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Don Wolf (White Wolf)

Interview with Don Wolf from White Wolf
by Grigoris Chronis at 27 August 2007, 4:32 PM

WHITE WOLF is the kind of band not lucky enough to enjoy wordlwide success in the 80s. Despite the fact many bands of that era reunite only to record mediocre albums in the 00's, this is not the case for this wonderful Canadian piece. Victim Of The Spotlight is an excellent Hard/Heavy album (old-school, of course) and I wonder what the band's mainman, Don Wolf, has to say for WHITE WOLF's aim in the 21st century.

Don, I must say I was more than surprised to see this fine 80s Canadian Hard ’n’ Heavy act returning with a brand new CD, called Victim Of The Spotlight. First of all, under what circumstances is WHITE WOLF back on the spot again?

Actually, the idea was brought up in conversations that I had back and forth with Khalil Turk at Escape Music. He was a big fan in the past and thought it would be great if WHITE WOLF could do another recording that they didn’t get to do before they broke up in 1987. I had not really stayed in contact with Cam (the guitarist and co-writer with me) for many, many years after the break-up but just knew that he was still involved in music.

I decided that it would be great to get another chance to record some great songs and possibly play a few dates, so I placed a phone call to Cam Macleod and the thoughts the band had 20 years ago had been magically resurrected. I have dealt with Khalil Turk now for over ten years on a few other projects that I worked on (one being PROJECT X’s Blueprint For Xcess) and he was always a WHITE WOLF fan from way back when the band first released Standing Alone. I had spoken with him about possibly releasing a basement tapes type CD of some songs that WHITE WOLF had never fully recorded, and when I sent him a sample he loved a lot of the songs and agreed to have all of the songs we gave him, recorded as a new WHITE WOLF release.

So, are all of the album’s songs newly ’penned’, or there are some dating back to the 80s? Really, what was your motive writing music for WHITE WOLF after - virtually - 20(!) years? Did you write all the tunes by yourself?


Some were songs that Cam and I had recorded as a demo shortly after the band broke up and some are newer songs that we had and some that I wrote with other writers. There was some material that never came to light after the band had left RCA/BMG, so they were reworked and brought up to date, but we kept on writing and we used some of the new ideas we came up with to finish off the songs for this recording. With this one we stuck basically with what we do best and that is Cam and I writing together.

There were a couple of the songs that I had co-written with musicians I worked with on my solo project and in the past that also made it on this recording. I am always open to writing with other people, so if there is anyone that wants to all they have to do is contact me and I would gladly work together to come up with as many songs and ideas as possible. In fact there has been word already of us starting to write for another WHITE WOLF CD soon, so we may write some songs with the GREAT musicians that we are currently using in the WHITE WOLF touring band.

The Victim Of The Spotlight material surely has the WHITE WOLF stamp on it, and I can’t keep but ask: do you think this kind of music can apply to the new generation’s wants? You live in the American continent and surely know what today’s Rock/Metal fans want. Are you afraid WHITE WOLF’s music may sound too ’retro’?

Well, there has been a big resurgence of the 80’s style of Rock and Metal and there are more and more of the new generation of fans turning towards bands of that era. It is not the Flavour Of The Month in North America but there still is a big fan base here. I find that Europe and Japan have always held on to the Hard Rock/Metal music! I think that the songs can stand on their own today.

Can you give us some info on the recording process of the new album? First of all, what’s the ’new’ WHITE WOLF lineup?

Khalil arranged to have some GREAT musicians from Sweden: producer/guitarist Martin Kronlund, drummer Imre Daun and keyboardist/Bassist Rikard Quist did record all of the bed tracks for us, and they did a wonderful job!

I did my vocals here in Vancouver and then sent the tracks to Cam in Edmonton and then all back to Martin to finish and mix! It truly is an international album. Martin produced the CD.

As far as the Touring band goes we have a GREAT lineup of musicians:

Don Wolf - Vocals
Cam MacLeod - Lead Guitars and Vocals
Scott Webb (FREAKS BY NATURE, DON WOLF solo) - Rhythm and Lead Guitars and Back Up Vocals
Russell Bergquist (ANNIHILATOR, FREAKS BY NATURE, DUSK MACHINE) - Bass Guitar and Back Up Vocals
Brendan Ostrander (PROJECT X, DON WOLF solo, DANIEL POWTER) - Drums and Back Up Vocals
David J. Petovar (WHITE WOLF, BITTER SUITE) - Keyboards and Back Up Vocals

It will be an awesome band! We are also planning some warm-up dates here in Canada and are doing a WHITE WOLF reunion in Edmonton Alberta on August 17th, 2007, where the band originally based out of back in 1984.

