There’s something sinister afoot in “Howl Alone,” the new video from Florida’s Wolf-Face, but it’s not what one thinks at first viewing. An unnamed gent (Ryan Metcalf) arrives home after a busy day, puts on Still Golden – Wolf-Face’s 2019 LP – and goes about his evening. Yet, there’s a shadowy figure haunting his one-bedroom home, one who becomes more looming whenever the guy tries to get some sleep. After waking up to see the figure looming overhead, it turns out to be Michael J. Wolf, who is ready to help the guy have the best night of his life.
Michael J. Wolf is more than just a stalking figure in “Howl Alone”; he’s a stand-in for something much more frightful. “Our drummer Wolf-Fart has been experiencing sleep paralysis for several years,” Michael J. Wolf tells HollywoodLife. Michael J. – who plays in Wolf-Face with Wolf Fart, The Good Wolf (of Mastodon skit fame), and Rain-Wolf – says that this video was the drummer’s way of trying to capture that sensation. “He felt like it has always been hard to describe it to people who haven’t experienced it, and there aren’t any good video depictions of the disorder. I guess he came up with the concept for this music video as a way to confront those demons, and the structure/timing of the song ‘Howl Alone’ seemed like a perfect fit for the idea.”
The video also has a clever contrast to it. “Howl Alone,” the song, highlights a moment of being isolated from your peers (“We used to be a team, now I’m flying solo / Now I stand alone in this locker room / This hell feels like home”) and the struggles with that alienation (“I’ll still go to this dance / And if I’m dancing by myself / It doesn’t matter to me / I’ll be dancing for no one else”). The video, on the other hand, showcases someone who isn’t by themselves. “[Howl Alone] lends itself to that contrast about feeling alone when maybe you actually are not; Michael J. Wolf is always with you, and he’s probably ready to party,” he tells HL.
There are many sides to Wolf-Face. The music the band has shared for the past ten years is, on first listen, based on the first two Teen Wolf movies of the 1980s (Michael J. Wolf claims that Hollywood stole the life story for the Michael J. Fox blockbuster, and the 1987 sequel featuring Jason Bateman). Yet, through this wolf-shaped lens, Wolf-Face has addressed themes of loyalty (“With Or Without Boof”), struggles with self-acceptance (“I Wanna Be A Homo(Sapien),” “I’m So Much Better”), reliance, defiance, and other punk rock staples. The band has used the Teen Wolf medium lens to deftly explore what it means to be human – and what separates a man from a beast.
The band also does this while being pretty funny, especially in its music videos. “Owen Is A Dracula” pits werewolf versus vampire. “With or Without Boof” sees the band dance alongside patrons at a 1980s nightclub. “I Wanna Be A Homo(Sapien)” puts the pack in an aerobicize video. The only video that doesn’t have an outright element of humor is the one for the Still Golden title track (unless you think gnome murder is funny.)
“Our friend, actor/comedian Garrett Jamieson, did the first music video for ‘Still Golden,’” shares Michael J. Wolf. “He’s a wonderfully talented person and a genuinely nice guy, which I guess shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone since he is Canadian. I think that video might actually be sort of a tragedy, but it’s also totally impossible not to giggle whenever Garrett is in a scene.”
Does “Howl Alone” mean that this is the end of the videos from Still Golden since the album is three years old now? “Isn’t it nice to pretend 2020 never happened at all? So, let’s call it two years,” Michael J. says with a smile. “Seriously though, as immortal beings, we aren’t nearly concerned with the sort of release schedules and timelines most bands have to manage. If there’s a brilliant idea for a new music video, you can bet your ass Michael J. Wolf is going to open his checkbook and make it happen, no matter how old or new the track might be.”
Time may not matter to the immortal lupine beings in Wolf-Face, but to their human fans, 2023 is a special year. It marks the tenth anniversary of their debut LP, Still A Son Of A Bitch. “If luck were to truly shine on the world, we’ll see a re-pressing of Still a Son of a Bitch vinyl in 2023. It’s been sold out for several years,” says Michael J.
When asked if he had any thoughts on the decade since its release and how the band has found a following in the years since their first gigs, he tells HL, “I understood the staying power of our poetry when we released SaSoaB ten years ago, but I am definitely thankful the songs have resonated with so many adoring fans around the world.”
“We are getting close to the point where we will no longer be ‘teenage’ werewolves,” he adds, “but the staying power of the songs has shown that the message will remain relatable for years to come and will continue to be discovered by future generations, Homosapien or otherwise.”
With that said, there’s only one question left: what was on that weird vegan pizza shown in the behind-the-scenes featurette about the making of the “Howl Alone” video? “I was asking the same question when he opened that pizza box!” says Michael J. “There were a handful of vegans on the crew; much respect to our vegan pack mates but their pizza was loaded with all sorts of stuff that just looked like people turds. The other pizza was regular cheese and didn’t look like people turded on it. But our vegan pack mates enjoyed their pizza very much so if they’re happy eating turd pizza, Michael J. is happy they’re happy!”