My history of Raven Wolf - Are those symphonies forgotten?
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|- The RavenWolf Timeline
- 1991 - How it all started (for me)
- Limbo - The true beginning
- In the beginning - There were three
- And then there were four - Something missing?
- And so it began - The long road to nowhere.
Where to begin? - Well, I suppose at the beginning would be a good start:
I am David Storer, the drummer for Raven Wolf, and while sitting around one day, thinking back on the many many many great times I had being a part of this group, I realized that with the exception of a very very basic effort some years ago, that none of the Raven Wolf stories had ever been chronicled, so I decided to go though my collection of memorabilia and put together this web site.
The idea behind this site is to tell the Raven Wolf story as I remember it. Of course there may be a few inaccuracies along the way, but that's just too bad. Everything on this site, and I do mean everything has been done by me, and me alone.
I have had NO assistance from anyone at all. All html, scanning, graphic's, logo's etc are strictly the result of my own personal effort. Since this material all essentially belongs to me, so does the copyright. All the members of the band that I am in touch with have given their blessing to the creation of these pages.
This site is not intended to be "too factual". If it appears that way, it is merely coincidence. I realized that if I was going to undertake a project like this that it would be impossible for me to "pick-and-choose" from my collection of memorabilia. So instead of taking selected bits and pieces, I have decided to include EVERYTHING that I own from this era of my life.
With the exception of a few donated collectables from friends and fellow bandmates, everything here belongs to me personally. That said, I would like to thank anyone who has loaned me stuff to photograph/scan for addition to these pages. If you are reading this and are thinking to yourself "Hey, I have something that relates to Raven Wolf in some way." (A photo, a flyer, a bootleg recording, video footage or anything else whatsoever, then let me assure you that I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Please see the "Contact" section above for details to get in touch. No matter how insignificant you think it may be, please contact me for almost certain inclusion to this web site. (Or if you do not want your stuff published, contact me anyway, as I would like to hear from you all the same :)
Anything that you can contribute will be returned (if you wish) to you at my expense. Also, if you would like to send us something, but do not want to pay for the postage yourself, please let me know and we can arrange a COD deal, so it will end up costing you absolutely nothing but your time.
|Pre - 1991 - How it all started (for me).|
had heard that a live band was going to be playing a gig, in front of a
local surf-shop, a few block from my home, and having never gone to see a live (metal)
band before, I had to go and investigate. It turned out that the band in
question was V.O.D. (Voice Of Destruction) and although it seems hard to
believe, there they were on the tarmac in the parking lot making a horrendous
I arrived around halfway though the set, and a smallish crowd had gathered. I watched and just enjoyed the "live vibe" so much. Some guys were moshing and head banging near the front and everyone seemed to be having a really good time.
After the gig, I got talking to the bass player, Diccon Harper. I can't recall what we were talking about, but I mentioned that I had just recently purchased a drum kit. (my first). He told me that he was looking for a drummer to join him and some others in putting together a new band he was working on. Of course I was blown away by the idea, and although I had only had a drum kit for a month or so, and could hardly play a steady beat, I had my heart set on getting along for an audition. Before I even had a chance to twist his arm, he asked me to come along to jam with him and guitarist Cliff at their practice venue. At that time, this was a place called "Roxon Studio's". It was a really small venue tucked away on the upper floor of a building in Pepper Street, Cape Town.
A date was made, and I started wondering just what I had gotten myself in to...
Since I didn't really know a lot about drumming (only that I really LOVED doing it), I made a serious effort to try to learn all the basics as fast as possible. I did this by playing along with some of my favorite songs. I had the drum kit setup in the garage with an old Sony Hi-Fi that I could blast pretty loud and just jam along until it sounded the same. (Much to the detriment of my neighbors.) The tracks that got me started were: Q5 - Pull the trigger, Guns n Roses - Sweet Child of Mine, Metallica - Leper Messiah etc to name but a few. I never had drum lessons as such, and since I had nobody to show me the "correct" way of doing things, I ended up picking up quite a few bad habits, but on the other hand I developed a few interesting techniques, which I have been told is what sets my style of drumming apart from others. Although I may not be technical or flashy, I do have a strange technique and style that allows me to play some rather odd stuff. (Best compared to Danzig (1-4) drummer: Chuck Biscuits with his unusual beat structures with lashings of Scott Columbus of Manowar for his metronomic (is that even a word?) simple but solid creations - Of course a lot of Lar's Ulrich ( Metallica)'s beats and fills "found their way" into my stuff too. - ok ok, I just ripped it off to be honest.)
