Beta Wolf wants to be the alpha dog of rock
WANT TO GO?
With Beta Wolf
WHERE: Clay Center
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 8
TICKETS: $35, $45 and $50
INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.org
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rock 'n' roll isn't dead, rocker Grant Arnow says, but it's sure having a tough time right now.
"It's just not in vogue," the singer bemoaned. "I've got lots of friends jumping on the DJ bandwagon."
Arnow, who fronts Beta Wolf, said there's nothing wrong with electronic music. It's popular right now, and he likes it, but following a trend isn't what Beta Wolf is about.
He said, "I think it takes quite a bit of courage to say, 'We want to be in a rock band. We want to do something that's fresh and unique.'"
Beta Wolf, which opens for Daughtry at the Clay Center on Aug. 8, is not Arnow's first rock band. Not so long ago, he and guitarist Sergio Ruelas were part of another band, called Takota and, in the beginning, he said, they really thought they had a shot at being something.
They had a major record deal. They were touring the country -- but they were going nowhere.
"It's the typical story you hear," Arnow said. "Band gets signed to a record deal but then, three years later, you're still working on the same record."
The group disintegrated. Band members went in one direction or another. Arnow and Ruelas decided to start a new band.
"Sergio and I were really committed to the idea of creating a rock band that sort of represented all the different things we wanted when we were 11 years old."
So they went back to the Los Angeles music scene, recruiting bandmates from around the city, looking for talented people of like mind. What they found were musicians like them -- veterans of other bands and musical projects who'd come close to realizing a musical dream, but maybe not the right one.
"We'd all been through the wringer," he said. "We'd all really experienced the pitfalls of being in a rock 'n' roll band."
Beta Wolf, Arnow said, has really come together and realized a lot of what he and Ruelas intended.
The music is straight rock, although Arnow acknowledged that there is a thread of '80s and '90s hard rock and metal from influences like The Cult, Motley Crue and Guns n' Roses. They also draw on influences outside of that, including arena rock and rap.
"I am a huge, huge Queen fan," he said, "but I also love the new Rick Ross record."
Arnow said the band has been growing slowly, but steadily. It signed with a Japanese record company, which he acknowledged was a different way of breaking into the broader music scene.
"We put a full-length record out, then toured quite a bit in Japan, which was fantastic!" he exclaimed.
For its U.S. debut, the band settled on a five-song EP as a bit of an introduction before releasing a full record. The EP was released July 31.
"We wanted to build up some awareness," Arnow said.
The plan has worked OK so far. It helped Beta Wolf land the slot opening for Daughtry.
"I have a lot of respect for Chris Daughtry," Arnow said. "Instead of getting a VH1 Top 10 band just because that might get a little more exposure, he chose us because he backs our music."
The tour with Daughtry won't last forever, but Beta Wolf isn't ready to go home. When this tour ends later this month, Arnow and his bandmates are looking for another tour to hop on for the fall, and more after that. It's a mission.
"People are waiting for a great rock band to believe in," Arnow said. "We're the band for those people."
Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.