Rachael-O-Rama Lucky #13 brings you a band that will soon be your favorite; Joyous Wolf. They have a strong modern/alternative rock sound – think Black Crowes meets Soundgarden meets Screaming Trees meets Jimmy Page – all with a modern twist to make it their own.
Locally, the band blew up once radio juggernaut KLOS started playing “Mother Rebel.” Things have just never been the same since that fateful moment that their music made it to the airwaves. Things have definitely changed, all for the better.
Before we heard them on the radio, we need to go back to the beginning to understand how the band came to be. Joyous Wolf formed in Orange County in 2014, their social media reads “They have created their own hybrid of hard driving rock & roll, soul, blues, and alternative music. Heavily influenced by artists spanning not only various genres, but literally decades of music, their electric live performances would take them from the clubs of the Sunset Strip to international tours, earning them a recording deal with Roadrunner Records in 2018.”
I caught up with golden-piped, front-man Nick Reese to find out more about the band, their past, present and their very promising future.
NICK REESE | JOYOUS WOLF
As for the name Joyous Wolf, it came as a result of an online name generator in 2014. Nick said they generated names like, Global Death and Intense Resentment. Eventually, it was Joyous Wolf that made the cut.
Nick, Greg and Robert all went to school together in some regard in their childhood, but Nick met guitarist, Blake at the Guitar Center in Orange, CA. They were both trying out the hands-on display guitars in the backroom because it was a quiet area (the rest of the store was booming with customers touching anything that made noise). Nick had brought his own guitar tuner and offered it to Blake. There they struck up a conversation that ended with exchanging info to keep each other informed if they were ever in a band and needed assistance with guitar or singing. Low and behold, a few months later Nick was in need of a guitarist and knew just who to call, and the rest is history. We joked with Nick that if it wasn’t for that fleeting act of kindness, his life might be completely different. (Take note boys and girls, this proves you never know who or what will happen when you offer others a small token of assistance!)
FATE LENDS A HAND
“We first discovered these OC rockers on “The Heidi & Frank Show” Stay or Go feature. They went on to play the show’s birthday bash and blew the roof off The Regent. Joyous Wolf now has a well-deserved, national footprint and we think it’s just the beginning for them. Nick’s voice is ferocious, the rest of the band is equally talented, and they are very strong songwriters. Strong melody with big crunch – it’s a powerful combo.”
Keith Cunningham, Program Director
CHECK OUT KLOS
Since all the guys in Joyous Wolf grew up in Orange County, they are a product of the popular OC music scene. They started out playing at very young ages. They have a cohesive sonic vision that is coupled with being uber-talented musicians. The effort they put in to be as accomplished as they are at a relatively young age is evident.
As for Nick, he started singing as a teenager where (very surprisingly) he didn’t think he was that good… and neither did his parents. Truth is, we’ve all been there. As parents we have to prepare our kids for the future and we’ve all had to have “the talk.” When your kid is a soon-to-be rock star, that conversation takes on entirely different dynamic. As the story goes that will soon be folklore, Nick’s folks sat him down and carefully tried in the best “parenty” way possible to break it to Nick that singing may not be in his future. Maybe singing should be a “Plan B.” To Nick’s credit, he powered through that, he said, “After they told me that, it really pissed me off, so I made sure to keep singing every goddamn day and I never stopped!” As a parent, sometimes your kids make you proud and surprise you with their perseverance and fortitude.
After spending 2019 with 120 shows in seven months, and 2020 at home to hone their musical skills, they feel that now is the perfect time to come out with their first full-length album on Roadrunner Records. He said the metamorphosis of Joyous Wolf that we are going to see in the upcoming album will be huge.
When asked about the new album writing process, Nick says, “Our main goal is wanting to write good songs. We are a lot more disciplined; we are just trying to write the best modern rock songs we can. We are at constant odds with everyone saying our genre is ‘dead’ but I read years ago where someone wrote that rock music is creatively bankrupt and to me that resonated a lot. It’s going to be stuck in my head forever. If I’m not bringing something to the table then I’ll just quit.”