So, after getting my dad to give me a lift to the venue (yes, I was so young, still living with my parents) I eventually got there on a Sunday late afternoon as I recall. It was summer and really warm. Eventually we got in, set up and started making noise. We attempted tracks like "Paranoid - Black Sabbath" and the experience of actually PLAYING music with other musicians was a life-altering event. Although I was utterly hopeless, it was so incredibly enjoyable to play music together, that even the sweltering heat couldn't deter me. I recall it was really hot in the room we were practicing in, and all there was to drink was beer. Since I do not drink, I had to decline, although I was dying of thirst. Of course the ringing in my ears and the blisters on my hands made any suffering worthwhile. Two odd hours later, we were done, and I had loved it. Thinking that my drumming was way too bad to get me in, I was really surprised when I was told that I "was in". This was the start. I would soon get some rough demo tapes from Cliff and Diccon with some original material that they had been working on. Guitar, Vocal and Bass, with awful metronome-like drum box drums. It was up to me to put drums to the tracks and although what I came up with wasn't all that complicated, all things concerned, it was pretty ok. In fact drum tracks I composed for CLASSIC Raven Wolf songs like Laughing In My Grave remained the same since then, right up till the current day. Although I could improve them, there is something about the simplicity that just makes the song for me. I can't imagine hearing them any other way.
Quite a bit of time passed for us in this format. Me, Diccon and Cliff bashing it out in all sorts of strange places. During this time I was REALLY struggling to keep up the pace, since I was self-taught, it was quite challenging at times to sound credible, and since we were coming up with new material all the time, it just wasn't easy. I had a definite worry that my ability (or lack thereof) was keeping the others back, and I made the decision to let Raven Wolf go ahead without me. Much to my disappointment. We parted ways, but it was too late. The bug had bitten. Even though we had not at this stage performed live, I had had a taste of what it was like to MAKE music, as opposed to listen to/appreciate it. To those who have done similar, you will know what I mean. There is no going back once you have felt the thrill of coming up with a new riff/bass-line and drum beat that just "click". Pure magic!
|Limbo - The true beginning.|
was a while. A LONG while. Many hours spent in the garage with the headphones
and hi-fi doing karaoke drum-a-long to the classic's. Metallica (of course),
Guns n Roses, Black Sabbath, The Rods (Let them eat metal!) etc. I didn't
know how, where or when, but I knew that someday I would be able to play
with a band again. Of course numerous "plans" were formulated
with friends about this "ultimate group" we would someday form.
Needless to say, it never materialized. Not from lack of wanting it to happen,
but logistical, financial and practical reasons thwarted these efforts at
Eventually I received word that Raven Wolf was still trying to get off the ground, and this time it was Clifford who what doing the hunting for potential drummers. I was very reluctant at first, but after much consideration, I decided to give it a re-try and make my appearance at the "auditions" that were being held at Atries Cellar Pub. I remember getting there and seeing a couple of other drummers who were obviously more "talented" than me, but for some reason, when they played with the rest of the band, it just "didn't work". Don't ask me to explain it, it's just something you had to see (hear) yourself. My turn came to make some noise, I setup my stuff, and since I already knew the songs, we leapt right in and everything "just felt right". I felt like I really stood out. Probably self-concious about my (lack-of) ability. Some of the other drummers there could actually play, but my secret weapon (unknown to me at the time) was that I already knew most of the songs. That alone made my ramshackle efforts sound a LOT better than the others, and I was LOVING it. I loved knowing that even though I wasn't as good as some of the others, I knew something that they didn't: I knew where the pauses were!
