Liner Notes is a feature here on Figment News that spotlights a top selling or classic album by asking the band who recorded it to take us on a song by song guided tour of the recording process.  In short, it’s a chance for the rest of us to be a fly on the studio wall during the genesis of a great album.  “Werewolf Concerto” by Werewolf Concerto was not only one of the best selling albums ever on Figment, but it was also the band’s debut record. What went into this seminal self-titled debut?  Let’s talk to the Wolfman himself…

HOWLING AT THE MOON:  LOOKING BACK AT THE MAKING OF “WEREWOLF CONCERTO”

Whats up dudes and dudettes everywhere! It is I, Jacob Wolfman from Coffin Lords, Witchkrieg, and the recently reunited Werewolf Concerto! We’re back, and there will be a tour and a new record very very soon. So get psyched! Anyways, the fine folk at Figment News asked me to write a Liner Notes thingy on our first record.

So, it began in the small town of Wilbraham, Massachusetts. Its kind of a lame place, no Metalheads, and a ton of stuck up sucky people. Except for me, and our fantastic bald/deadly ass ripper/drummer extraordinaire, Kyle Davidson. Kyle and I were into Metal majorly. It was our lives. We spent untold hours thrashing around to Exodus, Maiden, Exhumed, Crowbar, Testament, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Kreator, Autopsy, Heathen, etc etc. We also spent stupid amounts of time watching horror movies. We were into cheesy gore fests, zombie flicks, actual scary movies, and for me especially, old black and white classics. So after one intense night watching “Evil Dead II” and screeching along to King Diamond, we decided to start our own Metal band.

Fast forward many Taco Bell trips and a few years later…we were writing songs, having recruited bass player “Bloodthirsty” Jim. We had about three or four songs written, and then we began playing shows like crazy. Wherever we could get booked, we’d play. Now, that lead to us being on some interesting bills. I remember we once got put on a gangster rap show, due to the promoter thinking we were a ICP-esque horrorcore group due to our name.

After an entire year of rambunctious show playing, the lovable gang of misfits learned that a buddy of theirs had started an independent record label, Music From The Crypt Records. So, they used their incredible powers of persuasion to get themselves to be MFTC’s first signing.

We rented out a studio in West Springfield, a town about 10 to 15 minutes away from our homestead. I had an uncle who was a record producer, so I learned my way around a control board from him. So, I set out playing the role of producer, vocalist/guitar player, and drunken taco consumer. We drank a lot during the recordings of the first record-I remember totally destroying the house of Eric LeDuc, drummer for Rise Against Authority, and my cousin. We held many a rager there during the sessions for “Werewolf Concerto” and I still apologize every chance I get. I still don’t know how the TV got into the shower, or how the oven blew up, or the walls got smashed-well, you guys get the point.

I believe the first song we recorded was “Carrion Death”. It was a very Dark Angel-esc tune, with a extremely-heavy-yet-fast-as-fuck riff, powered by some gnarly drum work from Mr. Davidson. Lyrically, the song was a simple idea. Some dude gets hurt in the desert, and lays there, slowly and painfully dying alone, as vultures eat him alive.

The next song we recorded was “Creepshow” a tune inspired by and named after one of my favorite flicks of all time. The bass line at the beginning was written by Kyle actually, and it fit really well with leftover riff I had from “My Scream Queen” which was already written, but we didn’t record till “Graveyard Ghoul Fiends”.

After that, we recorded “Undead Attack” and “Blood And Guts” in the same day. The former was supposed to be just what it is-an incredibly simple, but stupidly fast, short burst of energy. The latter was supposed to be a more chunky, grooving song, very Exhorder-ish, but turned into more of what “Undead Attack” is. I realize now that placing the two songs together on the track listing was pretty stupid, but hey, we were young and unexperienced.

Next up, we did “Slayed” which was had a very crossover thrash-ish riff, with heavier vocals from myself. Jim also through in a gnarly bass solo towards the end, which I still get psyched about every time I hear it to this day.

Next up, were the pain in the ass songs. Getting the arrangements done for the ballad-y-but-still-heavy-as-balls “By The Fright Of Silvery Moon” took forever. We argued a lot over that song, Kyle and I wanted a more odd time signature than Jim did on the verse, and we eventually got our way, but he got to throw in a riff he wrote into the bridge. In hind sight, we probably should have realized that he didn’t work well with us enough to be in the band, but we thought he was cool and we just wanted to get the record done and get out on the road.

“Frankenstein V.S. Dracula” (sometimes I wonder what I was thinking with some of these songs titles…) was a pain simply because of the guitar solo. We had decided to do that song in Drop C, instead of D Standard like the rest of the album, because the riff worked better in that tuning. It was a pain because I had to set up the Floyd Rose on my guitar to Drop C, and every time during the solo after I did the sweep arpeggio part and jumped into that crazy whammy dive, the guitar would go out of tune. Took forever to get a decent take of that.

“Abra Cadaver” and “Dragons” were both done on the same day. The recordings of both songs were relatively uneventful, but the former turned into a classic for us, and the other one was just sort of there. Looking back, it had a promising and cool riff, but we fucked up on the rest of the song.

Finally, we come to the last two days of recording. We spent a whole day tracking “Radioactive Warfare” because we wanted perfection on it, since we had this idea of it being our epic. It turned pretty rad, I thought, but not nearly what we had in mind.

On the last day, we got bored and decided to do the Morbid Angel cover, but had no intentions of releasing it. It got sent in with the rest of the tapes, and the label threw it on the record. I love the song, and I had fun covering it, but I didn’t want a cover on the record.

Well fiends, we’ve reached the end of our devilishly dumb, but fun ride. I hope you enjoyed this testament to our stupidity, and learned about what I hope is one of your favorite records. If I could go back and change a few things, I would, but I’m also very happy with how came out in the end. It did after all, kick start our career, and it remains our best seller and most popular album to this day. I hope to see you crazy fuckers on the reunion tour, and be on the lookout for a new album!!

-J. Wolfman

3 Responses to “Liner Notes: Werewolf Concerto’s “Werewolf Concerto””

  1. theHoseman Says:

    Very cool to get this behind the scenes look at an iconic album! Abra Cadaver has always been my favorite Werewolf Concerto tune, but this whole album definitely deserved to be listed with some of the biggest, best releases of all time!

  2. Childofalma Says:

    METAL!!! \m/ Damn, I didn’t know all this went into this classic album. Werewolf Concerto is one of the best Debut albums ever, right up there with Kill ‘Em All.

  3. poppinfresh Says:

    It was great to find out the ins and outs of the making of this classic album — I learned to appreciate it all over again.

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