Porno Wolves are a blues physcadelic rock band from Minneapolis consisting of Ryan Bachman (Guitar/Vocals), Shea Drenkow (Electric Bass), Steven Schwartz (Guitar/Saxophone) and Anthony Gore (Drums). They have recently released their third full-length album entitled Renegades which is a creative masterpiece due to the amount of thought behind it. The track Riddles In The Dark is particularly interesting due to it’s unique structure and journey that it takes the listener on.
Their sound is certainly thought provoking and every member has a moment to shine. Anthony lays down fantastic foundations for the band to build upon and there is no ignoring Ryan’s stunning vocals reminiscent of a young Robert Plant. The guitars opening Sierra Negra work beautifully together brought by Ryan and Steven and the solo in The Road Goes Ever On is thickened by the bass brought by Shea.
I wanted to find out more about their musical influences and the meanings behind the tracks in Renegades so, I had a chat with the guys from Porno Wolves and here is what they had to say.
Who are your main musical influences?
Ryan: For me, as a songwriter my influences stem mostly from blues artists. However, there are so many musicians who have radically changed the way I want to write songs and the way I play instruments or sing. Obviously a ton of heavy metal and heavy rock & roll (Sabbath, Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy), but also many modern bands that are still writing new records and re-imagining rock & popular music. I can’t stop listening to the newest Queens of the Stone Age record, but also in my rotation are bands like The Delta Saints who we met on their Bones tour, Brand New, O’Brother. I love powerful singers. Anyone who can give me chills with their voice, so that leaves a ton of room for inspiration. Growing up I wanted to sing like James Brown and like Nina Simone. I sing Etta James songs to warm up before shows. From a Guitarist standpoint, I love the sloppy blues players who capture real soul in their guitar playing, raw and aggressive.
Anthony: I started playing the drums at 10 years old, and my father bought me my first drum set and enrolled me into drum lessons. After a year or so, he came home with two drum tab learning books; Led Zeppelin and Rush. I have always been around classic rock growing up as my father was a big fan of rock n roll, which led to myself discovering and falling in love with Led Zeppelin, but especially the ever so talented John Bonham. Additionally, from a drummer’s perspective, I sincerely appreciate and admire the works of Neil Peart, Keith Moon, and Ginger Baker. As I grew older, my musical tastes have grown and I became a fan of classic and modern metal, as well as the infamous grunge gods of the ninety’s and modern rockers such as the Foo Fighters. In fact, Dave Grohl is a huge influence on me as a drummer as well. (There are so many, it is hard to keep the list concise).
Where did the band name come from?
Ryan: The name stems from a conversation I had with a friend several years ago on a patio in downtown Minneapolis. I wanted to name my next project Born Of Wolves, per the story of the formation of the Roman kingdom i.e. Romulus and Remus. The name was taken, so my friend jokingly suggested a rhyming name: Porno Wolves. It was tried out for a couple shows and stuck. The name is either loved or hated it seems.
What are the main themes of the album Renegades?
Ryan: This album tells stories that navigate the darker aspects of our humanity. The album starts in disillusionment, moves into chaos and despair, and eventually to a position of hopefulness and overwhelming positivity. The darkness is described multiple times as a Mountain, in this case a Black Mountain (Sierra Negra). As good analogy as any perhaps?
I think during the writing I attempted to capture some very personal and tragic experiences in my life with people I/we love and fondly remember them in songs. Love is the way past judgement, love is what people need instead of us telling them they’re not right as they are.
Renegades is titled after a track that is absolutely about love. It’s a call to action for anyone who’s letting their relationship fall apart around them, that’s trying to figure out how to fucking communicate with their partner. The album deals with material that’s controversial for the people involved, and begs for objectivity, and ultimately acceptance.
The track Riddles In The Dark is really interesting and diverse. What’s the story behind it?
Ryan : This story captures the darkness & despair that comes with active addiction, and some people who don’t make it out the other side. This track is dedicated to our dear friend Michael who passed away from alcoholism.
The album artwork for Renegades is stunning. How did that come about?
Ryan: The album art captures the underlying black mountain theme. The album art was made by myself and our friend Jared Zachary, another local designer and musician here in Minneapolis. I brought some images to the band and they dug it, so we went from there.
What is coming up in the future for Porno Wolves?
Ryan: We are booking a European tour to support Renegades & vinyl release in Europe. We are also booking dates in the US to support this album.