I stumbled into my first Reignwolf show some First Friday a year or so ago while wandering through the caverns of the Murphy. I left, a mere 45 minutes later, a changed woman.
Well, at least a little changed. And fully entranced by the shredding blues rock devil I'd just seen prowl every inch of the teeny lounge stage. Reignwolf – legal name, Jordan Cook – dominated that show (and the hundreds since) with pure rock energy. He snarled, he ripped, he played guitar and drums and sang, all at once. It was majestic, and a little bit scary. He's a monster performer. He's a wolf man.
I'm not the only one in the grip of full-on Reignwolf fever. Cook and crew (drummer Texas Jo and bassist Stitch) receive only the most glowing of show reviews – and I'd mention their album reviews here, if they actually had an album to review. They've been embraced so heartily and quickly that there wasn't any time to finish a full-length in the studio before they were swept up by Black Sabbath as a tour opener. They'll rejoin the Prince of Darkness in Europe after a set of headlining shows, including one in Indianapolis on Saturday.
It's expected that a performer like Cook, he of the eerily prodigious chops and extra-manic stage presence, would have previous brushes with stardom. Perhaps unexpected, though, is that his first successes came when he was smaller than the guitar he was playing. In his pre-Wolf days, Cook was a pint-sized Canadian guitar prodigy. I grabbed a few minutes with Cook to chat about those early days while Reignwolf was setting up to play in Tulsa.
NUVO: Did I read that you started playing guitar when you were 2?
Jordan Cook: Yeah! My dad played music, so it was just simple to pick it up. It was just always around, kind of like the biggest toy in my house.
NUVO: Do you ever remember not playing?
Cook: That's the thing – I don't remember that. I even failed a year of school because I was out playing gigs when I was like 6 or 7 years old. Seriously. My teacher called my parents, and was like, "Look, he's not doing his work. What is it?" I was drawing guitars in math books, and the whole bit. So basically, I've never spent a minute not playing music. It's always been the only thing I've ever really done.
NUVO: What's your earliest memory of playing the guitar?
Cook: Probably the first time I ever performed, which was at a jam session in Saskatoon [Canada], where I was born. Basically there used to be all these great bands that would travel through. My dad would take me to go see them because they had this matinee jam session. I would just get up on stage with all these awesome bands. Because they would see this kid standing in front of the stage, staring them down, usually that just meant they'd get me up there and see what happened. That would be my first memory, and I'd say I was about 5 or 6 years old, the first time I kind of performed.
NUVO: Your KEXP session has been passed around a lot, perhaps in lieu of an album. How'd you pick Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" as a cover for that session?
Cook: This mandolin [that Cook plays on that song] was a gift from my parents a few years back, and I'd never really seen anybody use on of these before. ["The Chain"] was the first thing I played when I got it. Honestly, it wasn't like I went looking for a cover. It just happened that way. It was the first thing I played on the instrument when I got it. It was my first reaction to how to play a mandolin for some reason! The KEXP was probably the first time I'd played that out live.
NUVO: When can we expect a release from you?
Cook: To be honest, if we ever get off tour! We're basically touring like crazy. At the same time, I've been doing some mixing from the road. We'll hopefully have something quite soon. But good things take time. Within this year, we'll definitely have our debut record. It's an unbelievable thing going out on an arena tour with a band like Black Sabbath and not even having released our first record. To be honest, in a way, that means just as much to me as getting out there in front of that many people. Just the fact that they would have that much respect and support towards us. Because they don't need to do that. They can have any band they want.