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Wolfmother are an Australian hard rock band that formed in Erskinevillemarker, Sydneymarker in 2000. Originally a trio comprising vocalist and guitarist Andrew Stockdale, bassist and keyboardist Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett, the band released their debut self-titled album in October 2005, which reached number three on the Australian ARIA Albums Chart. The album was also a critical success, winning the 2005 J Award and 2006 ARIA Awards for Best Breakthrough Album and Best Rock Album. "Woman", a single from the album, won the band their first Grammy Award, for Best Hard Rock Performance, in 2007.

In August 2008, co-founding members Ross and Heskett left the band due to "irreconcilable personal and musical differences," after which Stockdale vowed to continue using the Wolfmother moniker with new members in the future. After a brief hiatus, Stockdale returned with a new four-piece band in January 2009 featuring bassist and keyboardist Ian Peres, rhythm guitarist Aidan Nemeth and drummer Dave Atkins. The new lineup's first album (entitled Cosmic Egg) was released on 23 October 2009.

History

First years and debut album (2000–2006)

Wolfmother formed in 2000 and made their way into the public spotlight in 2004 after "years of jamming and anonymity". They were signed to Australian record label Modular Recordings at the beginning of August and throughout the year played a number of dates at various venues (including a tour with Cut Copy and Midnight Juggernauts), before in September they finished recording and released their debut extended play (EP), Wolfmother. The record was relatively successful for such a new band, reaching number thirty-five in the ARIA Singles Chart.

After "6 months of nonstop Australian and overseas touring", Wolfmother began work on their first full-length album, for which they enlisted the help of Dave Sardy, producer of Slayer's Undisputed Attitude, Don't Believe the Truth (Oasis), Get Born (Jet) and Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia (The Dandy Warhols). The band moved to Los Angeles in May 2005 and rented Hollywood recording studio Cherokee, recording home of such artists as Aerosmith, Korn and Lenny Kravitz. After six weeks of rehearsals at the studio, work moved to Sound City where the album was recorded in just two weeks. Before the release of the album, the band first released their debut single; double A-side "Mind's Eye/Woman" was released on 16 October 2005 in Australia and managed to reach number twenty-nine in the Singles Chart. On 30 October, Wolfmother saw release in the trio's home country. The album entered the ARIA Albums Chart at its peak of number three and remained in the chart until mid-2007, by which time it had been certified five times platinum.

By the end of the year, Wolfmother had won Triple J's J Award for Australian Album of the Year, and "Woman" had been nominated for Single of the Year and Best Breakthrough Artist (Single) at the ARIA Music Awards.

International success (2006–2008)

The original lineup of Wolfmother performing at the Beale Street Music Festival on 5 May 2007.
The 2005 Triple J Hottest 100, announced on 26 January 2006, featured a record six songs by Wolfmother: "Mind's Eye" (number six), "Joker & the Thief" (number nine), "Apple Tree" (number sixteen), "Dimension" (number thirty-seven), "Colossal" (number thirty-nine) and "White Unicorn" (number eighty-four). On 6 March, Rolling Stone published their Annual Readers' and Critics' Poll results, in which Wolfmother were featured a number of times, namely in the following readers' lists: Top 10 Albums (Wolfmother, number one), Top 10 Singles ("Mind's Eye", number one; "Woman", number nine), Artist of the Year (number two), Best Band (number one), Best Tour (number two), Best Album Cover (number one), Best Hard Rock/Metal Band (number one), Best Rock Artist (number one), Best New Artist (number one), Year's Biggest Hype (number one) and Best Video ("Mind's Eye", number two). Frontman Andrew Stockdale also featured in the poll for Best Dressed (number three).

The band's next single was "White Unicorn", released on 26 February, which charted lower than its predecessor, at number thirty-three. The band also released a second EP, Dimensions, on 2 March. Wolfmother was not released outside of Australia until 24 April in the United Kingdommarker, 2 May in the United Statesmarker, and 12 June in Europe. In the UK it peaked at number twenty-five and in the US at number twenty-two.

