Nottingham’s Bob Tilton were (quite rightly) regarded as one of the finest bands of their kind in the 1990s and groundbreakers in what would come to be known as (shudder) “emo”. When Tilton broke up in 1999, founder members Neil Johnson (guitar) and Simon Feirn (vocals) wanted to carry on pushing things even further out than their previous band had managed. Recruiting legendary hardcore drummer Steve Charlesworth (Heresy, The X Rays) they formed Wolves Of Greece. Adding bassist Philip Welding (Schema, Manrae) and guitarist Chris Summerlin (Reynolds) they played for the first time in November 2000 and were active until December 2004. Guitarist Summerlin recalls: “I remember Neil and Simon describing the idea for the band to me. It sounded like they had identified every trope of ‘hardcore’ and ‘punk’ and the plan was to not just avoid them but to antagonise anyone who held those things sacred in any way. The first practice I went to was exactly like the gigs that followed: chaos. And it stayed that way throughout the following 4 years. We got better at playing live and not self-destructing so the gigs got a little longer over time (increasing from 10 mins to about 15 by the end) but the band purposefully never pinned things down enough to ever feel routine or easy.” During those 4 years they put out a single record – a one sided 10” on Gringo that documented their notoriously brief, wild live set of the time and is now long out of print. Whilst the band were fond of the record, there was always a sense that the full story hadn’t somehow been told. Lockdown gave the former Wolves opportunity to take stock and being to round up their unreleased material into one definitive document of the band. In 2002, BBC Radio One Sound City came to Nottingham. Inexplicably, the band found themselves part of the main event, playing live on John Peel’s show broadcast from The Boat Club. Peel famously said that the Wolves live experience did something unprecedented in his lifetime of listening to really loud music. They gave him toothache.
Wolves of Greece, 2000-2004 compiles this live Peel Session (remastered and officially licensed for the first time) with four songs recorded in 2003 (originally intended for release on a 7′′ and remixed in 2020) and two demos recorded before the band dissolved in December 2004. The Peel session is a fortuitous snapshot of a band at the peak of their powers. It manages to be simultaneously absolutely raging and completely baffling (as you will hear from the audience reaction). Most Wolves gigs ended in broken equipment or confusion so it’s remarkable that they were on such fine form when the BBC outside broadcast boffins were there to commit it to tape. The unreleased 7” is even further-out. Adding a cellist (though not in the conventional sense) to one song, the music feels stretched as far as it can go without breaking. The two demos that round off the compilation show what happens when that breaking point is reached. Members went on to play in Lords, Endless Grinning Skulls, Kogumaza, Savoy Grand, Geriatric Unit, Grey Hairs, Blind Eye and Hey Colossus after the band’s demise (not to mention parenthood and other adult concerns) but remain friends. However, don’t expect a reunion show anytime soon.