smaller well known festivals such a Milwaukee and NJ metal fest charge the bands and labels $1000 for a 20 minute slot on stage. You did not think it had anything to do with "Public Demand" and "Actual Talent" did you?
We have been "asked" to play MMF 3 times and NJ Metal fest once. That is the old "Hey you guys are pretty cool and we would like to have you play the MMF....and by the way we don't pay your expenses to travel 800 miles and you'll have to fork out $1000 for a 20 minute slot on one of our stages. What? Spend a total of $2000 bucks for travel and play time for 20 minutes? KISS MY ASS. SOTW has never paid to play a show in all our time and never will. As a label we can purchase more long lasting magazine ads in Metal Edge and Metal Maniacs and reach a hell of a lot more fans. And more now that you asked - Clear Channel Communication RADIO GIANT owns most of the larger venues across the country now and are even establishing their company around the world. There are only 4 major flagship labels in the world now and they are about the only ones that can afford to have "Their Artists" play at CCC owned venues. Why do you think the market is so hopelessly homogeneous now with little or no public imput. All of this has created a dumbed-down generation of listeners.
The more that the public, the labels, and the artists buy into this ...and stay complacent with the situation the more it is tearing the Arts & Entertainment Industry apart. And it should be pretty apparent that it is especially hard on "real true heavy metal". DO NOT PAY TO PLAY. Free shows are acceptable and logical when there is a good promotion opportunity behind it. But paying to play is downright pathetic. Makes it look like your art is not worth getting paid to see or hear.
MTV brings back headbangers ball??? Yeah of course they did. They are trying to come up with any ideas at this point to deal with the floundering economy. That is a major Pay To Play situation and MTV needs the cash. They have brought down the price tag so that a few label signed acts can actually afford to get played. Not during prime time of course. That has a much higher price tag. And once again the only people that can afford it are artists signed to major labels that will finance the airtime for them. But... the artist still pays out of their advance. It is just a loan. That money is re-cooped by the label that only pays the band about 25 cents for every album sale depending on the contract. If you are really in demand you may be able to get 50 cents.
Another Fact - The next time you see "displays of top ten artists" in your favorite record store keep in mind that this "space" was purchased by the major labels that "own" the artists. The "ranking" is purchased and is not based on sales. It is also not based on airplay. TOP TEN MY ASS. Once again it is a Pay situation. If they can make you think it is the in thing then it must be the in thing.... hahaha Sorry man. You asked. I'm trying to make more people aware of these things. That answers the other question about why SOTW formed our own label. hahaha
Sargon: How are things progressing on the next album? Any news?
Skully/SOTW - Well .....we got about 40 new songs to choose from and narrowed it down to 16 that we have already began to produce. We always go into a album with 16 songs. We know that a few of them may not turn out the way we want them to or may just not fit on the album they we expected. We like to have a certain flow on a SOTW album. A couple fast, some mid-tempo, some slow, at least one kind of mellowed out and maybe a freaky one. And of course we always have at least one instrumental track to break things up a bit. That also gives us a bit more edge at getting music into horror and SCI-fi films. We got 6 Indie Horror Sci-Fi films out now with our music in them. The Seekers, Time Enough, The Distributor, Underbelly, Berserkers, Betrayal. Time Enough is my favorite. They used 10 of our songs in that film. It is from the Alien Conspiracy series.
Sargon: Was this what you always wanted to do? What would you like to see in the future?
Skully/SOTW - yep for sure. Every since the age of 12 when I got my first guitar. I went from wanting to be a NASA Astronaut to being a Hardrock/Heavymetal musician. hahaha
For the future I'd say about a dozen more SOTW albums, several more music videos, and at least a dozen more film soundtracks. I'd like to score music for a couple major horror Sci-Fi soundtracks. That and keep helping produce a few other dark heavy bands along the way while we tour the planet out our leisure. That would work.
Sargon: Tell us about The Quilex.
Skully/SOTW - It is the name given to a spaceship from an Alien race far away from Earth's galaxy. We will be giving away hints of the story in songs we write about it over the next 20 years or so. There are already hints of the mystery behind the Quilex in songs such as Misty Shades Of Green, 10,000-10,000, Communion, Interstellar, Magnetic Star, and the song titled Quilex from the latest Nocturnal Revelation album.
Sargon: And is there anything else you would like to say?
Skully/SOTW - Well, Paul on behalf of SOTW I want to thank you for the support and this interview opportunity. I hope that some people out there at least find it interesting, or entertaining in some way and maybe amusing. Definitely feel free to contact us direct through our website or by regular mail anytime. We like hearing direct from people. The mailing address SOTW 6071 17th Street East Unit 5 Bradenton, Florida 34203 USA The email email@example.com Thanks again.
|Other information about Seasons Of The Wolf on this site|
|Review: Seasons Of The Wolf|
|Review: Lost In Hell|
|Review: Nocturnal Revelation|
|Review: Once In A Blue Moon|
|Review: Lost in Hell|
|Video: Wings Of Doom|
|Video: In The Shadows|
|Video: Lost in Hell (Live)|
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