As Tour With The Who Comes to a Close, Reignwolf Returns to LA for Biggest Show Yet
Smashing a guitar isn't as it easy as it looks.
It can't really be rehearsed or hedged in the slightest, but if you're an artist like Jordan Cook of Reignwolf, the spontaneity of the bands insane high-energy live performances has to be balanced out with a little practicality, namely, being able to put the guitar back together post-smash.
The secret, explained Pete Townshend who had Reignwolf open the The Who's Moving On tour, is all about the adhesive.
"I'm a huge fan of Reignwolf," Townsend told fans at their Sept. 6 show at the XCEL Energy Center in St Paul. "You know he smashed his guitar the other day, and I had to explain to him how you glue the neck back on."
Townsend is talking about Cook, the front man for Reignwolf, the band and name he’s used for his solo shows since 2012 when he moved from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to Seattle to pursue his music career. After nearly seven years of crazy live performances, but a very small catalog, Reignwolf released their debut album “Hear Me Out" in March, a dizzing 10-track flurry of rock anthems and hard pounding drum and guitar solos that now serve as a blueprint for the band's high-energy rock shows.
Reignwolf is headlining the Henry Fonda Theater next week (Oct. 5), wrapping his U.S. tour that included solo club shows in between nights playing with The Who. Billboard caught up Cook to discuss his new album, life on the road and his biggest LA show yet.
How long have you been on the road?
There's about 60 shows on this tour, which, you know, consecutively, I would say is probably the most we've done back-to-back. We're playing with a bunch of different energies because we're out with The Who for the summer and we're also doing our own club and theater shows, and playing in some festivals. Every show is a completely different experience and it feels like we’re getting bigger because the Who shows are in front of like 20,000 people and that just ups everything.
How are The Who’s fans responding?
They’re either in right away or it’s not their thing, which is what I like. You either just love us or hate us. There’s no room for in between.
On your new album Hear Me Out, you're exploring dischord with songs like "Wanna Dont Wanna" and "Over and Over" that go from really intense distorted vocals and drums to these really soft textured sounds that build and explode. What has the audience’s reaction been?
We started opening our shows with "Over and Over" and right now it's probably our most popular song. There's something so exciting about how the vocal never ends, it just keeps going and hitting you over the head, you know? It's one that really tests the audience and that's the core of what we are pushing.
Reignwolf has opened for The Who and Black Sabbath and your performance style really appeals to a large audience of classic rock fans, although you’ve avoided that label. Why is that important to you?
We’re not an old school band, we’re a new band. It’s great having a guy like Pete Townshend in our corner and actually showing up at our shows and when he said he was a fan of the band, we were just sitting there stunned because, you know, it’s Pete Townshend, the biggest bad-ass living. And the one thing I’m grateful for is that we’re playing the hell out of our instruments. We’ve been playing together since we were kids, and there’s that brotherhood that comes out in our music.
So your tour wraps at the end of the month and then you have your biggest show in LA yet at the Fonda and get your name on marque on Hollywood Boulevard. How does it feel?
Playing the Fonda is no joke, living in LA I go to shows there all the time and I've dreamed of playing that place. I actually got invited by Rick Ruben to go to a show there when he was producing Angus and Julia Stone. The place was just jam packed And I remember thinking, “damn, I can't wait til we play here,” and it's finally happening.
After the Fonda, you’re releasing “Keeper” the third single from Hear Me Out. That song feels like it could be the most commercially successful, what are your plans for the track?
And that one seems to come up at every show and people are yelling out for it. There is something really special about that song, you know, and, and it's coming out when we go to Europe because one of the guys I wrote it with, Blair MacKichan, who is from the UK, and Matt Hales from Aqualung. We had a jam one day and that song was absolutely instant. It kinda came outta nowhere and was written very fast and there's something about when it's not thought about and the bare bones are strong. You could play it on one instrument, like a piano or a guitar, and the song is there.
How does it feel to perform the song?
I have a weird guitar technique thing I've been doing that pulls up at the strings and for “Keeper,” I swipe up on it and it’s the only song i don’t use a pick. It took me a minute to figure that one out.
Whether its the music or how your manage your career, you always insist on doing it your way. Why is that so important to you?
That's what makes this thing so interesting to me. It's not about 'we're trying to get here, or here.' It's about the music number one. And then, you know, the other things will come and I've always been a firm believer in that and if it's happening, like having all of the legends and guys that we looked up to actually care about the music, that's more than I can ask for.