Take With Alcohol | Music | Salt Lake City Weekly

Take With Alcohol 

The Wolfs prepare to release White Pills, the first shot in a series of singles.

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Ican’t do the tambourine when I play guitar,” says Wolfs vocalist Eli Morrison. “That sucks. I love to hear tambourines. In fact, I like just about any song that has one, by just about anybody. Does that count as fetish?”

Well, last time we checked there wasn’t a tambourine next to the spiky dildos and Spanish fly at Dr. John’s, but given the quality of music Eli Morrison has churned out in the past five years as a member of Red Bennies and Ether, whatever floats his boat is just fine. And, you know, a tambourine is pretty sweet. Still, it is puzzling to see the man formerly responsible for the gargantuan wall of fuzz in the Red Bennies’ sonic onslaught shaking a tambourine instead of working out on a Les Paul/Marshall rig. “I play guitar on a few songs,” he offers, explaining he still uses it to write and will play often in practice, “but I really do like to stick to the vocals.”

Those who’ve seen The Wolfs live don’t need Morrison to say it. Onstage, it’s evident. He holds court like a coked-up tent revivalist, prowling and howling over a glorious garage-rock din created by The Wolfs’ backline: Guitarist Jeremy Smith, bassist Carri Wakefield, drummer Josh Knight and organist Jesse Winters. It’s in this arena that The Wolfs really shine. For Morrison, it’s all good fun. “Playing live is a blast!” he gushes. “We just go and try to rock our best. We’re thrilled to have so many people coming out to the shows, that’s what made it all so fun.”

Ironically, The Wolfs—grammatical slip intended—formed out of boredom. Eighteen months ago, Morrison and Smith (who also fronts Alchemy), who had been “messing around with computers” at the time, looked up at each other and decided to start a band influenced by the soundtrack to their techy noodlings: “Shocking Blue, Slade, Van Morrison’s Them ... stuff like that. We figured it would be a lot of fun to do some straight-up rock stuff that had the same soul and depth that we heard on these old records, without trying to imitate them, or do some cheesy retro ’60s/’70s/’80s thing.”

The intent is exactly the result: The Wolfs are rock incarnate, as pure as a virgin and dirty as a whore. They’re undoubtedly one of the greatest “rawk” bands Salt Lake has witnessed and part of the current bumper crop of kick-ass local bands including Red Bennies and The Downers. Morrison is equally enthusiastic about the scene, rattling off a list of faves: “We have a ton of great bands in town. My favorites ... this week ... are probably The Kill, Red Bennies, The Downers and Starmy. I’m really excited that so many great albums are coming out of Salt Lake these days. It’s a cool feeling to fill up your CD player with stuff that was made by all your friends.”

Soon enough, he’ll have some of his own music to toss in the mix. Later this month, The Wolfs will release White Pills, the first in a series of singles featuring three songs: The title track, about Morrison’s post-back surgery “painkiller hayride.” “Black Leather Gloves,” about secret fun things to do at night. And “Shooting Star,” a mostly instrumental rave-up featuring a hot harmonica track from Brad Wheeler. Originally, it was to be a vinyl-only release—The Wolfs dig the platters—but demand dictated CD availability. “Vinyl is cooler,” says Morrison, “but almost everybody has a CD player. Only the most freaky of freaks still have record players.” Pausing, he adds, “Do we still listen to records? You bet!”

And, keeping with the vinyl junkie’s need for collectibility, the single will be issued as a limited edition. “We’re only making a small number of these since I’m tired of having my closet full of hundreds of extra copies [of full-length albums]. So, if you wanna get one, be sure and grab it.”

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