Wolves of Glendale

Interview: Wolves of Glendale Have Released Their First Album

How many bands can say that they went from forming a band to opening for Tenacious D to playing the famous Troubadour in Hollywood the same day their first album drops. The Wolves of Glendale can, at least.

Ethan Edenburg, Eric Jackowitz, and Tom McGovern first joined forces on March 6th, 2022. All three had experience combining music and comedy, and Tom had just moved to LA when Ethan and Eric split up from their previous band. Within months, they started to gain a profile both locally and on social media. It quickly exploded, and led them to this moment.

The three men grace the stage in matching black jumpsuits. Eric called the Troubadour show a “beautiful culmination of a lot of the work that we put in over the last two years.” They had new songs, new comedy bits, a fake choreographed fight, and played with an extended band for the first time ever. It was an epic show from a band that is surely in the rise.

We recently spoke to the Wolves about their new album, their influences, how they got to this moment, and their incredible music videos. Their self-titled debut album and more information can be found here.

If you told me you guys only formed 2 years ago, I’d never believe it. Run me through the genesis and how you guys formed.

Eric: I feel like Tom’s good at this.

Tom: Sure. So we started back in 2022. Ethan and Eric have known each other for a decade. They went to a music camp together when they were kids, they went to college together at Berkeley College of Music. They both landed in LA together and they were playing in another comedy band together for a long time that I discovered when I was still living in New York in 2020. I reached out to Ethan and Eric on Instagram and said “If I’m ever in LA, I’d love to grab a coffee or write a song.” Fast forward to October 2021, I do move out to LA. I start hanging out with Ethan. We become very fast friends. We’re spending like five days a week together. I end up moving just about five minutes from Ethan’s house in January. Then I think it was that month actually Ethan and Eric’s band decided to dissolve. At that point, Ethan and Eric were considering not doing anything musical comedy related at all. I was coming from a solo musical comedy background back in New York. Ethan and I were writing a couple casual songs together. Ethan was like “Eric, you’ve gotta meet Tom. We’ve gotta try to do this.”

So we got together. It was March 6th, 2022. We got in the same room and we ended up writing Vapin in Vegas the first day that Eric and I had even met each other. That was the first day that we were all in the same room. And there was such a natural chemistry that at the end of that 3 hour rehearsal, it was undeniable. We were all unanimously in agreement that we were going to take this thing as far as it could go. Almost immediately. And then it unraveled from there.

How did you guys get your first gigs?

Eric: Our first live show was at the Kibbitz room at Canter’s. We did like a 10 minute set with like 10 people there. It was super nerve wrecking in the best way. Bigger shows are almost less nerve wrecking. For some reason for me, it’s like when less people are there it feels way more intimate. New band, new songs, a few people in this very intimate setting. And then that was our first gig. And we only had a few other gigs until Netflix is a Joke.

Ethan: We decided as a trio from that first day I think - I think we literally went to the back of my house and were shooting hoops and just talking about “What are we gonna do with this?” Obviously we love Vapin in Vegas - the song we just wrote - but now what’s the plan? The three of us were very quickly like all of nothing. If we’re going in, we have to go all in. We have to treat this like a part time job, and we have to start playing shows. We’re going for broke basically. So that’s why we started playing shows even when we only had two songs. And just trying to try them out, edit them, whatever. Then like Tom said, Eric and I had been in a comedy band for five years. So we know a lot of the best bookers in LA. As I was kind of doing the rounds, Netflix is a Joke was happening and they’re announcing this show and that show. And I was already getting worked up like “Why are we not involved in Netflix is a Joke?” Because we just made a band a month ago. No one has any clue who you are right now.

Tom: We had 10 minutes of material. Maybe.

Ethan: So I called the person that was booking those shows and she was like “I do have an opening, but it’s a half hour set or a 40 minute set outside the Palladium. I don’t know if you guys have enough material if you just started.” And I was like “We have enough material. Don’t worry about it. We got this.” And sure enough, we took it seriously. We got together and we wrote three other songs. Then we improvised songs about people in the audience.

That was a really great kind of launching point for us because we were able to prove to ourselves that this is gonna work. There were a bunch of people there that - 99% of the audience had no clue about who we were or what we were doing. We were able to bring people in. Instead of them wandering around, they all came to the stage and started laughing. Because of Eric’s relationship with Kyle Gass from Tenacious D, Kyle ended up coming to that show as well. It was just a really nice, supportive, validating moment for us.

Tom: There were some big Jenga towers. And there were people playing Jenga. We ended up just making a song up about Jenga guy. That’s the beauty. We’re a comedy band and we all have musical improv experience. So probably six minutes of that set we spent dicking around and observing the ridiculous stage area.

Was opening for Tenacious D your first out of town gig?

