Heart of Steel: Interviews

WOLVERINE - Interview with Stefan Zell

Interviewed by JP

Wolverine. I grabbed their debut EP when it came out a couple of years ago. I was very impressed and predicted big things for them. Now as their second CD has just been released to critical acclaim across the globe here I am interviewing them!

Stefan, Thank you very much for agreeing to talk to us. Because many of our readers unfortunately may not be familiar with you, so these questions may seem a little simple. I hope you don't mind!


Tell about the early days of Wolverine. Where are you from & how and when was the band founded?

The band was formed by Marcus (drums) and myself back in the summer of '95. At first it was actually a side-project since we both had other bands that we played in but pretty soon it turned out to be our main-priority.


I'll be quite honest here. I don't feel Wolverine is a great name for a band, especially a band of your caliber. I feel it doesn't accurately describe what the band is about. Why did the band choose that name?

I actually agree with you. Since we started out as a side-project we didn't think much about the name, plus back then we actually played some sort of death-metal so the name was definitely a much better fit then. Over the years the band developed but we never thought it would be a good thing to change our name since we had actually built up at least a small fan base. When we released Fervent Dream in '99 it was definitely too late... So now we just have to live with it I guess, ha, ha! On the other hand, what does "Queensr˙che" really say about their music if you think about it...?


What can a listener expect to hear on a Wolverine CD? What are some of your influences (and others in the band)?

You can expect to hear melodic / progressive metal leaning towards Fates Warning / Pain of Salvation and some more groove oriented things. At least a lot of people have told us that we remind them of those two bands. My personal influences would be Queensr˙che, Whitesnake, Kiss and various pop/rock acts. Overall we have a very wide spectra of influences.


Your debut is quite hard to find. Any plans to re-issue it again or will it remain a cool underground collectors piece?

Well, it was actually re-issued as a digipack plus it also contained two bonus tracks. This was done in April 2001 by a label called Emerald Factory that we don't work with anymore. I guess that one is pretty hard to find as well and we are out of them. Hopefully we'll get a very small shipment of those soon so they may be available through our website in the near future. I don't know if it will be re-issued in the future but it certainly ain't impossible.


Wolverine is one of a few bands putting the word "Metal" back in the descriptive term of "Progressive Metal". How do you see your self in relation to other heavier progressive bands like Zero Hour, Evergrey and what do you feel is the current state of progressive metal in the world today?

I definitely think we have our own sound... but then again, doesn't everyone? He, he... Seriously, I think we are more groove oriented than a lot of other "prog bands". At least if you look at our latest album "The Window Purpose" and I know our next release will have a lot of that as well. I can't say that I think we sound like any of those two bands you mentioned. We've played with both bands and I think they are much different than what we are.

I don't really know what I think about the current state of progressive metal today... It's not my main priority anymore so I guess I'm not the right person to judge it but it feels like it was better before. Some of my all time heroes have definitely fallen... It seems to be a lot of progressive music out there but I can't relate to half of it. I'm more into pop music and rock 'n roll nowadays.


One of the things I really enjoy is the bands dual vocal style, growls and clean. That is a fairly unique sound for progressive metal. How did the band develop this sound? Or do you see the label "prog" as too limiting for you?

As I said before, we started out as a death metal band so those vocals have always been with us although they are used more as an effect today. About the label "prog"... I don't know what to think of it anymore... Most bands that call themselves "prog" sounds the same as a hundred other bands, at least to my ears. I don't know if I'd like to be labeled "prog" since I'm more about great melodies and great songs and those things have always been around so there's nothing new there. I don't know what I would like to call "prog" today... I think "The Gathering" would be one of the few bands I'd call progressive. When it comes to Wolverine I'd rather see us as a melodic metal band since I think that fit us much better.


I understand there are pro's and con's of signing with a bigger, out-of-country label. Tell us about your experiences (good and bad, if any!) getting signed to The End Records.

They actually only distribute The Window Purpose in USA. Our main label is DVS Records which is a small, but great, label in The Netherlands. The negative thing about DVS Records is that they can't afford to pay for studio-costs and so on but on the other hand they are great at many other things. I only have great things to say about The End. They have treated us amazingly well and they do great work! We have interest from a few bigger labels but as of now we are an unsigned band. 


Tell us about the new CD!

It is called The Window Purpose and it is sort of a concept-album. We get to follow a man on his journey through his past life. Maybe not that original but I think it's an interesting story and we are really proud of the album. Forgive me for bragging a bit, but it has gotten excellent reviews all around the world. We just hope to get out to promote it live but so far we haven't had any luck in that area.


What are your plans for the near future? Tours? Festival gigs in Europe?

As I mentioned above, we haven't been lucky in this area. We are looking at a tour this autumn but nothing is ready yet. We'll see what happens but we certainly want to come out and play live.


Do have any last comments for our readers?

I just hope that you buy our album and that you will like it. Hopefully we'll be able to come and play live for you some day. Take care of yourself and each other!


Thanks again Stefan and Wolverine!

Thanks for your interest! Take care and keep up the great work!

Stefan Zell

The End Records - www.theendrecords.com
Band website: www.wolverine-overdose.com

Wolverine CD Reviews
Fervent Dream   /   The Window Purpose

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