Friday, January 9, 2009

Gene The Werewolf

Gene the Werewolf from Gene the Werewolf's Face Book

Hey, only Old Mon would segue from the Hurricane Lounge and Billy Strayhorn into indy guys Gene the Werewolf, but the decades do march on...

When five guys from the Pittsburgh outliers of Irwin, Belle Vernon, and the South Hills decided that they wanted to start rocking, let the good times roll, and put some fun back into the local music scene, Gene The Werewolf was born.

Formed in 2007, GTW is made up of members that paid some Pittsburgh dues. Vocalist, guitarist & keyboardist Jon Belan moonlights with Punchline, played with The Berlin Project, and is now the band's frontman and hirsute namesake, Gene The Werewolf.

The other members are Tim Schultz (bass/vocals), Aaron Mediate (keys/snyth), Nick Revak (drums) - all three were former players for TBP, which broke up in 2004 - and Drew Donegan (guitar/vocals), who joined in from punkers Clearview Kills.

Though the group has only been together a short while, they've performed across the U.S., U.K., Canada and Japan for the better part of the last decade with their other bands, and shared the stage with acts like Eddie Money, the Clarks, and MxPx as GTW.

“The concept of this band is that people can go out to a rock show and have fun like they used to before the scene became all about hot dudes with tight abs and no talent being in the spotlight” says Belan.

Actually, what they are is a group of straightforward indy rockers with some power chords and without much in the way of pretense. “We want to play music that people can relate to, while still being ridiculous and awesome. I mean, we asked a werewolf to be our lead singer for crying out loud” says Nick.

During the summer of 2008, Gene The Werewolf recorded their first (and so far untitled and unreleased) album with producer Jamie Woolford, who's worked with The Gin Blossoms, The Stereo, and The Format, at Innovation Studios in Steubenville, with plans to stock the shelves in the first half of 2009.

“I think the record will be one half Kiss, one half The Darkness, and one half Foo Fighters” Belan explained. Hey, don't worry - he knows his bands better than his math. They also have a two-song sampler disk available at their shows.

The act has been performing live since its inception and is developing a regional fan base. "I think people have been excited to come out and see something new from the bands they have listened to for so long," according to Belan. They plan to spread the fun around later in the year when they take to the road in support of the CD.

So far, so good. The band’s first show at South Side’s Club Cafe in October, 2007, sold out in 20 minutes. GTW has strutted its stuff at the Homegrown Hoo Ha ‘08, an annual area festival that drew 12,000 local fans this year. They've been featured on 105.9 The X, 96.9 Bob FM, and 102.5 WDVE. Their show packs the area rock clubs.

First, a word of caution. The band refuses to play any shows during a full moon. “Its simply not safe”, says Gene. “I mean, one minute I could be up there playing, and the next minute I would have completely devoured 5 or 6 people in the first row of the crowd. I just wouldn’t be able to keep fans liking our band if I ate all of them when they came to see us play.” Word.

But when the moon is behind a cloud and Gene makes an appearance, the stage show is a sight to behold. GTW might use a drumline to open up the show, shoot a cannon filled with dollar bills into the crowd (there goes the gate) or have a werewolf dancing along with the band on stage, just to keep Gene company. And the music's pretty tight, too.

GTW will appear with The Space Pimps and RC Static for an all ages show at South Side's Diesel Club Lounge at 1601 East Carson Street on Saturday, January 31st. The doors open at 7:00, and the show starts at 7:30. It should be safe - you'll be under a quarter moon. Whew! Gene isn't supposed to transform into his fuzzy alter ego until February 9th.

So if you feel like lettin' the fur fly and howling at the moon with Gene the Werewolf...

"Superhero" - Gene the Werewolf

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