Local Band Catapults Onto Shelves with Debut Album
Story by Michael Seguin
Photography by Syx Langemann
There is a famous anecdote that goes something like this: Many years ago, an older man was having a drink at a French pavement café. To pass the time, he was idly doodling on a napkin. A woman recognized him as none other than the world-famous Cubist painter Pablo Picasso. As the artist got up to leave, the admirer asked if she could have the napkin he’d been sketching on.
Picasso replied to that of course she could—for the small price of one million francs.
The woman was horrified. “But it only took you five minutes to draw that!” she protested.
“No,” Picasso said. “It took me 40 years to draw that.”
This may have been a little dramatic of Mr. Picasso. But, by that same logic, Age Of Wolves—a new local band that formed in October 2019—has been fermenting for over 100 years.
Age Of Wolves guitarist Al Yeti Bones has been performing across North America for the past 25 years. An accomplished solo artist, he has lent his talents to several different bands, including The Mighty Nimbus, Georgian Skull, Mister Bones, Gypsy Chief Goliath and most recently, Age Of Wolves.
And although the band has only been around for less than two years, they are already making waves. Age Of Wolves has already signed a deal with Pitch Black Records for their self-titled debut album. As well, a documentary chronicling the band’s early successes entitled Age Of Wolves: Lockdown 20/21, is set to release on Amazon Prime.
“I’m a family guy,” Al explains. “I have a wife and two kids. And I love Windsor! I have always admired the city’s music scene. There’s something special here. I’m proud to have built my roots here.”
And Al’s roots stretch back into Canada’s Stoner Rock scene. After he first started plucking at a guitar at 12 and discovering bands like AC/DC and Black Sabbath, he decided that—in his own words—he would either become a musician or die trying.
Al first launched his touring career at 19. Then, his band Mister Bones was already generating significant traction.
“At the time, I was attending St. Clair College’s Journalism program,” Al recalls. “But I decided to drop out after my first year to tour with the band. After coming home, we ended up signing with a label out of Montreal and putting out four records. After that, I ended up touring with other bands that all did really well.”
Over the past two decades, Al has not been idle. And thanks to his experiences across various bands, his relationship with music began to mature. Not just as an art form, but as a business venture.
“Every time I came back from tour, I learned something different,” Al explains. “Something more. I learned how to be professional. I started to view music in the bands not so much as a relationship, but more as a business. An entrepreneurial venture. It’s all about getting together with three other guys and forming a business out of our music.”
The three other guys in question are Mike Edwards, Dwayne LaFramboise and Ray Solomon.
“Mike Edwards comes from the band Lodown, which was a favourite of mine growing up,” Al states. “Dwayne and Ray are from My Terminal Ritual, a band that did pretty well several years back. The three decided to form a group after leaving their previous bands.”
Al was invited to join the new group after Mike reached out to him.
“Mike said, ‘Dwayne plays drums and Ray plays bass,’” Al explains. “And Mike himself is a singer, but they needed a guitar player. Mike had always wanted to play in a band with me and I had always wanted to play in band with him. So, it was a very reciprocal relationship! These guys are such veterans and such great players that I felt really motivated to find out how far we could go.”
However, despite their instant chemistry, deciding on a band name proved more difficult than anticipated.
“We were going back and forth with a million different names!” Al states. “We would spend hours in our message thread trying to come up with something. At that time, we were meeting up once or twice a week before we got stricter with ourselves. So, we would go into the rehearsal space and say, ‘Who do we want to be today?’”
One night, they called themselves Phantom Limb. Another night, they went by Spaceship.
Finally, they settled on Age Of Wolves.
“One day, we tried on Age Of Wolves,” Al explains. “And then the next week, we thought, ‘Hey, let’s be Age Of Wolves again.’ Before long, we were developing Age Of Wolves graphics and logos.”
Al feels that the name is fitting, especially for a band emerging out of the global pandemic.
“The name just seemed to reflect the time were living in,” Al states. “It was our way of playing off all the wolves in sheep’s clothing and all the division out there.”
That said, the last 18 months in lockdown have been an incredibly creative period for the band.
“We’ve been running pretty hard since the beginning,” Al states. “When the pandemic hit, we just went to our cave and kept writing and recording. Then, when we were finally able to get into a studio, we were able to put our album together relatively quickly. We were so new, so fresh and so hungry, that we just kept at it.”
Now, after months of recording, Age Of Wolves is releasing their debut album with Pitch Black Records.
And to commemorate this time in their lives, Al conscripted his friend, Syx Langemann, to film a documentary based on the band’s momentous formative years.
“Syx is a Photographer and Videographer here in Windsor,” Al explains. “My bandmates and I decided to commission a documentary, even though we are a new band. But between the 4 of us, we have over 100 years of performing experience. This movie is an opportunity we presented to ourselves to look back say, 20 years from now and see how we built this thing.”
Age Of Wolves: Lockdown 20/21 is set to release on Amazon Prime.
As the band launches into new heights, Al encourages any aspiring musician to follow their passion and run with the wolves.
“In today’s climate, it’s very possible to generate a buzz with your band,” Al states. “It’s very, very possible. It’s very plausible to choose music in today’s day and age, much more than it ever has been.”