Possibly one of the most talented, yet under-appreciated of all Canadian metal acts, White Wolf was formed in 1982 in the height of the hair days, when Don Wilk got together with guitarists Cam McLeod and Rick Nelson. They recruited Les Schwarz on bass and drummer Loris Bolzen, and soon began doing the local bar scene in and around the Edmonton area. It wasn’t long before they were touring the western provinces, and were signed to a deal with RCA the following year.
They went into the studios and came out with their debut lp, STANDING ALONE, in ’84. They utilized two producers for the project, Danny Lowe and Jack Richardson (most noteable for his work with The Guess Who, Bob Seger and Alice Cooper) each bringing to the table their own specialized talents and experiences. Appearances on local tv variety shows helped spread the word, following their debut’s release. Also geared for public relations, management had two different covers printed for the lp.
All the exposure helped White Wolf tour extensively into the States as well as eastern Canada. Though nothing was really geared for radio play, Alberta FM stations began playing the title-track, with its anthemic aura. Other highly under-rated tracks included “Night Rider”, the thought-provoking “What The War Will Bring”, the driving force of “Metal Thunder” and “Shadows In The Night”, released as the band’s second single. A quarter of a million copies of the debut were sold world-wide.
The group’s reputation for their musicianship, as well as their live energy landed them gigs from coast to coast, opening for the likes of fellow Canadians Lee Aaron and Kick Axe, and Australia’s Angel City during the Texas leg of the tour. The band flew to Holland to record at Bullet Sound Studios under the guise of Shell Schellikens, whose biggest credentials included working with Golden Earring. The result was ENDANGERED SPECIES – released nearly two years later – another well thought-out, crisp and energized metal masterpiece. With the lead off track “Time Waits For No One”, Wilk’s powerful vocal prowess again shone. The sheer dominance of the twin guitar attack peaked in “Snake Charmer”, while other noteworthy songs included “Just Like An Arrow”, and the haunting “All Alone”.
The album was sitting at #114 on the Billboard charts when RCA was bought by BMG Records. Sensing a lack of support from the new label, the band chose to leave BMG after the end of the North American tour in ’87. They carried on into the next year, but eventually called it quits in the spring of 1988.
Wilk went on to a number of other projects, including Point Of Power, Project X, and a solo album called MAKING CHANGES in 1993. In 2004, he resurfaced with a new project called Bitter Suite, featuring a host of other musicians, including George Criston of Kick Axe. They released CRIME OF LOVE on US-based Mayhem Music in 2005. The new millennium also saw MacLeod join China White in Edmonton, releasing the band’s self-titled debut album in 2004.
Now based in Germany, Wilk (now going by the pseudonym Don Wolf) and MacLeod reformed White Wolf in 2007 with Rikard Quist on bass, guitarist Martin Kronlund, and drummer Imre Daun, all previously with the Swedish metal band, Gypsy Rose. They landed a deal with indie label Escape Music and released a new record that fall called VICTIM OF THE SPOTLIGHT. Quickly heralded as one of the better rock albums of the year, it was a throwback to the ’80s, and contained the single “She,” the title track, the moody “One More Lie,” “Nightmares,” the guitar melodies of “America (Hello Again),” and “Don’t Turn Away.”
They followed it up with a live album called LIVE IN GERMANY a year later, covering the band’s three studio albums.