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Interview

Denver speed metallers Speedwolf Comment on Performing at the Metal Underground-Sponsored Motorbreath Entertainment SXSW Showcase

With less than a week before Austin, Texas kicks off its annual music, film and interactive festival know as SXSW, Metal Underground offers our readers a series of interviews to promote Motorbreath Entertainment's Showcase, which Metal Underground has proudly sponsored. The Motorbreath concert is the only showcase at this year’s festival that primarily adheres to bands playing thrash and speed metal.

Hells Headbangers recording artist, Speedwolf is the first group featured in our ongoing coverage. Since 2008, the group has shaken the peaks of its native Denver mountains with punk-addled speed metal and a heavy dose of Motorhead. In the tradition of Motorhead, the group’s name and album cover references motorcycles. Their members obviously don’t turn into human-animal hybrids, as their album cover depicts, but they aren’t posers when it comes to riding. Due to the roar of his bike, vocalist Reed Bruemmer nearly missed my call. He caught it just in time, however, to convey how “revved” up he is about the group’s upcoming SXSW performances.

Darren Cowan (Rex_84): Speedwolf performed at SXSW 2010, correct?

Reed Bruemmer: Yes, we did. We played a show for Aquarius Records and a couple other shows that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

Cowan: Is the Motorbreath Entertainment show the only performance you have planned?

Bruemmer: I think we’re going to do a couple others. I know for sure we got a Brooklyn Vegan Showcase on that Saturday (March 17th). We’re going to be playing with Nachtmystium, Alcest and Pallbearer at Lovejoys that Saturday. We hope to do a house show at a buddy’s place on the 15th. We basically have three days in town. We’ll see if that turns into three shows.

Cowan: The Motorbreath show is the only show catering to thrash/speed metal. Have you seen the lineup? How do you feel about this show?

Bruemmer: I’m stoked for it. We’re really good friends with the guys from Witchhaven, so I’m really excited to hang out with them and play a show. Also, there are some guys from my hometown, Havok. It will be cool to play with them outside of our home state.

Cowan: Do you play shows in the Denver area with Havok?

Bruemmer: Not that often, maybe once every couple of months. We might do a couple shows a year with them. Some of the guys in my band used to be in Havok. Our drummer [Chuch Schaaf] was the original drummer for Havok. The singer/guitarist Dave [Sanchez] used to be in another band I was in [DDC].

Cowan: Speedwolf hails from Denver, Colorado—the same stomping ground as Havok. Would you say Denver has a good thrash scene?

Bruemmer: It’s not as often as I’d like to make it out to be. It’s becoming better. We don’t really have a scene for any genre that is too big. It’s a small town that’s really spread out, so it’s hard for people to get together and agree on something. We’re probably the only speed metal band that I know of. There are thrash, death, black, punk and hardcore bands, but as far as the style of old heavy metal, I’m pretty sure we’re the only band in Denver doing it, which helps because if you like that style of music, it is the only one you have to get behind.

Cowan: You have a picture of Kris playing his guitar while wearing nothing but a wolf skin on his head. All the ladies want to know if this is par for the course at a Speedwolf show.

Bruemmer: Nah, we all have a pretty fucked up sense of humor, but we’re pretty straight forward when playing live. It’s all about the metal; there is no nudity or flesh.

Cowan: You have twenty-plus tour dates ahead of you. When does that start, the 13th?

Bruemmer: Yes, it starts next Tuesday. We’re going to be gone for a whole month.

Cowan: Is this your first headlining tour?

Bruemmer: Yeah, I guess. I wouldn’t call any of our tours headlining tours. We book our own shows and go out on the road when we can. We’ve probably done about five tours—some were a couple of weeks, some were on the weekend. This one is our biggest effort yet, by all means.

Cowan: Is Speedwolf is a DIY band when it comes to touring?

Bruemmer: Yes, it’s just me, basically, booking the whole thing.

Cowan: Speedwolf’s debut “Ride With Death” dropped in November of last year. How has the response been?

Bruemmer: It’s has been good. It sold out within a month. Then, they made a repress of the LP, which we’re still selling. We’re saving copies for the road to bring with us to town. Bands like us don’t really press records more than 500 or 1,000, so when we sell 500 or 1,000 we feel pretty good.

Cowan: How do you feel about being with the Hells Headbangers label?

Bruemmer: It’s been great! I’ve been a big fan of that label for years—buying stuff for them, booking their bands and visiting them in Cleveland. It’s good to be a part of them. I’m excited!

Cowan: You run Splattered Records. What made you want to start your own label?

Bruemmer: It started for fun. I would put out friends’ bands in Denver. I put out Speedwolf releases when we first started. Now it’s more of a big distro. I buy stuff, wholesale, from labels and then sell it to friends in Denver who would have ordered it anyway.

Cowan: Do you sign bands?

Bruemmer: No, I don’t really deal with that. If there is something I’m really stoked about that I have the money to get behind, then I’ll do it, but I’m not avidly seeking people.

Rex_84's avatar

An avid metal head for over twenty years, Darren Cowan has written for several metal publications and attended concerts throughout various regions of the U.S.

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