St. Louis Punk Band Wants to Rock ‘Dangerous’ | Music news and interviews | Saint Louis


Courtesy of The Yowl

The Yowl will finally celebrate their second album, It’s Rock and Roll, Babies!, on Saturday on Off Broadway.

They say don’t meet your heroes. Instead, Bobby Wofford, lead singer of St. Louis-based punk rock band The Yowl, worked with them.

Originally from Salem, Wofford grew up on Chuck Berry. His father often took him to see Berry live in Blueberry Hill, a tradition that continued even as Wofford grew older. Over time, Wofford became acquainted with Berry’s live pianist, whom he credits with helping introduce The Yowl to the St. Louis music scene.

In 2011, The Yowl returned to Blueberry Hill as opening act for Berry.

“That was super cool,” Wofford says, joking that he could have quit then and been satisfied. “I feel like if you’re from Missouri, [Chuck Berry is] in your blood.

The early 2000s found Wofford in Los Angeles, where he played in another band with bassist Heath Lanyon, future co-founder of The Yowl. During this period, they developed a relationship with Wayne Kramer, a guitarist for American proto-punk rock band MC5 – and coincidentally, one of the band’s biggest inspirations. When the pair formed The Yowl in their home state of Missouri several years later, Kramer’s guidance was “integral” to their success.

“He’s just been a really cool mentor,” Wofford says.

It’s been over a decade since Wofford and Lanyon founded The Yowl. During this time, the group took on the mentorship of their idols and carved out a brand of their own. At their core, The Yowl’s sound is a mix of classic punk and rock ‘n’ roll. His self-titled debut album (Industrial Amusement, 2015) features all the basic elements of a rugged punk album: agonizing guitar, a driving tempo and vocals that sound like they’ve been shouted from rooftops or drenched in smoke. cigarette. Follow titles such as “Money, Power, War!” and “Lips of the Apocalypse” cement the album as a modern feat of classic punk. Many of his tracks have been featured on the soundtracks of shows such as Shameless, Criminal Minds and Survivor.

With his latest album, It’s rock and roll, babies! (Sioux Records, 2021), released in the summer of 2021, The Yowl continues this legacy and incorporates elements of psychedelic rock. The sophomore effort does not mark a departure from the first album. Rather, it’s a continuation of the band’s creative vision and an opportunity to see what they can achieve in the punk-rock genre.

“I think we’re going to keep the rock and roll element going and maybe make rock and roll dangerous, or something like that,” Wofford says.

The Yowl draws inspiration from psychedelic and punk rock pioneers such as Iggy and the Stooges, MC5 and Roky Erickson. The latter holds a special place in the band’s heart, as Yowl lead guitarist Eli Southard and drummer Matt Long both toured with Erickson’s band during the last years of his life. Wofford cites the New York Dolls as one of his personal idols – given Wofford’s background, it’s no surprise that the Dolls’ late lead pianist Sylvain Sylvain has a guest track on It’s Rock and Roll, Babies !

The Yowl has fallen It’s rock and roll, babies! in two parts: the A side, which featured brand new material; and Side B, which contains selected tracks from the self-titled album that the band wanted to add to the LP. The A-side is self-produced, with Southard responsible for engineering. The B-side was produced and mixed by Jonathan James of indie pop band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsen.

The Yowl did not release IIt’s rock and roll, babies! on streaming platforms. Instead, the band opted to distribute it exclusively on vinyl through Sioux Guitars.

“You don’t make money as an artist [streaming], really,” Wofford says. “It becomes, like, [the music’s] worth nothing once you put it on YouTube. But a record that you can give people, and they have something that not everyone else has. We want to make it special.

The momentum that accompanied the album came to a halt in late 2021 when Wofford contracted a voice-threatening infection and Long discovered he had a benign brain tumor the size of a baseball, which he suffered. nicknamed “Tumorthy”. Both members were unable to perform, forcing The Yowl to postpone the release party indefinitely.

With both members fully recovered, the group is ready to come back strong with an album release performance at Off Broadway (3509 Lemp Ave, in downtown St. Louis this Saturday, July 16 at 8 p.m., Long is more than ready for that comeback.

“We are amazing. Every day we get up and try to be normal, but end up kicking everything ass,” Long wrote in a note forwarded to the RFT by Woford.

Wofford, with a little more humility, shared his teammate’s enthusiasm, saying the group was thrilled to have had such a good reception in St. Louis.

Anti-establishment attitudes are a hallmark of punk rock, and The Yowl’s music is no exception. However, at the heart of their music is an appreciation for rock and roll and a sense of connection with the people who listen to it.

“It’s music; music can weave in a political message or whatever, but I think making people happy or giving them some kind of relief from the world around them – that’s the intention,” Wofford says. “You know, it’s just rock and roll.”

Catch The Yowl on Off Broadway at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 16.


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