Thanks to the success of their album and singles, Wolfmother's music has been featured in many video games, films and commercials. "Love Train" featured in an iPod commercial; "Woman" was included on such video games as Guitar Hero II, MotorStorm, Pure, Saints Row 2, Tony Hawk's Project 8 and NHL 07; "Dimension" featured in the film School for Scoundrels and in video games FlatOut 2, and Rugby 06; and "Joker & the Thief" appeared in films Jackass Number Two, Shoot 'Em Up, Shrek the Third and The Hangover and video games Need for Speed: Carbon, Rock Band, and MLB 07: The Show, as well as commercials for both Mitsubishi and Peugeot cars.

The band performed at big-name local and international festivals in 2006, including SXSW, Big Day Out, Sasquatch! Music Festival, Roskilde Festivalmarker, Lowlandsmarker, Splendour in the Grass, Fuji Rock Festival, Lollapalooza, Reading and Leeds Festivals, V Festival, Download Festival and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festivalmarker where they were cited as the 'breakout' band of the year. On 25 September, bassist Chris Ross' wife had a baby, which meant the band had to cancel or postpone many of their upcoming tour dates. During this break, Wolfmother released their final single from the self-titled album, "Joker and the Thief", which peaked at #8 in Australia, their highest position to date. The band resumed touring on 4 November in the United Kingdom. Wolfmother also won three awards (Best Breakthrough Album, Best Rock Album and Best Group) from five nominations at the 2006 ARIA Music Awards. On 14 November, when legendary hard rock band Led Zeppelin were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame, they asked Wolfmother to appear as their guests. The band covered Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown", a common song on the band's set lists of previous and subsequent.

The 2006 Triple J Hottest 100 was announced on 26 January 2007, in which Wolfmother appeared twice ("Woman (MSTRKRFT Remix)", #55; "Love Train", #80). At the 49th Annual Grammy Awards held in February, Wolfmother won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for "Woman". On 30 March it was announced that Wolfmother had written a new song entitled "Pleased to Meet You" especially for upcoming film Spider-Man 3, for which it was featured in the official soundtrack.

On 28 May, the band performed on Pinkpopmarker's main stage. The band played on the first day (8 June) of the Download Festival. On 28 June, the band headlined at Summerfest in Milwaukeemarker, Wisconsinmarker. Finishing up their US Tour in Detroitmarker, Michiganmarker on 30 June. On 7 July, they performed on the Australian leg of the Live Earth concerts in Sydneymarker. Stockdale said in an interview "That will be our last show for this album. We will find out what a green note sounds like on the next record."

Wolfmother released their first DVD on 1 September in Australia, 10 September in the UK and 20 November in the US; Please Experience Wolfmother Live features footage from the band's performance at the Hordern Pavilionmarker in Sydney. Other live shows, music videos and an interview are included in the bonus features.

Hiatus and lineup change (2008–2009)

On 12 April 2008, Wolfmother played at the Andy Warhol Up Late program after taking a nine month break from touring. Four new songs were played: "Back Round", "Violence of the Sun", "Monolith", and "Inside the Mountain".

Despite an earlier article by Rolling Stone magazine which stated that the band was currently recording their new album and that 10 songs had been chosen, it was confirmed on a Wolfmother fan site that the band had not begun proper recording sessions for the album yet.

On 4 August, following the band's performance at Splendour In The Grass, popular Australian radio station Triple J speculated that rumours about the band were true, with a lineup change imminent. An interview was scheduled by the station, though later canceled by the band's manager, stating "The band is dealing with some internal issues at the moment. They’re hoping to resolve them in the next few weeks but in the meantime it just wouldn't be appropriate for any member to be doing any interviews – even with Triple J." On 5 August, in a statement to Undercover, manager John Watson announced that a change was coming, explaining "Unfortunately I can't make any comment other than to say that as soon as the band has clear future plans they will issue a statement and we hope to be able to do that in the next week or two".

