Kingston After Dark: Bark at the moon

The Virginia Wolves.

The Virginia Wolves.

Okay, children of the night. It’s another week in our fabled city of rock and I am here to spread cheer. The good news is, I am better looking than actor Jason Lee and I live here all the time! Isn’t that wonderful? I should get my own movie.

But really, the My-Name-is-Earl star has been around town filming a project. He’s a cool dude. As for me, I’m crippled from a hurt neck right now and typing without moving one side of my body, half dressed lying in a pile of clothes and a torn cover edition of The Sword of Shanara.

I don’t think Hollywood’s coming running any time soon. While I heal up, I think I’ll focus your attention on a great event in our neck of the woods coming up, a sure to be stirring BSP performance from popular act The Virginia Wolves, “organic rockers.” The Virginia Wolves (featuring Kelly McNally and Tommy Be) and the groovy sounds of Mamalama will be at BSP on June 7, the best pairing since Carvel’s cookie puss and the whale cake took the nation by storm.

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The Virginia Wolves’ debut album, “Curse of the Kill” (My Own Label Records, Indie) was released in 2009 (quickly reviewed in Kingston Freeman, Chronogram, Roll Magazine). They are in the process of recording a second album, “Songs From the Great Recession” (My Own Label Records, Indie).

“We are often asked if we’re from Virginia,” says Wolf Kelly McNally. “I’ve scribbled poetry, stories, lyrics or plays on anything I could find, since I could remember. My prolific and bearded dad’s nickname was Wolf Man. I have always been fond of wolves and their natural instincts of the importance of family, pack.”

In high school, she said, “I had my own CD review column, as I was forced to take journalism, due to the lack of demand for creative writing. I attempted to avoid the inverted pyramid by writing editorials or music reviews, while working in a music store as I picked up my mom’s acoustic guitar. After writing most of my life without any direction, I signed up for Creative Writing in community college. The professor entered the room, pressed play on the tape player (which slowly spun elevator music) and said, ‘Write until the tape stops,’ and sat down at his desk and flipped through a newspaper.

“While daydreaming in a Woman Writers’ class, we read “A Room of One’s Own,” a potent, life-changing essay written by Virginia Woolf in 1929. Her noted stream-of-consciousness writing style got my attention and instantly inspired my free writing, which then transformed my poetry and stories into lyrics, songs and has pushed my pen ever since. Howl… I then transferred to SUNY New Paltz for English Education, where I was told I took too many creative writing classes as I signed up for more.”

I asked McNally a bit about her last album’s genesis, as it was quite popular.

“Curse of the Kill” was recorded live on a Tascam Porta studio at our friend Joe Tobin’s house in Elizaville’s home Acoustic Medicine Show Studio, she says. “My fellow Wolf, Adele Schulz RN (vocal harmonies, French horn, trumpet, tambourine, foot tambourine) and I stayed at Joe’s for a three-day weekend we called “Wolfstock,” where we sang to the mattresses we slept on. Joe turned his Sears kit, country-home into a working studio by running the limited, two-channel input, Porta Studio into his PA system for a stereo sound.”

“Adele and I stood side by side, as we do, and sang, in synch and live into identical condenser mics while I played my acoustic guitar,” she continued. “My partner in grime Adele and I started one of the first Green Cleaning businesses in Ulster County, Flower Power Clean. She went back to school to study Nursing as we continued to record our debut album. The Porta Studio now contained thirteen raw tracks of vocals harmonies and rhythm guitar that were pre-mixed stereo tracks. Alan Macaluso dumped the digital files into Pro Tools and we began to do additional tracking at his home studio at Free Range Recording Studio in Gardiner.”

On Friday the 13th at The Anchor we have a special event planned for you. Indie rockers Maude from the big city will be joining popular apocalypse themed sludge pop duo Dead Unicorn, singer songwriter Kyle McDonough and a reunited Pontius Pilate sales pitch. PPSP was a band I started with my best friend Nate Kelley, original drummer of Shabutie/Coheed and Cambria, years ago. A full decade ago we played our first gig at The Forum and it will be interesting to take the stage and revisit old songs. Pontius Pilate Sales Pitch was named when Nate and I were sitting around laughing about how bad ideas get greenlit in politics or other spheres.

I’ve got an idea! Let’s go crucify Jesus. Who is with me? Ho hum.

Well, I guess. Sure. Why not? It was probably also a statement about the Iraq War 2.0. Nate and I had gotten tired of fist-fighting members of my previous band Divest and so wanted to start a more drunken version of Death Cab For Cutie combined with the Hum and Thursday influences we proudly wore on our sleeves.

“PPSP was my first crack at assembling all the music for a project outside of some solo projects I had recorded over the years,” remembers Nate. “I would write guitar and bass parts on occasion in Shabutie, and I started Bleed Theory (early Divest name) with Kurt Brown and Dave Parker as the band’s bassist and recording drummer to gain a little more influence on those bands’ musical directions. But this was the first time I had free reign on every level, and I took full advantage. PPSP became exactly what I’d wanted to hear so badly in my other bands: Sweeping, brooding and dark, yet the songs weren’t completely opaque and inaccessible. To this day, it is still some of my favorite material.”

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