Thanks for taking the time for the interview! I just have to ask, with recent events it sounds like AC/DC is on the brink of retiring, do you feel that you are completely prepared to fill the shoes of such legends with your catchy riffs and songs? Seriously though, you guys are amazing! And I could totally see this happening! I’m curious if AC/DC is one of your influences ?
Yeah, the band is clearly inspired by AC/DC. Their sound is so timeless and appealing to a lot of different music lovers. That said, it’s always an honor when folks compare us to them. So, thanks for that!
Being prepared to fill those shoes seems almost impossible, but we’re up for the challenge. If nothing more, it’s important for us to continue to deliver people an option for ‘feel-good party music’. Hopefully it’s a reminder that music can still be fun and ridiculous!
Gene and the Werewolf is such an unusual name, I just have to ask where does the name Gene the Werewolf come from?
Long story, short: Gene The Werewolf is our lead singers nickname growing up. He’s always had a big beard and occasionally long hair. All of our friends always called him that. The critics seem to hate it — but we don’t care!
As a fellow Pittsburgian, I’ve been hearing your music on some of the stations! Do you remember the first time you heard yourself on the radio? Can you share that memory please? Have you noticed any new fans because of it?
Yeah, being included as a part of WDVE’s playlist is a MASSIVE honor for our band and something we’d never take for granted. Remembering the first time is a little foggy right now, but the several situations stand out…like sitting in parkway traffic in the summer with the windows down and hearing other people (in rush hour traffic) blasting the band on their radio dial. Or, walking down the street the other day and hearing construction workers jam out to ‘The Loner’ while repairing a roof on a neighbors house.
Probably the one that stands out the most was being in a cab and the song came out. I told the cab driver it was me and he didn’t believe it initially. I finally got him to believe me and he called his wife during our trip to say he was driving around a ‘rock star’. We both shared a good laugh afterward.
How has the Pittsburgh music scene changed since you started almost 10 years ago? Can you share a memory of one of your guys’ first time performing ?
Yeah, these past (10) years have flown by. We’ve been having a blast.
Ironically, our first show was at Club Cafe. It sold out within minutes of doors opening which was really pretty exciting, considering that we’ve never played out before that or released any music.
You guys had your album release party for “The Loner” at The Altar bar, with it closing, was it an emotional experience? Can you please share why you chose The Altar Bar as the site of the release party?
We always loved playing at The Altar Bar. We played a lot of great and memorable shows there: opening for The Darkness, Winger, and releasing two different records in that room are all great memories for the band. The Strip District Music Fest was always a fond memory as well. That said, the room (for better or worse) always had a dingy, booze filled, rock n’ roll vibe about it. That kind of goes hand in hand with what we do, so it made sense to release the album there.
Anytime we see an outlet for supporting the local art scene go away, it’s sad.
After almost ten years together, do you have a song that means the most to you? And if so, can you please share the story of that song ?
I’d say that ‘The Loner’ probably means the most to me (even though it’s our newest material) and to be fair, I didn’t write the song (Jon Belan aka Gene and our producer Sean McDonald did). But, making that song was a lot of fun. All of our friends came into the studio and sang on it. Most of them have never even been in a recording studio before, so it was just a really unique and special experience for me. We laughed and made fun of each other between takes. That’s what it’s all about in my opinion…and to hear all of my friends singing on the radio, that makes me smile as well!
Do you have a song that is your favorite to perform? And if so, why?
I love playing ‘I Only Wanna Rock N’ Roll’ live. I just think it’s the song that we preform best. It’s also very representative of what were all about and what we sound like. People always respond really well to it as well…maybe because it was our first single on WDVE? But, that always makes things fun too!
What does your guys’ writing process look like ? Any funny stories from your last recording session?
Our writing process is a grueling one. Jon (aka Gene) will demo all of his ideas and then the band decides on which songs we want to work on as a full band.
Jon demoed over 25 song ideas for ‘The Loner’ and only (10) made the cut. God bless him! He was a trooper.
What is your favorite food to eat while on tour? Red meat and beer.
What is something that your fans would be surprised to learn about you?
Probably a lot. We are a strange bunch.
I’d say that we care more about each other and our friendship, than being a ‘successful band’. I guess that’s how we’ve kept the same (5) guys in the band over the past 10 years.
Is there a question you wish someone would ask you ? If so, please ask it and answer it!
This is a great question!
Lets go with: strangest concert experience:
1.) One time we supported Third Eye Blind at this massive basketball arena. It was just us and them on the bill. When we arrived for soundcheck, we loaded all our gear into the middle of the room and were just sitting on our road cases while 3eb was checking their gear and running through songs. At that moment, a guy from their crew came over and asked us to leave the room. We explained that we were the opening act…he said that they knew and still wanted us to leave. Security took us downstiars to our dressing room and made us wait there until Third Eye Blind said that it was OK for us to re-enter.
Later that night, we played 30 seconds over our given set time, and they cut off the power. We were playing to several thousand people and the power just went down. A strange way to end the set. They were just doing their jobs, so I understand…it was just a very bizarre group of people.
I still think they are a great band despite the strange night.
2.) Another time we were supporting The Darkness at The Altar Bar. There support band on the tour got stopped at theCanadian boarder and we were asked to fill their shoes with a couple hours notice from Drusky Entertainment (the local promoter).
After our set, Justin and Dan Hawkins came up to us and were totally freaking out about how much they enjoyed the band. They even asked us to finish their tour with them (which went on for about another week). As the music industry would have it, their management overruled the bands decision and took another act out with them to finish the tour. It was still an honor and we’ll always think very highly of those guys for paying attention to the little guys.
Any big plans for 2017? What can fans expect to see/hear from you?
It’s our ten year anniversary. That’s crazy to me! Hopefully we figure out a really cool way to celebrate that together.