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Three years ago, Dave Holmes found himself to be a stranger to himself and to his surroundings. He was in a foreign land, cut off from his friends, his family, and his home. He was alone, emotionally and psychologically gutted - he had followed his heart to dire consequences.
As a singer/songwriter/guitarist, and lifelong punk rocker, Dave found that the only uplift was writing to process these painfully complex times. The new songs coming out of him were urgent and transcended established punk rock conventions - they were primal songs, songs of survival. With a clutch of fresh material, and in an impulsive act of self-preservation, he hopped on a plane back to his Bay Area home. It was reboot time. Shortly after arriving back, Dave summoned a pack of like-spirited musicians to form Wolves In Argyle.
Now, the four-piece rock n’ roll band issues its darkly cathartic debut, Dangereux, produced by alt-rock icons Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Mudhoney) and Tad Doyle (TAD). The 9-song album is a fiery collection that blurs the lines between punk, grunge, desert rock, and 1990’s Sub Pop alt-rock.
“Writing this music was a huge catalyst to heal from an emotional roller-coaster and get my identity back. It was a better outlet than therapy,” Dave shares.
The Oakland, California-based quartet lures the listener into a film noir-ish sonic and emotional landscape, frothing over with anthemically tuneful songs, boasting shadowy tales of lies, betrayal, and hard-fought enlightenment. The four-piece has garnered favorable comparisons to Hot Water Music, Queens of The Stone Age, The Damned, and the classic 1990's Sub Pop-era sound. Highlights in the band’s first year of existence include earning a distro deal with Street Scholar/Bungalo/Universal Music Group, and garnering support from Bay Area Rock station 107.7 The Bone who shared Wolves In Argyle’s “Dangereux” video via its website. In addition, senior curators at Reverbnation have rallied behind the Wolves In Argyle track “Northern Lies.”
The band is Dave Holmes (The Oozzies, Shootin' Lucy and Brother Cain), singer, songwriter, executive producer, and mastermind; Steve Moriarty (The Gits and Evil Stig featuring Joan Jett on vocals), drums; Mel Chappell (Stellar and Hotbox), bass and backup vocals; and Josh Phillips (White Trash Debutantes, Fire In the Asylum and Pet Rocket), on incendiary lead guitar. Dave’s partner, Charmagne Eierman looms large in the Wolves lore as something of the band’s spiritual adviser, manager and all around guru.
The name Wolves In Argyle conjures the group’s collected survival instinct to rise beyond their esteemed pedigrees, and to transcend the pain and inner turmoil that initially connected and bonded the guys together. The wording playfully juxtaposes the fierce loyalty of a hunting species within the context of punk rock and ska/rude boy culture, where men and women softened their punk stylings with the whimsical pattern of argyle. Worded together, the phrase slyly conjures the evergreen “wolf in sheep’s clothing” sentiment, perfectly encapsulating the themes of betrayal and deceit lurking within Wolves In Argyle’s music.
The band’s grisly roots date back to Dave’s wanderlust of being an expat, following an ill-fated relationship headed full speed on a dangerous course. Amidst the debris of his life, he sought solace and centering in creating music. Writing and recording was the door that led out of the toxicity, and walking through bestowed him with a myriad of blessings and, ultimately, the path to healing.
During this time, he met Charmagne who introduced Dave to Steve Moriarty, the former drummer of one of his favorite bands, The Gits (who were also plagued by tragedy in the rape and murder of legendary firebrand front-woman Mia Zapata). The pair’s meeting was a surprise orchestrated by a mutual friend and Charmagne, who sensed the twosome shared inner tumult.
In a strange coincidence, Dave met Josh in the wake of the passing of Josh’s best friend. Upon Josh sharing the painful news, Dave eerily sensed the deceased friend was his childhood best friend who had just passed. He proved to be right. Newly added in 2018 is astounding bass player Mel Chappell, a long time friend of David's and a legacy in her own right.
Debuting is a 9-track, 32-minute sonic and emotional white-knuckle ride. The title song, and first single, opens with an ominous rubbery bassline and shards of jarring noise guitar before locking into a swaggering grunge riff. From there, the hooks come fast and with heft, recalling the hypnotic hard rock grooves of Queens of The Stone Age. Once the song takes flight, the band is lockstep tight, an unstoppable machine featuring melodic, yet scrubbed-raw vitriolic vocals. The engrossing “Dangereux” video melds fiery live performance footage with menacingly psychedelic imagery.
The true meaning of many of Dangereux’s tracks are cloaked in mystery, but the smoldering mid-tempo groover, “Northern Lies,” does openly address a transformative moment for Dave. “That’s about me coming to grips with coming back to America. It’s about seeing the true colors of someone and deciding you need to move on. I wrote the lyrics in the airport, it was a time of new beginnings after a broken situation,” Dave reveals. Among an album rife with infectiously catchy dark anthems, another standout is “Next to You.” The track’s slinky grooves and slithery riffage showcase the band’s telepathic interplay and the band’s Godzilla-sized rhythm section pocket. The track’s title is deceivingly romantic, masking a desperate need to intimately connect to feel warmth and redemption.