I don't actually remember being told "OK, you're back in.", but needless to say the consensus was that the greatest potential to "go somewhere" with what we were doing was with this lineup, since with me, most of the groundwork was covered, and it really was just a case of getting better AT IT, rather than having to get to know it all from scratch. Since I had been working on my drumming quite a bit, I now felt I had the confidence to actually progress with the others and actually contribute, albeit in a small way, to the music. This is what I was after, and this is where it all started in earnest.
|At first there were only three of us. Diccon Harper, myself in the middle and Cliff West on the (viewers) right.
We knew we would have to get enough songs together so that we could at least aim towards some kind of live performance. In order to do this, we took up a (somewhat) regular practice slot at a venue that Clifford managed to arrange. A vast majority of the practicing that took place during this pre-gigging phase was done at "St John's Hostel". A small vacant room was available where we could make noise, and the best part was that is was free. Since we were not making any money gigging, this was an ideal arrangement.
We later went on to practice at "The Stage" on Loop Street. I believe it was Wednesdays and Sundays if my memory serves me correctly. There were "paid for" practice sessions, ie you pay by the hour to reherse there and this time available is usually minimal and flies by pretty quick. Frank,
the owner/runner of the show at "The Stage" was somewhat of
an extortionist as well. Prices were a little steep, but since we were
pressed for practice space, we made a plan. My poor (late) father ended
up footing the bill for many of these practice sessions, and was one of
the few people at the time who actually believed in the whole idea of
pulling things of as a band. This is not even to mention the many many
trips that had to be made playing taxi for me, my equipment and quite
often other band mates.
had always had the idea that eventually we wanted to get another guitarist,
as some things are just better done with two guitars, and the kind of stuff
we were doing would have benefited greatly from this.
One day Clifford mentioned to me that he had met someone who was going to come along and jam with us at a practice. The whole thing had an "audition" feel to it. Enter David Shapiro. We immediately got along and I was completely blown-away by his guitar playing. Although I did a good job of hiding it, I was telling myself that "we have GOT to get this guy to play with us".
We ran through some stuff, and it just felt SO right. He made it look so efforless.
David was "recruited" as the new member, and would later turn out to become KEY to the unique sound that is Raven Wolf.
David, was already a pretty accomplished guitar player when he joined us went on to become nothing short of a BRILLIANT guitar player, who style "clicked" so well with us that Raven Wolf would most certainly not be the same without him. Having some strange tastes in music which obviously had some impact on his own style added to the mix. His concepts of riffs and layers was great, and as he had a very rudimentary understanding of drumming, he was able to bash out the odd beat on the drums as well. This was VERY useful at times when they were looking for a beat to fit a particular riff, and I was struggling to "get it". David could bash it out on my drum kit, and I could take the idea and run with it further until it worked. What a great formula.
recall the (Ibanez?) "calculator guitar" that he had. It had a
"calculator" keypad on the front which could be used for tuning (amongst other
things) in conjunction with the 3 LED's at the base of the strings. It was
just one of those things that eventually became a "signature"
item. "Dave with the calculator guitar".
Dave later went on to getting a Fender Bassman valve-head amp which had the sweetest sound. (Even though intended for a bass). Slightly "warmer" than the Marshall which he had before that (and which I sorely miss). Just another one of the ingredients that went toward formulating that Raven Wolf sound, which to this day, I have not heard duplicated anywhere.
Even from the very early Raven Wolf days, we imagined certain songs with "flute parts" and in some cases "violin parts", and the goal was to someday incorporate these into the songs. But how and where do you find a flute player and or a violin player interested in joining a "metal band"? Little did we know that we would get both. In fact the violin player was already attending Raven Wolf gigs in these days, since it was Adam Shapiro. Yes, David Shapiro's (younger) brother. Who would eventually become the bass player and violin player (and even occasional vocalist) to complete the formula. but lets not get ahead of ourselves...
|And so it began - The long road to nowhere.|
It was the 17th of August 1991 (A Saturday). This was the first time we ever played live. The gig was at The Stage in Loop Street , Cape Town. This was indeed a VERY special day in my life. Almost certainly in the top 3 days of my life to date!
I can recall after the gig I was euphoric. Everything was fantastic. For all know, we probably played terrible, but it didn't matter. There were people watching US. people had paid money to see us perform, and they had enjoyed it. We had enjoyed them enjoying it. I felt great, and that feeling had a firm grip on my soul ever since.
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