Rolling Stone


Turning the absurditie­s of daily life into comedy hits


THE FIRST TIME Ethan Edenburg, Eric Jackowitz, and Tom McGovern hung out, they wrote a song. It was March 2022, and they were in Los Angeles, toying around with their instrument­s, when the conversati­on turned to what it would be like to have a midlife crisis while visiting Las Vegas.

“It’s a Sunday on the Strip. My divorced-ass moved to Vegas,” McGovern started singing as he played piano. “My wife left and took the kids. And it’s a good thing that she did ’cause they were annoying as shit.” Edenburg grabbed his guitar, and Jackowitz got behind the drums. “A skateboard­er gave me a vape, and it was great,” crooned Edenburg before launching into the chorus. They added another line about strip clubs and imagining Frank Sinatra shooting a busboy, and within a few hours, they had written their first single, “Vapin’ in Vegas.”

“I think there was this collective feeling of ‘Holy shit!’ ” McGovern says of the group’s musical and comedy chemistry. “It was effortless,” adds Jackowitz.

A mere nine months later, the three men, now known as the Wolves of Glendale, found themselves onstage in Las Vegas … performing “Vapin’ in Vegas.”

They hadn’t intended to start a comedy band. Edenburg and Jackowitz, who have known each other since high school, were in a group called the Cooties that had recently split up and were hesitant to dive back into a similar group. McGovern, meanwhile, was still getting settled after moving from New York to L.A. But that creative “spark” they felt during their first session together made them realize they had something rare: “We speak the same comedic language,” says McGovern, adding that the trio fits together like a puzzle. Edenburg plays the guitar, while Jackowitz is on drums, and McGovern rounds out the group on keyboard. Even their respective vocal ranges lend nicely to a three-person harmony. “It’s cheesy, but it feels like we’re creative soulmates.”

It doesn’t hurt that they got an early blessing from comedy rock gods Kyle Gass and Jack Black of Tenacious D. “I was working with Kyle Gass as a drummer, and we had become super close,” recalls Jackowitz. “When I got the call to come jam with Ethan and Tom for the first time, I was like, ‘I don’t know, guys. Should I be in a comedy band? What do you think, Jack Black and Kyle Gass?’ They’re like, ‘You should absolutely do that.’ So, it was weird to get spiritual guidance from them, as it’s all happening in this weird kismet-style way.”

“This whole band runs on kismet,” says Jackowitz.

And he might not be wrong — in just the two years since the band formed, they’ve opened for Tenacious D, David Cross, and Jukebox the Ghost; performed at the Netflix Is a Joke Festival; and are on tour in support of their first studio album, released in January.

Songs like “The Gym,” “Loud Ass Car,” and “Free Sample” spin wild, unexpected comedic narratives into radio-ready tunes. Their song “Olivia” tells the story of a man who falls in love with his roommate, who just so happens to be a ghost who must eat puppies (yes, puppies) to survive.

“The beauty and the freedom of musical comedy is that we can also have a song like ‘Shrimp,’ where we’re just yelling the word ‘shrimp’ to a Daft Punk beat for two minutes,” says McGovern. “Part of our mission statement is to make the dumb thing sound as good as you possibly can make it.” Jackowitz adds: “We want people to think, ‘You guys put in so much work for this stupid, idiotic idea.’ ”

Even the band’s name evokes a kind of hard-working-go-of ball ethos .“We needed something that straddled the line of hard and dumb,” says Jackowitz. “A wolf is super badass, and Glendale is a very sleepy suburb of Los Angeles where we happen to work. Plus, the only other huge band to come out of Glendale is System of a Down, the arguably hardest band of all time. So, we knew we were in good company.”

But most important, the Wolves of Glendale want everyone who’s listening to feel “overwhelme­d with joy” — especially when they are performing at a show where the crowd is unfamiliar with their work. “They have no clue what’s about to happen,” Edenburg says. “And they’ll just be sitting there looking at me like, ‘What a bozo you are.’

“Then, after the show,” he says, “they’ll come up and tell us they are now our biggest fan and were laughing the entire time. That, to me, is just the best. That’s a testament to what we’re doing.”

 ?? ?? McGovern, Jackowitz, and Edenburg (from left)
McGovern, Jackowitz, and Edenburg (from left)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States