Detroit noiseniks Wolf Eyes are renowned for creating unholy aural assaults with their electronics, guitars, horns, tape machines and shrieks. As one reviewer put it, their music is perfect for "washing dishes in a haunted house or performing at-home knee surgery." Prepping for its next brain-melting opus, the trio is out on a West Coast tour. We caught up with multi-instrumentalist John Olson on a ferry from Victoria to Vancouver, British Columbia.
Westword: So I hear you're road-testing some new material?
John Olson: Yeah, we have a new batch of songs. The new record we're working on is going to be two separate records — a dirge one and a thrash one. So we're playing two different sets, with maybe a two-minute break between them.
Is the new stuff taking the band in a different direction musically?
Nah, not really. We're not in the business of changing things radically. We're the Ramones of noise.
What makes a show particularly special or memorable for you?
Well, I have to say, we've gone through the whole "shocking the crowd" thing, so that's kinda old. Nowadays we're more into perfecting the songs and nailing the mood rather than shocking people or jumping around in banana suits and screaming about your grandma. It's called getting older!
According to your Wikipedia entry, you guys have put out something like 150, 160 recordings in ten years. Is that correct?
Yeah, that was about three or four years ago, so now I think it's in the 400s or so.
So are you the most prolific band that's ever existed?
Nah, probably the Grateful Dead did more. The negative side of it is that a lot of people say, "Oh, you put out too much, you can't put out everything that you do," and our first response is, "We don't care," and then, "We can," and then, "We play enough, so it's mainly just for documentation of ideas and sounds and stuff like that." It's a lot of releases, so just pick and choose whichever you want, or don't do anything with 'em!
What's the biggest misconception about Wolf Eyes?
That we're, like, macho dudes and we like to party and stuff like that. But I really like to sew. Right now I really like being on this ferry; Connelly likes to read comic books. We're very much homebodies, very peaceful people. We're just hippie Midwest boys. I guess the most annoying thing is that people don't realize we have songs. That's embarrassing on their part. You just have to be like...well, you obviously can't really explain it to them — that would make it worse.
How do you think music historians will regard the band 100 years from now?
They'll probably be like, "Man, they drank a lot of brews and spent a lot of time on the road!"
How many releases do you think you'll have to your name by then?
Probably well over a thousand, hopefully. Hey, if you're riding down a good highway, why hit the brakes?
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.