With traditional instrumentation and original music, the Wolfpack Band weaves both subtle and distinct phrasing into Stephen Poppell’s adventures in songwriting. The Wolfpack Band mixes the music heard in the American South with sultry blues and the hot guitar licks of modern rock 'n' roll.
What's the meaning behind the band's name?
"I've had an admiration for wolves all my life and had a few of them as great companions. I've always felt a little bit like a lone wolf, and when my music career started, it just seemed like a great name to call the people who played with me, from recording artists to live-show artists. And like a real wolf pack, it's always changing members and growing."
How did the band start?
"After finally starting to get gigs where I played solo, it only made sense that I'd want to start having duos and trios, and then you need a beat, so you add a drummer. So it evolved basically from necessity and from my efforts to reach the full potential of the sound of the music by adding talented people."
What's the message to transmit with your music??
"Fun, love, tragedy, all the many flavours of life and experiences that people go through, relating to people and their personal problems and needs, hopes and dreams."
What's your method at the time of writing a song??
"I sit around and play my guitar for hours, stumbling upon riffs that grow into melodies. Then I start to get a flavour for what I want the song to be about, and I usually add my lyrics last. A couple of lines come here and there and I build the rest of the song around that.
"Sometimes lyrics or music comes to me in the strangest way. For example, I was trying to grow Alligator Joe into a song and I had gotten to where I needed to explain why the women refused to return after being with Alligator Joe. I drew a writer's blank for a couple of weeks. Then one night, around 3 a.m., I woke up singing "He lets me ride on his back, play with his tail, Alligator Joe makes me happy like hell." I immediately got up, grabbed my guitar, sung the lyrics into the song a couple of times and went back to sleep very pleased. I woke the next morning feeling like I'd received a gift, though it's kind of scary that I'm writing in my sleep (laugh out loud)."
Who are your music influences?
The bigger influences that led me to become a musician were Jimi Hendrix, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Muddy Waters.
Jimi Hendrix inspired me with his fantastic talent as well as his unconventional style, his backward and upside-down guitar playing. Muddy Waters showed me the beauty of the raw, simple but powerful music of the Deep South. Lynyrd Skynyrd was a big influence not only because of the great southern rock style and dual leads, but a special inspiration because they were local boys like me in Jacksonville, Florida."
What plans do you guys have for the future??
"Write more music, make more CDs, attract new fans, play more gigs and break out in America."
Which was the funniest prank you guys have been in or took part in while on tour or after a show??
"I was playing in The Hague in the Netherlands and the owner of the club decided to pull a joke on me. Right in the middle of a song he sent a waitress up to the microphone and she stood there staring at me so I stopped singing. She announced that I had to stop and go move my car because the dish washer had no place to park. Needless to say, it knocked me for a loop to think that I was so low on the totem pole that my show would be stopped for the dish washer! Suddenly the waitress started to laugh and I looked over at the owner in the corner and he was cracking up and then everyone began laughing, and I realized they'd gotten me."
If you guys were stranded in the middle of nowhere after a show or while on tour. The help is 65 miles away from where you guys are, who would you guys send to look for help? And if while the rest wait, there's no food and the only way to feed yourself is by eating each other, who would you eat first?
"I'd go myself to get help; I can always get another band."
"As far as who we'd eat first, that would be Yannick the roadie and soundman, because he's worthless, anyway. But he's pretty thin and couldn't feed many people, so we’d probably have to choose someone else as well to stay alive. We couldn't eat the bass player, Jasper, because he's Dutch and he'd taste like Gouda cheese and crackers. The guitar player, Daniel, is Australian and would be tough like a crocodile so we couldn't chew him, and the pedal-steel player, Francois, is Swiss-French and that alone is confusing enough. So we'd have to eat the drummer, Andrea. He's Italian and everyone loves Italian food."
Which country you guys would love to play?
"The good ol' USA."
With which bands you guys would love to share stage??
"J.J. Cale, Tony Joe White and Hank Williams Jr. We would love to have played with the old Lynyrd Skynyrd Band or the Marshall Tucker Band."
Are you guys OK, with the direction the band is going actually?
"Absolutely. We have fans all around the world and as an artist, I'm very pleased. I wouldn't mind bigger shows and better ways to market my work, and I feel we're moving in this direction."
Check out more: www.thewolfpackband.com