Not all musicians enjoy the lifestyle of constant touring but blues man Wolf Mail is a true road warrior. Born in Montreal, Canada, raised in France and California, and now a part-time resident of Sydney, Wolf has been touring since he was 14.
Wolf – his first name demands to be called – is again on the road to traverse Australia and play tunes from his sixth studio album Above the Influence. He set aside some time to tell the Champion about life in a traveling band.
“Well I tour about seven eight months of the year,” he said, “I’m pretty much always touring and don’t really have a steady home. Pretty much the main factor (why I tour constantly) is just my recordings and making a living, but I’ve been travelling since well, a long time, I think its in my genes or something.
“But it’s a wonderful thing you get meet new people, see new cultures, and eat new foods, the beer you drink. Yeah, I find it exciting. It’s not for everyone and there is a bit of an up-rooting feeling when you’re sleeping in a different bed every night. But, I think, because I started travelling at such a young age I kind of got use to it and have built up an ability to keep on touring.”
Wolf – named Wolfred Mail by his parents – started playing guitar at age 10, after hearing his stepfather play. He was captured, he said, by the listening tastes of his parents, who it seems loved Motown and Delta Blues. By age 14, Wolf was playing his own music live and had no desire to anything but make a career of it.
“I think what happened was, my mother was always playing records of say Elmore James and Albert King and these guys and I couldn’t even tell it was blues, it made me happy,” he said. “I thought that sounds fantastic: and actually, I didn’t find out it was called blues until later.
“This is pretty much what I decided to do from a very young age. As a teenager, I had a chance to tour with a rock band and experience what it was like, you know to be a rock star, and to be a part of that and it was always what I was going to do.”
That was some 25 years ago, and Wolf has now toured the world several times over. The road has led him to some interesting gigs; places many young musicians might not think to take their music.
“Some places are definitely more appreciative of our music than others,” he said. “Places like Japan. Japan is such a wonderful place to play music. Most people probably don’t know this but there is more records and downloads sold in Japan than in the United States and Japan is only about the size of California with 120 million people instead of 350m.
“So I would truly recommend Japan to any musician that is trying to break it.
“And there is a place I can think of called the BB King Club in Moscow, in Russia, that is truly a wonderful venue. The people they know everything about music, and it’s just a pleasure. There’s a place also, called Patrick, in San Diego, that’s really cool. It’s a great club where lots of musicians go.”
Wherever he goes, Wolf sees a connection between people and music that transcends culture and race.
“I think a lot of people can pick up on the passion of that expression in my music,” he said. “And I think it’s universal. You don’t have to your roots in rock, it’s universal and you can connect with that. Particularly in places like Russia, where they’ve always been oppressed in some ways, when they see a musician that is expressing their passion they can really connect with that.
“What people say to me is passion is something that they can somehow feel is true. In today’s age, there’s so much stuff up there that when people get a sense of something that is true, they want to connect with that, they want more.”
Wolf Mail Above the Influence Tour
Friday October 4th
Lizotte’s, Dee Why, NSW
Saturday October 5th
Great Southern Blues Festival, Narooma, NSW
Tickets and info: www.bluesfestival.tv
Thursday October 10th
The Northcote Social Club, Northcote, VIC
8:00pm, $10 presale, $15 door Tickets: www.republicbar.com with Pete Cornelius
Doors 7:30pm, $25 door, $20 presale Tickets: northcotesocialclub.com
Sunday 13th October
The Governor Hindmarsh, Adelaide, SA
$20 + BF presale, $25 door Tickets: www.thegov.com.au
Thursday October 17th
Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
9pm, $29, lizottes.com.au
Friday October 18th
The Basement, Sydney, NSW
9:00pm, $35 door, $30+BF presale Tickets: www.thebasement.com.au
The Clarendon Guesthouse, Katoomba NSW
8pm, $35 door, $30 pre-sale clarendonguesthouse.com.au
Sunday October 20th
The Beaches, Thirroul, NSW