Eric: What’s funny is we played in Vegas a month before. We got hired to do a corporate gig. We were at a tech company’s party at a hotel. And when we pulled up, our name was on the side of the building right under Tenacious D, because we were playing there like a month later. It was a weird out of body experience. Like “We’ve only been a band for a year, we’re playing a gig, but our names are on the side of the Virgin hotel. This is insane.”

Did getting those Vegas gigs have anything to do with Vapin’ in Vegas?

Eric: (Laughs). No, that happened because of our relationship with Kyle.

Ethan: It was a great coincidence. It’s tremendous that we had that song in our repertoire to play early on.

I know you guys had all done comedy music early on. But what were some of your earliest comedy music influences?

Tom: I feel like for all of us, Weird Al played a huge role. That was my personal first exposure to it. A buddy of mine played me Running with Scissors in his minivan. And he was like “You’ve got to hear this. It’s a song about Star Wars.” It was The Saga Begins, and I was like “What the fuck is this?” From that point on, it was like Flight of the Conchords and Tenacious D for me.

Ethan: I had a band in high school and we used to cover Double Team by Tenacious D, which is probably their most inappropriate song now that I think about it. I feel like for all of us, all of that stuff was huge and super influential. But we didn’t realize it at the time. We were just obsessed with Sandler and really any act that was big. But I don’t think any of us thought “Oh, that’ll be my career. I’ll make comedy music.” We were all just music and I think for Tom more acting and theater driven. So we all thought we were going to be serious men. We were mistaken.

Eric: With the quote unquote serious music we’d listen to, it was embedded in the DNA. Blink 182 or The Beastie Boys, they were inherently very funny.

I don’t think most people realize the difficulties of writing a comedy song, where it has to sound like a real song, or else it’d just be hacky. 

Ethan: I just want to say that our mission statement, especially early on as a band, was that we want the songs to just stand for themselves. If you don’t speak English and you hear our song, we want you to be into the band. And then if you do speak English and you understand all of the jokes, that’s a plus.

Tom: I think another big part of it is when you say musical comedy, a lot of people have a similar reaction. They use hacky. So many shows that we’ve played, people were like “I thought I was going to hate this. But then you guys finished and I was like ‘Whoa. Where can I listen to more of this?’” And I think it’s because all of us come from professional music backgrounds. We’ve all been gigging musicians in cities all throughout the country, we played music growing up. We always say this. Music needs to be listening, understandable, in any language.

The music needs to elevate the comedy and Vice versa. It’s so much funnier if a song about pooping your pants in a planetarium sounds like a Daft Punk banger. So that’s the fine balance that we’re lucky enough to walk. All of us can hold our own in our own lanes.

What’s the song that took the longest to come together on the album?

All Wolves: The Gym!

Eric: Yeah. We had all of the music written. And then we layered three other songs lyrically on top of it until it felt correct.

Ethan: We kept almost finishing the song and then being like “This isn’t good. This isn’t funny. Let’s start from zero and then rewrite the lyrics to this song again.” And it was also restructuring, too. Because I think at first we were following a more generic song structure, and we would move stuff around. And luckily, we were just able to get together a bunch of times and work hours on it. It became the Bohemian Rhapsody that it is where it moves around as it wants to and we just let it.

What is your songwriting process like?

Tom: We’ve written everything together from start to finish. Occasionally one of us will bring in a music idea and we’ll work from there. But lyrically and joke writing, we’ve all done it in the room. If it starts with a musical idea, we’ll just riff on it. If something makes one of us laugh or all of us laugh, we just follow what’s fun about it until we get to a narrative that we can start to see unfolding.

And finally, I love the music videos. I have to ask about the Olivia music video. It is so well produced. How did that come together? 

Ethan: That’s just a huge shoutout to the team. That’s Ben Joyner directing and then Forever Holiday is the name of the production company run by Luke and his wife Bailey. And they absolutely destroyed it. We gave them total freedom. I think the only real info we had for them was the ABBA video. Which is a big part of the video and hilarious. But as far as the execution and the cameras being used, that’s all Ben and Forever Holiday.

At some point during the video, Tom and I are inside and Eric comes inside the barn where we shot and Eric says “Guys, my eyes are burning. My eyes feel really bad.” And we’re like “What? Are you okay?” And he said “I don’t know. It keeps getting worse. My eyes feel like they’re on fire.” Literally two or three minutes later, his eyes look like they were just infected with hell. Super swollen and we’re looking at each other like “I guess he’s got to go to the hospital.”

So he does go to the hospital. And the owner of the facility comes to us and go “Oh, he probably touched the fire sticks and then touched his eyes.” So we almost the video. We almost didn’t get to shoot if Eric was going to go fucking blind. But they treated him at the emergency room and he came back. There’s shots in the video where Eric’s eyes look normal and then…

Eric: My eyes are beat red.

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