Expect this interview to be short and sweet, just like the career so far of Denver’s Speedwolf. The punk-fueled classic metal-aligned speed freak outfit released a few great singles and demos followed by one must-hear record in 2008, played a riotous beer-soaked set at Maryland Deathfest in 2013 and then… broke up in 2016 without releasing a second record.
At the moment, in the wake of bands like Khemmis, Blood Incantation, and others, Denver Colorado has a reputation as a white-hot spot in America’s metal underground, and Speedwolf deserves some credit for being the region’s first, biggest cheerleaders — their anthem “Denver 666” remains something of a calling card for the city.
The band’s premature burial is being reversed. The band is being disinterred for one night, at least, in order to headline the third Electric Funeral festival, which will be held in Denver this year. Drummer Richie Tice answered a few of our questions in anticipation of the group’s revival.
So for anyone reading this who maybe wasn’t aware that Speedwolf ever split up—and so find your reunion very surprising—can you tell me the story about how the band came to a halt in the first place?
Well, the reason for the split was basically my fault. Life kicked my ass. I was on probation with the law. my father passed away, I had my first son. I just wasn’t able to tour and that’s what everyone wanted at that time. We all had individual stuff going on that kept us from talking, jamming and working together. We turned down a lot of shows and tours, but we’ve never hated each other. It was always more of a “when the time is right.” It just took a little longer than expected.
On that same note, how did you guys decide to get back together?
We’ve had a lot of offers and people calling us out to play all sorts of different ways. Graveyard called us out at a show. Websites have been made. Fans have begged us for shows. Jake, Kris and I have been playing music together since high school, basically. We just have great chemistry together and with Reed, it takes it over the top. Its a strong power all four of us have together and it’s finally time to settle differences and go back to what we do best and play Speedwolf music again.
Since Speedwolf broke up, Denver’s become sort of a hotbed of metal in the united states. Obviously, Khemmis and Blood Incantation-slash-Spectral Voice are these bands that can tour the US and pack rooms. What do you think of the local scene now, and how do you think Denver became this region where metal is very fertile right now?
Denver has always been a great town for metal and music. We’ve known the guys in Khemmis and Blood Incantation/Spectral Voice for a long time and they are all great bands as well as tons of bands from Colorado. It’s just about time people hear what’s going on in Denver.
For a band that wrote “Denver 666”, it’s got to be strange having your vocalist live in New York City. What’s it like transitioning from being a band with this strong local identity to being a sort of diffused, long-distance project?
I know his heart is still in Colorado. All of ours are. NYC is just a place to live. It’s just what life has thrown at us. It’s not to bad so far. I know if we all want something done we can make it happen.
The obvious next question to ask is: now that you’ve reunited, what’s on the horizon for Speedwolf. I’m sure some people would love a new record.
As far as the horizon for Speedwolf right now I can only hope for more shows, a second record, smiles and good times from all us dudes.