On 7 August, the band's record label, Universal Records, announced that drummer Myles Heskett and bassist/keyboardist Chris Ross had decided to leave the band due to "irreconcilable differences," and that Stockdale planned on searching for a new line up over the coming months as well as continue working on new material. Ross and Heskett played a one-off show as "Doom Buggy". Ross and Heskett are now working on their new band, Palace of Fire, adding the guitar and vocals of Matt Blackman. A new four-piece band featuring Stockdale, a second guitarist Aiden Nemeth and Ian Peres as bassist and keyboardist (in the same mould as Chris Ross) and a drummer, Dave Atkins from the Resin Dogs all performed on 6 February. The band, billed as White Feather performed again, in Sydney, on 8 February. During both performances, the band played five original songs and six new songs, possibly from their next album. Two of the songs were previously played during the original line up. The four previously unheard of songs were "Pilgrim", "Phoenix", "Far Away" and the band's cover name "White Feather". The band has booked Brisbane's Valley Studios to complete writing and recording the album.

Cosmic Egg (2009–present)

The session players started officially on 5 January 2009 and were confirmed as guitarist Aidan Nemeth, bassist and keyboardist Ian Peres and drummer Dave Atkins in February. On 24 February it was confirmed that the band would perform at two benefit concerts to be held in Melbourne and Sydney on 14 March for Sound Relief, supporting victims of the Victorian bushfires. The new lineup is due to begin recording its first album at the beginning of March; approximately eighteen songs, described as "heav[y]" and "riff driven", have been written by Stockdale for these sessions. The reformed group also headlined the Clipsal 500 event in Adelaide in March 2009. The new Wolfmother also played a new song confirmed as Back Round live at the MTV Australia Awards on the 27th of March. In an interview Stockdale said that he and his bandmates were leaving for L.A. the next day to start recording. The song Back Round has been released as a free digital download on the Wolfmother official site. The song will also be the first single off the upcoming album. According to an update by Stockdale on Twitter, the new album will be a double album containing at least eighteen tracks; it will also contain the songs "Inside the Mountain", "The Violence of the Sun" and "Pilgrim", as were mentioned on the Twitter page. In an interview with NME, Andrew Stockdale stated that the new album will be titled Cosmic Egg. In relation to the title, Stockdale said, "I did a yoga class and one of the poses we were doing was called 'cosmic egg', and I thought yeah, that's it. It's like the fetal pose".

Wolfmother are touring North America supporting The Killers this summer, and they are touring Australia in 2010 supporting AC/DC on their Black Ice World Tour. They will be performing in Melbournemarker, Sydneymarker, Brisbanemarker, Adelaidemarker, and Perthmarker.

Australia's triple j radio played the worldwide radio exclusive of Wolfmother's first single "New Moon Rising" from their album 'Cosmic Egg' on Thursday 13th August 2009. The track has now been released for streaming on AOL's Spinner site.

On September 4, 2009, Beck announced his second Record Club covers album, Songs of Leonard Cohen. Andrew Stockdale will contribute, alongside Devendra Banhart, MGMT and Binki Shapiro of Little Joy. On October 4, 2009, Wolfmother performed at the 2009 NRL Grand Final. Wolfmother will be playing Voodoo Fest 2009 held at City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana over Halloween weekend.

Critical response

Since the release of their first album, the band has gained much success, with reviews being mostly favourable. James Gange of music magazine Maelstrom, favourably noted the band to be similar to psychedelic rock group Blue Cheer, that they were "more like Blue Cheer put in ten times the effort and creativity" partly disagreeing with comparisons to blues/hard rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.Chris Nixon of the San Diego Union-Tribune also responded favorably to the band's rock sound comparing it to "the pre-punk angst of MC5 and Steppenwolf s hard-edged psychedelia" and that they add "sparkle with modern recording techniques", comparing them with Kyuss, early Queens Of The Stone Age. Allmusic s Eduardo Rivadavia notes the similarities between Wolfmother's original power trio and Blue Cheer's sound. E.C. Gladstone of Rhino Entertainment s The R'Zine thought the Sabbath, Led Zeppelin comparisons were partly vague and "pretty limiting", noting Wolfmother to be influenced by a mix of "bluesrock ooze", including Yes, MC5, The Nice, Blue Cheer, Jethro Tull and Grand Funk, and "the best version of great rock available at the moment." A review by Total Guitar s Phil Ascott calls Wolfmother's music "ruddy marvellous", and Pitchfork s Cory Byroum praises them for "how capably they strike a balance between meaty vintage metal and crisp, stoner-rock melodies". Others hold that their music is too derivative of 70's rock; a Stylus Magazine review by Patrick McNally states "everything there is to say about them is best said by immediate reference to another band and Wolfmother always come up short in the comparison", Another Allmusic review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine is more critical, calling their music "precious, inarticulate, [and] confused" when compared to that of their musical influences, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Cream and Black Sabbath.

