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We're very serious," notes Speedwolf frontman Reed Bruemmer, "about being lighthearted."
Speedwolf is equally serious about writing music that's fun to play and doesn't come off as phony; the band isn't exactly trying to redefine heavy music. It's led by Bruemmer, a veteran of the scene from Death Destruction Chaos, a band that seemed to play all the time in many different corners of stages in Denver; if you were an avid attendee of local metal and hardcore shows, you saw DDC. Bruemmer, who spent most of his childhood in Atlanta, Georgia, moved to Denver in time for his high school years, during which he formed that first band.
His Speedwolf cohort, drummer Richie Tice, was what would have been referred to in another era as a juvenile delinquent. Having tired of the restrictions of school by the time he was in sixth grade, he was a rebellious kid whose father stepped in and offered to buy him a new piece for his drum set every time he got an A. That ended by the time Tice hit the eighth grade, but by then he'd built up his drum kit up enough to play in bands like Havok and Chemi-Kill with current bandmates bassist Jake Kauffman and guitarist Kris Wells. Before then, and since, Tice cut his teeth on learning all the major thrash records back to back.
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Tice and Bruemmer met when the former was in Havok and the latter in DDC. The two immediately bonded over music; they got along well and talked about jamming together. The result was Speedwolf, which was not, in case you're wondering, named after the High on Fire song. "It's more of a coincidence, kind of," says Bruemmer. "We joked around with Matt Pike when we met him. He was all stoked, and we were like, 'Yeah, we didn't name it after your song, but you guys rule!'"
The act's debut full-length, Ride With Death, on Hells Headbangers Records, sounds like an amalgamation of Motörhead's drive, Venom's spiky aggression, and youthful exuberance. And the quartet is very serious about its music, even though there's a healthy sense of humor built into its lyrics and performance style.
Earlier this year, Tice and his boss made a hilarious video for "Denver 666." "Me and my boss were out drinking at his house," explains Tice. "I had a wolf outfit that I got from a Halloween store, and we just started kind of throwing out ideas all drunk and late. I got on the roof of my van like the scene in Teen Wolf. I didn't know we were going to make a music video that would turn into what it did."
This is the version of the interview that was in our print edition. For the full interview, go to "Reed Bruemmer and Richie Tice of Speedwolf on 'Denver 666' and having a sense of humor" in Backbeat.