I see! Now, where did you record the album and who handled the production duties?

The CD was recorded in Sweden and Martin produced it.

Did you take your time or feel you - sometimes - were in a hurry?

At some points there was a bit of the feeling of getting it done in a hurry when we first started, but after we got into it we felt we needed to make this as special as we could and as good as we could.

Do you believe 80s Canadian Hard Rock/Metal fans will be pleased by WHITE WOLF back on the spot? Did you have any feedback so far from fans, friends etc?

By some of the E-mails I have received and by some of the reviews, I feel very good with the response that we have gotten so far, as the CD has just been released in Europe and the UK and has been out since the end of June in Japan. I think that they will be pleased!

A question out of curiosity: Did you have a dilemma of writing up-to-date music for the new WHITE WOLF? You know, something that would attract a greater amount of Media interest.

I don’t think we had a real dilemma as we just wanted to make good solid music and great songs! That is the key. The fans are the ones buying the CDs with their hard-earned money, and we want to make sure they get what they pay for.

Furthermore, do you feel a musician/band should adjust his/their songwriting mode to the requirements of each era? Many bands seem to do so, while some carry on with what they do better in doing all these years.

That’s a hard decision for a musician to make and I have thought of this many times. I do like to experiment and I think that writers should, as that always adds to the sound that the band has. You have to do what you do best I think.

Really, have you set up a plan for Victim Of The Spotlight’s distribution? Escape Music is responsible for the European market, but what about the rest of the world?


IT’ll be released in Japan on King records and we are looking at other territories. We don’t have anything in North America yet, but fans can purchase our cds and merchandise on our personal WHITE WOLF website.

Don, how do you keep our voice in such shape? I was thrilled to hear your singing in the new album!

Thank you very, very much! I try and stay in shape by working out and doing lots of cardio. This helps with the lungs and overall health. I feel my voice has matured somewhat and I feel good about how it sounds! I always warm up before singing and try not to drink any alcohol or coffee etc when I have to sing. I don’t smoke (bad, bad)!!! My wife and kids and my music keep me young! Ha ha!

I had even put together a set of warm up CDs for vocalists to sell on a website of mine called Ultimate Vocal (website). It gives a singer various different warm up exercises and examples for their voice, from beginner to advanced!

Related: few people know your post-WHITE WOLF deeds. Can you tell us a thing or two regarding each step you took?

I went on to a number of other projects, including POINT OF POWER, PROJECT X and my solo album called Making Changes in 1998. I also worked with various producers including Bruce Fairbairn here in Vancouver, adding backing vocals on the multi-platinum release Flesh & Blood, by POISON.

Well, I have kept very busy since then, staying somewhat in the music industry and helping my wife raise our two beautiful children: Aiden, 9 and a half, and Callie, 6 and a half! My love of my family and my two children, inspires me musically. I love music and music is my life! My nine-year-old son has been singing since he was a baby, and at his young age of 9 and a half, has a tremendous Voice (I wonder where he got it from?? Ha Ha)! I should get him recording some Hard Rock soon?? Ha Ha!! My daughter is a true, 6 year old rocker!

But first of all, after WHITE WOLF officially broke up, I decided that a move was in order and left Edmonton for Vancouver Canada. This was in March of 1988. I felt I needed a change and Vancouver seemed to be the best. I formed a band that later became POINT OF POWER, which released a DC in Japan on the Alpha label and also in Canada on the MCA label called It’s About Time. I was lucky enough during this time to actually work with the famous Bruce Fairbairn. Then, in 1996-1997 I got together with Kenny Kaos Loney and we wrote the songs that ended up on the PROJECT X CD, Blueprint For Xcess. That was well received in Japan and in Europe and the UK. After this release, I decided it was time to write and release the solo project I had always wanted to do! So, gathering some of the top musicians that I have worked with in the past, including Steve Crane (POINT OF POWER) on guitars and Brendan Ostrander (DANIEL POWTER) on drums, I wrote and recorded Making Changes. This CD was co-produced by John Shepp at Utopia Parkway Studios, in Vancouver British Columbia! After that I produced various projects in and around the Vancouver area.

