Speedwolf: Denver Miscreants Worship Beer, Bikes and MotÃ¶rhead
“Denver doesn’t have a history of anything,” states Speedwolf‘s towering frontman Reed Bruemmer,” except for the Wild West and lots of crazy drunks that move in and out of here throughout the years. No real history of music or metal. We don’t really have anything to be proud about – except the mountains.”
Dig it, Speedwolf is the antidote to the Mile High City’s mainstream musical malaise; the sonic equivalent of a concrete saw chewing up pavement on Highway I-70. At least that’s what you’d think when you glance at the black and white portrait of three lycanthropic types astride Harleys from Hell being pursued by the Grim Reaper that adorns the cover of Da’ Wolf’s debut album, Ride With Death. Basically, Ghost Rider’s Johnny Blaze ain’t got shit on ‘em.
Speedwolf have also given the Mile High City “Denver 666,” a beastly anthem for beer-drinkers, hell-raisers, bikers and worshippers at the snake-skin cowboy boots of Motörhead‘s Lemmy Kilmister. “It’s become a saying around here,” says the gravel throated Bruemmer, grabbing a few minutes between bartending shifts. “We’re joking about super-serious Satanic metalheads in Denver 666 and people take it to heart. It’s amazing.”
Straight-up, Speedwolf stands for everything unapologetic rock n’ roll should. When the four-piece hits stage, it’s like the hounds of hell being let loose. Label-mates with the likes of Midnight and Nunslaughter on the cult Hell’s Headbangers label, Speedwolf delivers blackened metal-punk that gives the thumbs-up to Venom (to whose frontman Cronos Reed’s vocal roar most closely resembles), Zeke and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The raison de’ etre for the high-octane music they make? “We’re all serious fans,” says Reed. “We’re all so excited about the genres of metal we like. The styles. The eras. We simply want to be a part of it.”
Now here’s what Speedwolf (rounded out by guitarist Kris Wells, drummer Richie and bassist Jake Kauffman) isn’t about: “We’re not trying to showcase any insane technical ability. Or any stupid story about how we shot someone and are notorious. We like riffs. We like straightforward metal.” What are ‘The Wolf’s favorite records? “Overkill” by Motörhead. Venom’s At War With Satan, the first Bathory LP, Zeke’s Super Sound Racing,” Bruemmer rattles off, listing all the cornerstones of Speedwolf’s “weapons hot” sound.
Reed does admit that he and the members of Speedwolf have stopped by Hollywood’s infamous Rainbow Bar & Grill on a Borat-like quest to try and meet its most famous regular (and that’s not Ron Jeremy!): Lemmy himself. “Every time he’s not there!” laughs Bruemmer. “I’m such a nerd for that band, I don’t know what I would do if I met him!”
Now let’s get something else straight. Reed Bruemmer is not a Harley poseur. While some larger than life rock stars fake it, posing for photos on bikes that aren’t even theirs, the towering frontman has been customizing his hog to “look like a super-’70s bike” complete with a bent-over front end and massive pull-back bars. This is further evidence that the Denver destroyers are the real deal.
The Wolf is rapidly earning its “road warrior” stripes, having already done a handful of tours including a 30-shows-in-30-days U.S. offensive as well as a recent West Coast and Southeast tour with with LA backyard metallers Witchaven. Any crazy tour stories? “Yeah, we got into Canada,” Reed chuckles alluding to the “unlikely” possibility there might be a ne’er-do-well in Speedwolf’s ranks. “We had a ripping show in Toronto. We played a show in Boston in a warehouse-art-loft. 200 kids crammed in there crawling on the ceiling, crowd surfing. We were like: ‘Fuck, you guys know who we are?’” There’s no crazy stories about anyone doing heroin or dying or anything like that.”
So who is the typical Speedwolf fan? “There’s not one kind,” says Reed. “We get a lot of full-on nerd record collector types. Younger thrash metal revival kids. Punks, rockers and all kinds of people across the board. Motörhead was kind of like that. That’s the kind of band we want to be.”
Speedwolf’s debut album, Ride With Death, is available now via Hell’s Headbangers.