Apr 24, 2013 05:05 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
Rock Duo Keepin’ It Haggard
With only a couple of drums and an electric guitar, Morgantown rock duo Haggard Wülf delivers a captivating macabre vibe with its own twist on blues, folk, and rockabilly. Playing a snare drum and a bass drum while standing up, lead singer and drummer Michael Kulina belts out chilling lyrics with his gruff, soulful voice. Guitarist Chris Shuttlesworth plays mischievously, spurring electric guitar riffs while donning a bit of an outlaw stage presence—a bandana over the bottom of his face. Songs like “Death Parade,” “The Floorboards,” and “Never Bet the Devil Your Head” are popular ditties from their 2011 album, Those Who Cried Wulf, and newer songs “Bath Salt Blues” and “Night of the Vampire” are other local favorites from the band’s Live at the Elk Hotel 2012 release.
Chris and Mike have been asked many times why they don’t have more band members, but they enjoy the simple but powerful feel of Haggard Wülf as a duo. “At this point, I think adding another member—whether that be a bass player or whatever—would take away from the dynamics that we’ve created,” Chris says.
The two became friends in 2003, and the band came about from talking about cliché tattoos. Chris says, “I think I said something like, ‘Yeah, they usually have a really bad wolf howling at the moon on their upper arm. It's just all haggard looking!’ And there you have it—Haggard Wolf. We changed the ‘o’ to a ‘u’ and put the umlaut over the ‘u’ like Motörhead just for fun. [For the logo,] Mike drew a cartoon wolf on a fry box from Wendy’s.”
Haggard Wülf will perform just about anywhere at any time, and having only two band members, one guitar, and a minimal drum set adds to the convenience. “I would like to add a little more to my drum set—maybe a floor tom and a cymbal or two. I started out small because I wanted to focus mainly on my vocals. Maybe I’m lazy, but I like that I can pack it all up and load everything in one trip,” Mike says.
With no plans of slowing down soon, Haggard Wülf has a split 7” vinyl record with the Stalnaker Brothers, a new EP titled Mourningside, and a full-length album all in the works. Haggard Wülf’s inspiration continues to be drawn from dark, societal turmoil, though Mike and Chris are two of the most easygoing people. “Lately, we’ve been focused on the topic of conspiracies and the overall sense of paranoia that comes from the strange world we live in,” Mike says. Chris says they already have a few songs ready to go for the new Haggard Wülf album. “It won’t be from a preachy perspective or politically angled. That's not what we're about. It's more like presenting people with stories, ideas, possibilities, and giving them something to think about.”
See Haggard Wülf live:
Thursday, May 2, 2013, at Gene’s Beer Garden, Morgantown, with The Furr and Shivering Timbers
Friday, May 3, 2013, at MJ’s Sports Bar, Fairmont, with Shivering Timbers and The Stalnaker Brothers
Saturday, June 15, 2013, Clancy's Irish Pub, Keyser
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