In 2004 my vocals were used to help a friend named David Petovar with a new project called BITTER SUITE, featuring a host of other musicians including George Criston of KICK AXE. David will be playing keyboards in the new WHITE WOLF touring band. Now, in 2006 I reunited with lead guitarist and co-writer Cam MacLeod, and the rest is history for the new WHITE WOLF release, titled Victim Of The Spotlight. We always new what each other was doing musically, but decided that now was the time to get together and bring WHITE WOLF back into the spotlight.

Did the rest of the WHITE WOLF lineup stepped on to further bands/projects after WHITE WOLF disbanded in 1988?

I knew that none of the other members of WHITE WOLF had continued on with music in any way, shape or form other than Cam, and so it was an easy decision to make when it came to recording the CD, and now picking musicians to play as the new WHITE WOLF band!

How do you see the two WHITE WOLF ’classic’ albums now? You know, in terms of both sales and recognition?

I think both WHITE WOLF albums were classic, especially Standing Alone! It sold over 250,000 copies worldwide for RCA/BMG. Endangered Species started to do well but was never given the chance when RCA was bought out. The rest is history!

But, for a second time, RCA/BMG Japan has re-released both WHITE WOLF releases on CD as a limited edition ’Vinyl Miniature’ release. The first re-release was in 1996 (7,000-8,000 copies sold of each re-release) on CD and now again both were re-released on March 21st of 2007, as ’Vinyl Miniatures’. They sold very well over there in Japan and continue to do so. Funny, since WHITE WOLF never got a chance to tour there!

Canada always had this unique characteristic of exporting great bands to the rest of the world: from AOR/Pomp Rock outfits to Speed/Thrash Metal acts, Canadian bands always had the ability of writing good music with great energy. You feel there’s a special reason for this?

When the band and I were first staring out, Canada had such a healthy music scene in the clubs in all of the cities! A band could play 6 nights a week in any given club. A lot of them catered to a band performing their own original material and after playing 6 nights a week, 3 to 4 sets a night, and up to 365 days a year, a lot of us Canadian bands got real tight playing as a unit. We had that advantage over a lot of other bands from the USA and other territories! It was hard work but paid off in the end!

Which Canadian bands would you recommend being most ’classic’ now, in the Rock/Hard Rock/Heavy Metal field?

Wow, there are a lot! I mean, look at some of the bands that went on to become huge:

RUSH, SAGA (not really Hard Rock/Metal but an awesome band!), ANNIHILATOR (Jeff is still working very hard!), HEADPINS when Brian MacLeod was behind the project with Darby Mills, early bands like MOXY, A FOOT IN COLD WATER (they were one of my favourites), TRIUMPH, MAX WEBSTER, FRANK MARINO & MAHOGANY RUSH, KICK AXE, KILLER DWARFS, HELIX…and the list goes on and on!

We’d really love to see WHITE WOLF back on the streets, in Europe? Is there any chance you’ll set up a tour for promoting the new album?

There is always a chance if the promoters and the fans want us!!! With the show we are doing for the United Forces Of Rock festival in Germany, on September 30th, it will show all of the promoters and fans that WHITE WOLF is an actual band again and that we are ready should they want us to come over, be it Europe or Japan, to play some live shows. That would be wonderful. I just spoke with Khalil the other day, and there is talk at the moment of some possible dates in Europe in February of 2008. I guess we just wait and see?

Don, thanks a lot for your precious time! Anything you’d like to add?

I just want to say that it is a fantastic feeling to have a new WHITE WOLF release, and the thought of doing shows in Europe and possibly Japan is amazing. We have a lot more to say musically and if the fans want it, we will continue on writing, recording and releasing material for them to listen and rock to! We definitely don’t want this to be just a studio project. We would love to do more live dates to see our fans again. We have a great touring band that we are currently rehearsing and again, we have a spot at the United Forces Of Rock festival at the Rockfabrik venue in Ludwigsburg (near Stuttgart), Germany, on September 30th of this year! Very exciting.

We hope that Escape Records and King Records (in Japan) will be OK and help us put together a video or two for this CD. It would be nice for our fans to have some videos of this release.

Thanks for all of your questions and I hope to meet you all at some point soon. Hope you like the new CD. For more info, go to our official website: http://www.whitewolfworld.com.

Thanks again,
Don!



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