Drummer Steve Moriarty’s ties to the Seattle scene through The Gits helped foster a connection to the esteemed producers who both were eager to work with Wolves In Argyle upon hearing demos. One snapshot from the sessions was an unexpected moment of cuteness from Tad, known for his imposingly large stature, who was spotted in a moment of pure uninhibitedness shaking his booty to the group’s newly recorded tracks. To give the album cohesion, and a sense of collaboration between the producers, Tad mixed the album and Jack mastered it.
Up next, Wolves In Argyle are collaboratively working on new material and priming for an active schedule of gigging and touring. “This band and this music have been responsible for a lot of positive emotional growth for me, and it’s helped me rebuild my confidence,” Dave says laughing, adding, “If I died tomorrow, I would be pleased where I got to, going out in style with a smile on my face.”
Photography by Melissa Rivers
Singer, Songwriter, Executive Producer, and Concept
In Band: Vocalist and Guitar
Dave Holmes was born in Stockton, CA. Born into a music family with his great-grandfather being one of the founding artists and guitar players for Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys (Country Music Hall of Fame inductee). His father was a bass player for the Yellow Jackets. He started taking vocal lessons at the age of 5 (off and on) and picked up his first guitar at age 14. By 15, he was already playing shows with punk bands around all of Northern California as a singer and as a bassist later moving to guitar. He was hooked on music and never looked back forming bands such as the Oozzies, Shootin' Lucy and Wrong Way Right - writing the majority of the music and lyrics, and playing with several others. Dave started the concept of Wolves In Argyle in early 2013. In 2016, he was signed to Street Scholar/Bungalo/Universal Music Group for a distribution deal. The hard work and constant writing suddenly commanded a full lineup. He finalized his recruitment of Wolves in August 2016.
In Band: Drummer and Killer of Skins
Steve Moriarty was born in the Midwest. His father worked as A/R at Capital Records in the 60's, working with acts like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, The Beach Boys and MC5. He studied jazz drums with legendary jazz drummer Charles Mastropolo. Steve moved to Europe and has toured in rock bands since age 17. He joined the Iconic Punk Band The Gits in '86 and moved to Seattle in 1989. He recorded with The Gits until '93 and toured with numerous other groups. Steve later joined up with Joan Jett and founded Evil Stig for an album with Warner Bros. Steve's discography is immense having recorded on Epic, Sub Pop, CZ Records, Broken Rekkids, Empty, Profane Existence and Warner Bros. He moved to the SF Bay Area in 2004. He joined the Wolves in March 2016.
In Band: Bassist and Backup Vocals
Mel spent her formative years in the mid and southern states of the U.S. before moving to the farmlands of California. Out of boredom she spent most of her time collecting and playing records. At fourteen, Mel got her first guitar and started learning Beatles and Zeppelin songs. Mel left home at 15, moving up and down the Coast taking odd jobs until finding a home travelling with the Renaissance Faire. She lived a gypsy lifestyle, surrounded by worldly musicians, performers, and artists for a number of years until deciding to move to San Francisco. Not knowing a soul in the City, Mel was fortunate to answer a room rental ad placed by local drummer, Mark Pino, who introduced her to Eric McFadden. Mel spent a lot of time in this SF music scene. She was very inspired by Eric’s playing and writing; he even sold Mel her first bass. Mel began playing around with like-minded musicians and landed a spot fronting a 3-piece, all-girl band called Stellar. From there, Mel started her own project fronting Punkpop maniacs, Hotbox, which enjoyed much local success; tours and releasing several albums, a few on Mel’s own label, Roach Coach Records and Telegraph Records, Fat WreckChords and numerous compilations. From there Mel released several solo, singer-songwriter albums and has played in numerous projects since.
In Band: Rippin Guitar and Backup Vocal
Josh was conceived in Los Angeles where his mother was born and raised. BUT he was born in Santa Fe New Mexico due to circumstances unbeknownst to him to this very day. He has not been back to Santa Fe since catching his first rays of daylight there. His Papa was a rolling stone - touring as a rock, rhythm + blues, guitar, piano, and singer. Through genetic osmosis, Josh picked up killer talent as well. After getting his first guitar at the ripe old age of 17, he fronted and put out records with the bands Big Swifty, Zec, and Fire In The Asylum - all toured extensively throughout the United Sates. He became known for his explosive guitar playing and animated stage presence. It landed him gigs with such acts as 12BarFlies, The White Trash Debutantes, Living Room, The Heat Merchants, Betty Ford Explorer, and currently with Pet Rocket and Dead Hello. Josh is the newest addition to the wolf pack and will be slaying audiences all over the planet – his personal guarantee.