Wolfmother has responded to the accusations about the perceived derivative nature of their music, "[We] don't pretend that we're [Led Zeppelin/Black Sabbath]… There's similarities in our sound, but we're not trying to emulate them at all." Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke stated in a 2006 interview with Mojo magazine that he is a fan of Wolfmother. In 2007, Alice Cooper described Wolfmother's sound to Guy Blackman of The Sydney Morning Herald, stating that they are "like a teenage Jimi Hendrix, Steppenwolf kind of band".

In his 'List of the Day', Yahoo! critic Rob O'Connor noted them as number 15 on his list of 'The Greatest Australian Acts'. Furthermore, he compared their sound to be more reminiscent of psychedelic rock bands like Blue Cheer, Toe Fat Revival, Bloodrock and Frijid Pink, rather than comparing them to straightforward hard rock bands like Black Sabbath. Despite previous criticisms of the band, The EG magazine section of The Age newspaper listed Wolfmother's debut album at number 4 on its list of Top 10 Australian Albums, with each of the selections dubbed the best 'highlights of the decade'.

Influences

Yahoo! music critic Rob O'Connor has traced Wolfmother's sound to '60s psychedelic rock bands like Blue Cheer, Toe Fat, Bloodrock and Frijid Pink.Guitarist Andrew Stockdale noted in a Triple J interview, that '90s stoner metal band Kyuss was highly influential on their sound, noting the band's second album would follow with "Kyuss kinda riffs".The works of Jimi Hendrix have been influential in the works of Wolfmother, with lyrical references to Purple Haze in their song Dimension . While Wolfmother has been identified as being influenced by '70s rock bands such as Black Sabbath and AC/DC, and their official MySpace lists their influences to include mostly '60s groups such as: Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and The Who, as well as newer acts, including The Avalanches, Radiohead, The White Stripes, Kings of Leon and stoner metal band Kyuss. They also featured the French electronic group Daft Punk in their MySpace list of influences.Andrew Stockdale also lists The Doors as a major influence, stating they were one of his favourite bands growing up.During Stockdale's appearance on ABC's My Favourite Album, Stockdale stated AC/DC's T.N.T. to be a favourite, claiming it gave him "shivers".Andrew Stockdale has described the band's sound as "a mix of the playfulness of Earth Wind and Fire with the intensity of Black Flag".

Band members

Current members
Former members


Session musicians
  • Dave Sardypercussion on "Colossal", "Where Eagles Have Been", "Vagabond" and "Love Train" (2005)
  • Lenny Castro – percussion on "Apple Tree", "Witchcraft" and "Love Train" (2005)
  • Dan Higgins – flute on "Witchcraft" (2005)
  • Ben Tolliday – additional bass on "Back Round" (2009)


Discography



Awards

Upon its release, Wolfmother's debut album won the 2005 J Award for Best Australian Album. Also in 2005, the song "Woman" was nominated for Single of the Year and Best Breakthrough Artist – Single at the ARIA Awards, eventually losing out to Ben Lee's "Catch My Disease" and End of Fashion's "O Yeah", respectively. In 2006 Wolfmother's Australian success continued – they received nominations for Spankin' New Aussie Artist, Best New Group and Best Rock Video (for "Mind's Eye") at the MTV Australia Awards; and were nominated for the Jack Award for Best Live Band. At the 2006 ARIA Awards, the band won Best Breakthrough Album, Best Rock Album (both for Wolfmother) and Best Group, and received nominations for Album of the Year (for Wolfmother) and Single of the Year (for "Mind's Eye") – a total of three wins from five nominations.

