A little over a year ago, in the thick of one of the hottest Texas summers in recent memory, three dudes squeezed into a spartan concrete cube south of I-20 and unleashed an arena-ready style of blues rock to an audience of exactly zero.
The sign outside the self-storage business promised climate control. But inside was maybe only a 20-degree respite from the 110-degree oven outside. Texas Christian University students Austin Adams (drums), Rob Hine (guitar), and Riley Knight (guitar/vocals) thumped and shook the choked rehearsal space. The players were caked in sweat but excited just enough to forget the oppressive heat.
Now all that sweat appears to be paying off.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve figured out our chemistry or anything,” said bassist Colin Cashman, who joined not long after that “show.” “We’re just now getting it figured out, how we write and everything.”
Hine glanced at his bandmates. “But does that ever really happen?” he asked.
Knight shrugged. “It’s whatever feels good to us,” he answered.
These days you might catch We’rewolves in the Fort only about once or twice a month, an intentionally thin live schedule designed to prevent overexposure. The cover songs from the shed days are gone. Now it’s just originals, swampy throwback stuff, the material the guys wrote once they finally coalesced as a foursome late last summer, not long after the storage-shed arrangement.
The We’rewolves look back now on their early setup with exactly the kind of fascination you would expect from a group of do-it-yourselfers. They talk about the 120-foot extension cord connecting their amps to the outlet at the end of the hallway.
Named Blank Generation at the time, the group rattled the cinder blocks until residents in a nearby apartment complex picked up their phones and grumbled to the authorities.
Soon one of the cops peering in chuckled at the unusual setup and explained he was in a band himself. The officer and the then-students talked equipment. They bantered music. They exchanged notes about jamming and getting the most out of the $130 per month they had to spend on a rehearsal space.
The cops left nothing but a warning and grins in their wake, but over time the noise complaints continued to pour in, eventually reaching the corporate offices of the otherwise accommodating storage facility, forcing Adams, Knight, and Hine to find another place to play. They landed in another cramped space in a rough West Arlington neighborhood, just in time for the addition of Cashman, a Tarrant County College student who hails from just about every municipality this side of the airport. Today they play in Cashman’s basement at least once a week, when they’re not making one of their elusive appearances at a local venue.
The band soon agreed on a name, one that, believe it or not, came to Adams in a dream. Right after the name came the original tunes, as the impromptu jam sessions became frequent meet-ups, which evolved into full-blown rehearsals. The sound began to take shape early this spring, and the band debuted its deceptively mature sound at the West Berry Block Party in March.
“Playing with guys from such a diverse background, you have to try to push your boundaries a little bit and do new things,” Hine said. “That’s part of what contributes to our sound, in a way. We are all forced out of our comfort zone from what we like and what we grew up on.”
Stylistically, We’rewolves come from four points on a familiar spectrum: blues, punk, metal, and classic rock. The result sounds something like Toadies grunge overlapped with Knight’s Layne Stanley-esque vocals seated in swampy melodies and indie hooks. In short, it all smacks so can’t-put-a-finger-on-it familiar.
“People ask us who we sound like, and it’s a hard question,” Adams said. “That’s like asking, ‘Who’s your favorite kid?’ ”
And We’rewolves’ songwriting method is uncompromisingly collaborative. Whereas some bands have one or two members who hatch the basic outline of a song before fleshing it out with the rest of the group, We’rewolves start with sideways glances and a few warm-up covers — “foreplay,” as Cashman calls it — before delving into the admittedly messy process of sculpting the noise into something that over time and with innumerable tweaks, finally takes the shape of a song you might find on the band’s nine-song debut EP. Which is still a work in progress, the guys say. They put it together just to get their name out.
“We don’t force a song,” Cashman said. “It just happens.”
We’rewolves’ plan is to keep playing live –– but not too much. Knight said, “I want people to think, ‘This is an event. This is We’rewolves. This is a show, and I want to go see this.’ It’s more like a rarity.”
The ultimate plan is to turn the EP, or at least several of its songs, into a more polished and marketable official debut showcasing the breadth of their sound.
But there doesn’t seem to be any sense of impending deadlines. We’rewolves said they’re content just jamming and shooting the shit with whichever cop pokes his head in next.
Thu w/Panic Volcanic, Uneasy Pilgrims at The Basement Bar, 105 W Exchange Av, FW. 817-624-0050. TK Sat opening for We the Sea Lions CD release, Jefferson Colby at The Grotto, 517 University Dr, FW. 817-882-9331