Last year, Seasons of the Wolf in October 2008, has celebrated 20 years of activity. We’ve had the occasion in the past to review 3 of their albums, Seasons of The Wolf, Lost in Hell and Nocturnal Revelation (reviews available in the Reviews section of our blog) thanks to Barry “Skully” Waddell.
To celebrate this rare occasion in a bands activity, we’ve interviewed Skully. Read and enjoy.
1. Hello Skully my friend. Because this is the first time Seasons of the Wolf is interviewed by us and can I say for the first time by a magazine from Romania, please tell us your history, line-up, themes present in your songs, etc.
Skully / SOTW – Hello Razvan – Thanks for the interview opportunity. Yes indeed this is the first interview for magazine in Romania. I think there is a couple of radio shows there that have played SOTW in the past. It sure would be great to be able to come to Romania for at least one big show.
SOTW has been together since October 1988. My brother Wes the vocalist, Dennis the keyboard player and I formed SOTW in October 1988 and have kept it going all these years. We have a had a few line-up changes on bass and drums. Phaedra Rubio on bass and Wayne Hofle on drums were with us for about 8 years. Now Mark Empire has joined us on drums. Mark recorded on a few tracks on our most recent album “Once In A Blue Moon” and will be on the entire next album. We also have Bill Bois filling in on bass for live shows. Our songs have many topics. We tend to lean towards Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy – but we also touch base with current world reality subjects such as war, history and some politics. We tend to stay away from politics. SOTW has recorded 6 albums. 4 of them have been released internationally. SOTW music also is heard in several independent horror sci-fi films.
2. Why did you choose to name your band Seasons of the Wolf?
Skully / SOTW – We wanted to have something different than a one or two word name. And we wanted it to relate to something sacred such as a endangered species. In a way we feel our style of music is like an endangered species. hahaha! Dennis came up with the name from the title of a song he was writing. It ended up we chose it for our band name. We have yet to record the song.
3. Can you please tell me something about your musical backgrounds? Are any of you engaged in any side-projects?
Skully / SOTW – My brother Wes the singer joined up with the band just after highschool. He was training to be an actor and was in several stage plays. Dennis and I hooked up just after he got out of school too. Dennis got his start by doing sound engineering with a band I was lead vocals in called Equinox back in the mid 80’s. The Equinox keyboard player quit and Dennis ended up joining that band. After that band broke up Dennis and I worked together for a few months creating soundtrack type music for films. But we wanted a full band again. So we began to put together SOTW. I started learning guitar at age 12 and have played in bands since age 14. Drums, guitar, vocals, bass, whatever was needed I just wanted to write songs and be in a band. My main instrument of course is guitar and I also learned to sing pretty good. I had several bands together before SOTW. Our drummer Mark Empire is in several different music projects and writes his own songs as well for his project called “Motherface”. Bill Bois now lives in Nashville and plays bass in a country band. He also continues to promote his personal rock project called “X Takes The Square”
4. What bands have influenced you? Can you tell me the title of your 5 favorite albums and bands?
Skully / SOTW – There really are so many more than 5 but I will give you the first albums that I learned complete on guitar. Alice Cooper’s album Killer, Ted Nudgent’s first solo album, The first Black Sabbath album, the first 5 Blue Oyster Cult albums, and the first UFO album. That is where I got my first guitar training. I have to mention that Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest were very much major influences too.
5. Please speak a little bit about every album released… How they were received by media and public? For collectors… do you have any vinyl released?
Skully – SOTW – The first real release SOTW self-titled album was co-produced by Bud Synder and we recorded it in Telstar Studio in Sarasota Florida. It was the launch pad for SOTW. We learned a lot during the process. The 2 songs that received the most airplay and underground attention are Victim Of Darkness, and October Moon. Then came our second album “Lost In Hell”. We recorded and produced it in our own studio. The titles that have got the most attention from it are Lost In Hell, Interstellar, and Witchfinder. Lost In Hell was re-released on a Italian label in Europe and became a classic for SOTW in the underground. Our 3rd album titled “Nocturnal Revelation” was also recorded and produced in our own studio. We had a few more shorter songs and a more “direct in your face” approach on several songs. The songs that got the most attention from it are New Age Revolution, Liar, and Transmission. By this time SOTW was doing good at sales in Europe. The newest release from 2007 titled “Once In A Blue Moon” was also recorded and produced in our own studio. It has all the twisted elements of the first 3 albums but a bit more tighter arrangements and overall sound quality has improved. The songs that are getting the most response from it are Wings Of Doom, Ghost Woman, and Name Your Poison. We are anxious to release our 5th album in early 2010. Meanwhile we have now licensed all our albums for re-release on a German record label Pure Steel Records on Vinyl format. Each of the re-releases will have bonus tracks. The first re-release on Vinyl will be coming out next month February 2009. And Lost In Hell should be out on Vinyl by fall 2009.
6. I’ve read somewhere that you’ve sent your first two albums to hundreds of radio stations, zines and ezines across US and worldwide… That was quite an extensive marketing campaign… Did it have any effects on your album sales?
Skully / SOTW – Oh yes indeed. Over time it has helped spread us into several other countries and helped to get licensing deals to re-release in other countries. It attracted a lot of underground distributors that would purchase stock direct from us. And it has helped to increase awareness and possible live show support. On our own we have developed a growing cult style fanbase. We call it the BloodTree. And to this day we continue to send out packages to any reputable source we find or that finds us.
7. I understand that you’re an INDEPENDENT entity… Why did you choose to support yourself all the costs? A bad experience with a record label?