Although Nick was tight lipped with details about the upcoming album, he did tell me that they are over their tour fatigue and are closer than ever, “We are more on the same dial now than we ever were before” Reese says about the band members, “Because of all this, I know this new album is the best that anyone will hear from us to date.”
When asked how they got started in this “comeback movement of rock and roll,” or that they sound like a good “throwback” band, Nick says, “I never got the memo.” He jokes, “We just play what we like.”
Nick isn’t your typical rock star. In fact, none of these guys are because they are just four down-to-earth dudes that have long hair, like to rock out and play video games. But for Nick, he has a few particular stage ensemble necessities that you don’t hear about every day. He exclusively wears shoes with buckles “because laces are stupid.” Why? He told us, “I was getting ready for a show and I couldn’t find my shoes. All I could find were these fancy, dress-up shoes or ‘church shoes’ as my dad would call them, that my dad had loaned me for something that he had in the back of his closet since the ‘80s and now that’s all I wear.” He also loves to wear mesh shirts. Not only do they look rad, but they help keep him cool on stage under the hot lights while he dances (more on that below).
Nick learned early on to shake what his mama gave him. Since he’s an athletic guy, he wanted to hit the stage of their first festival with a bang. He thought, “I wonder if I can do a back hand spring?” He did what anyone else would do and watched a YouTube tutorial right before he tried it… then another on front hand springs, then a front hand spring into the splits. So now, as you can see in their video, “Mississippi Queen,” he looks like Simone Biles in a sweet embroidered, red-velvet suit (and buckled shoes) from the moment he turns around to belt out the first line! He says, “I come from the school of Elvis, Gene Kelly, James Brown and Cab Callaway. Those guys knew how to move on stage, so it just comes naturally to dance around.”
Nick said he loves to spend free time singing covers that you wouldn’t normally expect (no shocker here after learning about his wardrobe choices). Joyous Wolf does an outstanding cover of Stone Temple Pilots’ “Interstate Love Song” that they recently posted to their social media. It is well worth checking out! Since Nick loves to break expectations of himself, he has covered – among many others – Etta James’ “At Last” and Sarah McLachlan’s “When She Loved Me” (yes, the song from “Toy Story 2”). He says he loves singing songs that most people would think sound weird coming from him. A song like “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” wouldn’t normally come from a man, especially with such a deep voice, so he’s not sure if he will do it. But, after hearing this, we begged him to cover it, and he says he will. For now we’ll just wait patiently with our fingers crossed (can you imagine how awesome that would sound?!).
Nick left us with one little anecdote, “I don’t want to exude rock stardom. I love to play ‘Pokemon MMO’ and have a level 27 Tepig. Someone somewhere will totally know what that means and appreciate it. We were once on tour with Deep Purple and we would play the band’s favorite videogame during our off time, ‘Super Smash Bros.’ It’s ‘our game.’ We play it at practice during our breaks, and take our all of our frustration out on this super competitive game. When the guy would come in to tell us, ‘Okay, 10 minutes to stage’, he’d walk in to find us four grown men plopped on the floor, glued to the TV, all playing this videogame getting defensive for someone interrupting us (laughs). We are very boring. We went to Joshua Tree as a band retreat to start writing the new album. In an interview talking about it later, we were asked if we did psychedelics while we were out there and we said, ‘No, we just played video games and only went on one hike.’” Knowing that these guys are just like us and put their pants on one leg at a time only makes us like them more, however, judging by his stage moves, we’re pretty sure Nick could put his pants on both legs at a time with his buckle shoes on.
Bottom line, Joyous Wolf is simply electrifying and these guys do bring the noise. The band features Nick Reese (vocals), Blake Allard (guitar), Greg Braccio (bass), Robert Sodaro (drums). Collectively, they can capture a crowd with their onstage presence and dynamic signature sound.
In the meantime, we can’t wait for the new Joyous Wolf album to come out, and see the artistry the band worked so hard on to create for us to enjoy.