Seeing a ghost or a wolf can be a jarring experience for anyone, but standing before The Ghost Wolves will shake audiences to the bone. The Austin-based, rock and roll couple has been bringing their electrifying live performances to stages all around the world for over ten years.
They will be returning to Houston for the first time in over a year to perform at the Satellite Bar on Friday, January 24 with The Yawpers. The Ghost Wolves are supporting The Yawpers on their Texas dates and though the band lives in nearby Austin, their busy tour schedule often misses Houston.
“We are excited to get back. It’s been too long,” says Carley Wolf, one half of the duo. She and her partner Jonny Wolf created the Ghost Wolves after realizing their shared love of music and starting a relationship. The two were constantly touring in different bands and realized that if they started their own band, they could spend more time together on the road.
The band’s name comes from Carley’s experiences being raised around wolves, her family runs a wolf rescue in the Texas Hill Country and her father used to work at the Houston Zoo. Her own supernatural experience with a departed wolf inspired the band's name and the couple often tours with their pet wolf in tow.
Carley cut her teeth backing Houston’s own Johnny Falstaff on a European tour, playing bass in his rockabilly band, an experience which thankfully led to her picking up the electric guitar for herself.
The Ghost Wolves have made a name for themselves with their authentic, in your face rock and roll music. When asked about audiences from all over the world and who they consider to be the biggest rock and roll fans Jonny says, “It kind of depends on where you go. I think that some countries are a little more reserved.” They both note fans in Spain to be the most enthusiastic.
“They love rock and roll music,” says Carley. “They still have a real taste for rock and roll music, but we find that in the states too. There’s also huge scenes in the US for rock and roll right now, but we just personally have more of an audience in Europe at the moment,” adds Jonny.
The Ghost Wolves have also toured with the Irish rock and roll Renaissance man, BP Fallon. “He was kind of becoming a Texan there for a minute,” says Jonny. The two share a link in collaborating with Jack White’s Third Man Records. The Ghost Wolves recently released a seven-inch featuring their song “Crooked Cop” on the label, after a courtship which lasted years.
“That was very exciting for us,” says Carley of the ideal pairing. “It's a relationship that we have been fostering basically since we started the band.” The Ghost Wolves have been sending their music to labels they admire for years and reaching out while playing on the road.
“We have been just sending our music to all of the labels we like ever since we started our band, just hopelessly putting stuff in the mail and hoping somebody would get into it,” says Jonny.
In 2018, while Jonny was caring for his terminally ill father in Connecticut, he and Carley were sending each other songs to work on, using the music to bring a silver lining to the sad situation.
“So many musicians say that being on stage, playing or recording just takes your mind off of everything else. You can sit at a piano and play a song and you’re not thinking about anything else at that point,” says Jonny of the healing effects of music.
The Ghost Wolves took a different approach to these recordings, working with good friend and fellow Austinite John Michael Schoepf to lay down the tracks in his living room. The band notes the benefits of recording in a laid back environment without watching the clock. “We can sit around and experiment with different sounds and there’s not a lot of tension in the room,” says Jonny.
“It’s all direct to tape so that’s what made it different too is that the process and the tools we were using were completely different,” adds Carley.
“Recording is really a mystifying thing sometimes; you don't know what you're getting or you don’t know how to get what you want,” says Jonny. “Also, it exists forever once you’re done, that’s the flip of it,” he adds.
“It’s hard to capture the moment and the energy,” says Carley describing the band's approach to recording. “People always tell us that our records don’t sound like our live shows,” says Jonny admitting the band made a conscious decision to allow their songs to live separate lives on record and on stage rather than always trying to bottle up their live shows.
The Ghost Wolves will also be releasing a sister seven inch to their Third Man release on London’s Dirty Water Records featuring their upbeat single “Let’s Go To Mars,'' due out February 7 while the band will be on tour in Europe in support of the record.
The Ghost Wolves will perform with The Yawpers Friday, January 24 at the Satellite Bar, 6922 Harrisburg. Doors open at 8 p.m. $13.
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Gladys Fuentes is a first generation Houstonian whose obsession with music began with being glued to KLDE oldies on the radio as a young girl. She is a freelance music writer for the Houston Press, contributing articles since early 2017.