Skully / SOTW – We never allowed SOTW to have a bad experience with a outside label. Although we have been taken advantage of by a couple distributors I won’t mention. In the early days we were requested by several labels to send them packages. And we did send out but mostly never got any interest of support. We did not feel like waiting for someone to come along and find SOTW so we did it ourselves. It is a slow road, but it grows over time. And at the end of the day even though the money is tight and the sacrifices are many, it can be rewarding to know your fate is in your own hands.
8. Several of your songs were used as soundtracks for movies… Can you tell me how were you selected? Have you worked with some known producers?
Skully / SOTW – Back in 1999 A great fan of SOTW by the name of Torch started a thing called the Rock Hard Horror Hook-up. He contacted us and suggested we send out to a few Independent movie makers. He gave us a list of 10 to start with. We sent out and got back 5 responses. That is where it started. More came after being involved in those first handful. No well known film producers yet. We feel positive that eventually this will happen. Or maybe one of the director/producers we already have worked with will find more success and we grow together.
9. Several of your videos can be seen on major cable programs in US… Do you know if any of your videos were broadcasted in Europe? If yes, in which countries?
Skully / SOTW – Yes we have been sending out music video to lots of small cable networks wherever we can find.. Most recently a large one for Fuse TV with national broadcast for video contests. So far Germany is where we have the largest support of fans and purchase. We have been played on video shows in Germany one is called Strike StreetClip TV.
10. Can you tell me some funny stories from your history?
Skully / SOTW – The greatest and funniest of times has to be our shows at a club in St Petersburg Florida called Draculas. And you may find it interesting that the owner was from Romania. We played about 25 shows there between summer 1995 to summer 1998. They are unfortunately closed down now. Lots of crazy times with bikers, lesbians, drunks, and local overzealous SOTW fans. Some of them just loved to get naked, make out, and dance while we play. Others liked to be carried away on a stretcher at the end of the night or be kicked in the ass by the club-owner. Of course through most of the 90’s we were famous for our open house nights on the weekends at our studio. On this little industrial area street there is Heavy Metal History. Four bands on the same dead end street practicing the night away with people all up and down the street. In the early 90’s there was Crimson Glory, Atheist, Steel Angel, and Seasons Of The Wolf all on the same street with overzealous drunk fans visiting each band. Those were the early days. The unforgettable days. We would spend till 4am in morning picking up all the beer cans and wine bottles up and down the road. Busted car tires, stolen radios, broken windows, fights, police, blood, sweat, and tears. Yes indeed – All the things that make heavy music worth doing. hahahaha!
11. You’ve played live in dozens of shows… Can you please mention some of the bands you played with… and which is in your opinion the best show ever?
Skully / SOTW – That is a hard question. Of course we have a long list of bands we have played shows with. But we were always trying to keep focused on what we were doing and not enough time and energy to be involved with the other bands. That is to say we had our job to do. We would help others when and if we could. I would say opening for Blue Oyster Cult was one of the great times. We had a lot of bands that would open our shows at Draculas. And we have opened for loads of other underground bands too. Wow what a long list to remember. hahaha!
12. What do you think about the metal scene in US? Is it oversaturated with bands? Any new or relatively new good bands there?
Skully / SOTW – Yes indeed – “Oversaturated” is a good word. Oversaturated with trendy rap and hip hop music and teeny bopper rock. SOTW melodic heavy metal style is an “endangered species” over here. At least right now. Seems our music is a bit too deep and most people do not want to think that deep.
13. How do you see Seasons of the Wolf in 2020? Kicking ass in live shows or just a studio band J?
Skully / SOTW – I think we may not be as active live by that time. Probably recording and producing other bands.
But who knows? So much depends on popularity and making money. But for now we do have all the Vinyl re-releases, the DVD, and our 5th album on the way!! We shall see where that leads next……
14. Have you released your Rockumentary DVD? What is it about? Can we expect some never released videos?
Skully / SOTW – We have been taking our time with it. There will be a couple videos that have not been seen – but mostly it will have a lot of fun backstage footage thrown in and interviews from band members in between the music videos. Band memebers talking about their own experience in SOTW. As mentioned we hope to release it fall 2009.
15. Searching the web for Seasons of the Wolf fan sites, I’ve stumbled upon even a Japanese one… I’m really impressed of this support… You have even a big street team… How does it work? They place posters in their city, spread flyers or…?
Skully / SOTW – Much of this happens through Internet contact. But with Japan SOTW website it came from actually meeting. Dennis took a trip to Japan for vacation and actually got to meet Junko Ikehata. She made a Japanese SOTW fan site. Although we have not many sales from Japan yet. We also have been in contact with one band from Japan called Solitude. We both had songs featured on a compilation CD in Germany. We do have some very supportive fans around the world that help spread the music around to their friends and pass around sampler CD’s when they go out to shows. Everything helps. Everything you do on a daily basis matters because sometimes one person with a real interest can come from it.
16. 20 years of activity… Did you had a special show or did you release a limited box set with your albums or something else done this event?
Skully / SOTW – No we have not yet. What we are doing is preparing to release a full-length 90 minute SOTW history DVD titled “20 Years Underground” It will be professionally mastered and packaged. We hope to release it fall 2009.
17. I wish you all to have all of your dreams fulfilled, many many live shows and albums released… Thanks Skully for this interview and if you have anything else to add please do so now… Cheers and many beers my friend J
Skully / SOTW – Thank you Razvan for this interview. It is good. Hopefully some day it will work out for SOTW to come to Romania. At least for a vacation! But preferably for a few live shows and much intake of tasty beverages. We hope your readers will check out SOTW. Myspace seems to be gaining popularity and anyone can contact Seasons Of The Wolf there. Thanks again.