Gene the Werewolf – “Rock ‘n Roll Animal”

“Rock ‘n Roll Animal” is Gene the Werewolf’s international debut album. The band was formed in Pittsburgh in 2006 and is comprised of five native Pittsburghers. Gene The Werewolf (aka Jon Belan), a graduate of the Universityof Pittsburgh, is the band’s lead guitarist and vocalist. He also plays piano. Drew Donegan, a California University of Pennsylvania graduate, also plays guitar and sings. Aaron Mediate (keyboards), Nick Revak (drums) and Tim Schultz (bass and vocals) make up the rest of the band. The guys came together after – conveniently enough – all their previous bands broke up around the same time. Gene the Werewolf’s initial promise was to “play music that was as ridiculous as it was awesome!”

Guitarist and vocalist Drew Donegan though more appropriately describes Gene the Werewolf’s sound as “classic rock with a modern vibe”, similar to what bands like Kiss, Def Leppard, AC/DC and Motley Crüe would sound like if they released their music today… a far cry from the pop-punk bands the band members had been in previously. “We also like the term diamond-core, because diamond is the hardest rock known to man”, Donegan said.

When referring to “Rock n Roll Animal”, the band’s newest album, Gene exclaims: “It’s the perfect soundtrack to a beer-infused Saturday night!” The first video / single, “I Only Wanna Rock N’ Roll”, exemplifies what Gene had to say about the recording. “The track sounds as caustic as my new look”, says Gene referring to sporting a dirty cut-off jean jacket and ass-kicking boots. However, there’s more to this album than just scenery.

So they claim the record sounds like a whole host of the bands that I have loved for years. Really? Let’s just see shall we……. well if you add The Darkness to the list, I reckon you’ve got it. What a record for a debut! Wearing influences proudly on their collective sleeves you get a blend of lads’ night out, kick a$$ rock that blends harmony vocals, keyboards and riffs to kill for (or at least steal!). Chant along choruses blend with the kind of bar-room boogie that was once patented by a certain Aussie band – yet this never turns to plagiarism and this can only be due to having allowed the love of all those other bands to prevent the AC-DC tendencenies to take full control.

Plenty of bands aren’t shy about flaunting cocky bios and making no secret of their self-perceived talent, but few take it as far as Gene the Werewolf. “We used to say we were the best rock band, but by now I’d say we’re just the best band ever,” Donegan said. “We play absurdly loud, sweat our asses off, and then sleep on filthy apartment floors together because we love doing it “.

Ultimately, the band’s intentions are as pure as they’ve ever been. “We formed this band to play loud, rowdy, and crude Rock N’ Roll,” says Gene. “I think with this record we’ve accomplished everything we’ve ever wanted out of being in a band together.”

They’re now ready to conquer the world with their Hard Rockin’ – feel good music. When the band and this album were first described to me, my initial reaction was that they sounded “just up my alley” . I was right, they are and you’ll be happy if you find these happy, sleazy, joyous lycanthropes playing in your neighbourhood. Watch out for the ‘Wolf!

Released on 23rd November, “Rock ‘n Roll Animal” is available on Frontiers Records

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