Bad Wolves

An interview with Tommy Vex
by Tommy Rage
December 2019

Bad Wolves

Bad Wolves

Seven years ago, Tommy Vex decided to end his life by stepping in front of a moving train. The talented and charismatic lead singer for Bad Wolves had seen his life come to a complete stop. Leaving his first band, Heresy, Vex, stepped in as the singer for the 90’s Nu-Metal band, Snot. Fronting the band from 2008-2009, and again in 2014, Tommy’s outrageous alcohol and drug usages began to take a toll on him. “I’m in recovery [now] and there is a saying, ‘you are only as sick as your secrets’, and I had been traveling and touring with other people as a sober coach and helping other artists stay sober for a few years. The thing about depression is that people need to know that they are not alone. Part of the problem of being depressed is that people feel ashamed about the condition, and if you feel ashamed then you aren’t going to get help. I think group therapy and 1-on-1 therapy is really important for mental health, because people need to feel that they are not alone.”

Bad Wolves 2018 debut album, Disobey, was both diverse and focused at the same time. From the aggressive metal-edge songs such as “Learn to Live”, to softer rock songs like “Hear Me Now” (featuring Diamante), the album scored a top five hit on Billboard’s US Hot Rock Songs with a cover of the Cranberries track “Zombie”. Vex notes how the group took a different approach to crafting their new album, N.A.T.I.O.N. “I think for all intents and purposes, we have a much more focused drive and we trimmed a lot things down. We did some things we didn’t do on the first record. We focused a lot more on song writing. We did an acoustic song like “Sober”, which is primarily acoustic guitar and vocals with percussive like drums. “No Messiah” is a good representation too, it’s really ‘hooky’. It has brutal riffs with piano, and excellent guitar leads. We are a non-genre band. We have rock songs and death metal songs. We have everything and the kitchen sink [laughter].”

Hard work, dedication and raw talent were keys to the success of the Bad Wolves from early on. Combining the talents of Doc Coyle (lead guitar), Chris Cain (rhythm guitar), Kyle Konkiel (bass), and John Boecklin (drums), Vex laughs at what some people have called the L.A. band. “We’ve been called a super-group, which is a funny title, ‘cause super-groups are made up of multi-platinum artists, and we didn’t go platinum until we got together. All the guys are veteran musicians and have toured together over the years. John started the band after he left Devil Driver, and he is an excellent musician who plays every instrument. Chris came into the fold and they sent me some demos and originally we worked on a demo called “Want To Live” which was to be used for a soundtrack for a commercial. The song came out so good, that we decided we would start working together. Doc came in with Kyle and we are all lifers. For this second record, we have figured out who we are. It’s a much more mature version of the first record.”

The 2019 release of N.A.T.I.O.N., has shown bright with three brilliant new singles. A melodic rock anthem “Killing Me Slowly,” a heavier, riff-driven track “I’ll Be There,” and their radio-friendly rock track, “Sober.” The band’s wide range of creativity and musical styles is truly a group effort shares Vex. “Right now, “Killing Me Slowly” has been climbing the charts. It’s an interesting song. We actually started writing the record on our break; last year in 2018, when we did 200 shows.  Somewhere during our last fall tour, we had a week off and I went into the studio and started working on this song. It’s an interesting track, as it deals with betrayal trauma and the aftermath. It’s not in first person. I wrote the song from the person who cheated and messed up the relationship and what they have to they have to deal with after the other person that they love moves on without them.

The 2018 success of Bad Wolves has allowed them to grow as a band and to broaden their sound. Maintaining their metal-guitar edge sound, the band fussed dynamic elements of every genre into their second release. Drawing on a wide range of interests, including politics, love, loss and everything in between, Vex notes how N.A.T.I.O.N. was a collaborative effort. “We as a band, we all think it’s important to be open and address our experiences. Sometimes John writes really good lyrics, and he has really great melodies, and we talk about great song ideas. Like “Crying Game” and “Better Off This Way” are songs that John and Doc had very heavy influences on and it helps, because it makes it a collaborative effort for everybody to have a voice. We get to share whatever pain or positives we are going through or just the scope of emotions that people go through. We pour them into our songs.”

With strong support from their manager and fellow rocker, Zoltan Bathory of Five Finger Death Punch, Vex and the Bad Wolves crew look forward to bringing a there spectacular show to the Alliant Energy Center on December 11th in Madison with Five Finger Death Punch and Three Days Grace. “We can’t wait to see everyone again in Madison and it’s going to be an awesome show.”

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Bad Wolves
CD: N.A.T.I.O.N. Record Label: Eleven Seven Music
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