In 2007, Wolfmother received their first award nominations from outside of their home country. At the 2007 BRIT Awards, they were nominated for the award for International Breakthrough Act, ultimately losing out to American band Orson. In the United States, the band won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 2007 ceremony for their song "Woman". Wolfmother were re-nominated for Best Live Band at the 2007 Jack Awards, and this time the trio won it. Several nominations were again received at the MTV Australias, this time for Best Group, Viewer's Choice Award, Best Rock Video and Video of the Year (both for "Joker & the Thief"). In 2008 Wolfmother received one award from one nomination – the APRA Award for Most Played Australian Work Overseas, for their song "Woman".

APRA Awards
The annual APRA Awards are presented by the Australasian Performing Right Association. Wolfmother has received three awards from three nominations.

2006 Andrew Stockdale

Chris Ross

Myles Heskett
Breakthrough Songwriter Award
2007 Songwriter of the Year
2008 "Woman" Most Played Australian Work Overseas

ARIA Music Awards
The annual ARIA Music Awards are presented by the Australian Recording Industry Association. Wolfmother has received three awards from ten nominations.

2005 "Woman" Single of the Year
Best Breakthrough Artist – Single
2006 Wolfmother Best Breakthrough Album
Best Rock Album
Album of the Year
Wolfmother Best Group
"Mind's Eye" Single of the Year
2007 Wolfmother Best Group
"Joker & the Thief" Highest Selling Single
2008 Please Experience Wolfmother Live Best Music DVD

BRIT Awards
The annual BRIT Awards are presented by the British Phonographic Industry. Wolfmother has received one nomination.

Wolfmother International Breakthrough Act

Grammy Awards
The annual Grammy Awards are presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Wolfmother has received one award from one nomination.

"Woman" Best Hard Rock Performance

J Award
The annual J Award is presented by Australian radio station Triple J. Wolfmother has received one award from one nomination.

2005 Wolfmother Best Australian Album

Jack Awards
The annual Jack Awards are presented in Australia and sponsored by American Tennessee whiskey company Jack Daniel'smarker. Wolfmother has received one award from two nominations.

2006 Wolfmother Best Live Band
2007 Wolfmother Best Live Band

MTV Australia Awards
The annual MTV Australia Awards are presented by television channel MTV Australia. Wolfmother has received seven nominations.

2006 Wolfmother Spankin' New Aussie Artist
Best Group
"Mind's Eye" Best Rock Video
2007 Wolfmother Best Group
Viewers' Choice Award
"Joker & the Thief" Best Rock Video
Video of the Year

References

  1. http://www.myspace.com/palaceoffire
  2. Beck, MGMT & Banhart cover Leonard Cohen
  3. http://www.nme.com/news/eminem/45776
  4. http://www.metacritic.com/music/artists/wolfmother/wolfmother
  5. http://maelstrom.nu/ezine/review_iss30_2129.php
  6. http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060608/news_lz1w08wolf.html
  7. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&searchlink=WOLFMOTHER&sql=11:jbfixquald0e~T1
  8. E.C. Gladstone, Wolfmother Debut Album, Rhino Zine Review, Issue #806, Rhino Records, http://www.rhino.com/rzine/storykeeper.lasso?StoryID=806
  9. Wolfmother React To People Comparing Them To Led Zep | News @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com
  10. Ghost in the Machine
  11. Alice Cooper - Gig Reviews - Music - Entertainment - smh.com.au
  12. http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/listoftheday/100064/the-25-greatest-australian-acts/
  13. http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/listoftheday/100064/the-25-greatest-australian-acts/
  14. The EG, in THE AGE, 18 April 2008, pg. 13
  15. http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/listoftheday/100064/the-25-greatest-australian-acts/
  16. Andrew Stockdale interview, Triple J Breakfast, Robbie, Brian Davenport, Marieke and The Doctor, 29/2/09, Triple J.
  17. Purple Haze, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced, 1967, Track Records
  18. MySpace.com - Wolfmother - Sydney, AU - Tropicale / Psychédélique / Rock - www.myspace.com/wolfmother
  19. The Hard, Fast Rise of Wolfmother: Gibson Interviews Andrew Stockdale
  20. My Favourite Album, 12 December 2006, Australian Broadcasting Corporation(ABC). More info at: http://www.abc.net.au/myfavouritealbum/top100.htm


External links




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