Someone's probably already drawn up a list that catalogs rock bands whose names reference wolves in some way or another—Wolf Eyes, Wolf Parade, and so on. If that list is exhaustive, Le Loup’s name should be on it; Le Loup means "the wolf" in French. Before the Washington, D.C., art-pop collective performs Saturday, Nov. 7, at The Black Cat, singer-keyboardist Sam Simkoff sees your cutesy wolf-band list with his own catalog of wolf-related songs, and raises you by avoiding any and all references to Duran Duran or Warren Zevon.
“Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” by Tracy Morgan doing Tracy Jordan
Sam Simkoff: It’s made as a goof-off thing. If you ever watch 30 Rock, Tracy Morgan’s character is called Tracy Jordan. It was a little blurb in one of the episodes, but then they released the entire single as a promo for the show. It’s got that sweet little hook in the chorus: “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah / Spooky, scary / Boys becoming men / Men becoming wolves.” At first, we thought it was funny, but it has quite the tasty beat. It’s a sweet little ’60s jam. If you’ve ever heard “The Monster Mash,” it’s kind of a takeoff on that. It kind of sounds like [The Hollywood Argyles’ 1960 single] “Alley Oop” and all that kind of vintage.
“Thriller” by Michael Jackson
SS: First of all, it’s a really sweet song, but what clinches it for me is the music video. He turns into a werewolf at the beginning and they do the werewolf dance, that sweet werewolf dance. The werewolf dance has become this cultural icon. Wasn’t there a prison in the Philippines where all the inmates coordinated that dance? That says something for the weight of werewolf-y movements. “Thriller” is kind of a serious version of “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.” You don’t see those novelty hits anymore. There was a very specific time and place, the late ’50s and early ’60s, where “The Monster Mash” wasn’t just this hilarious thing done by Jack Black or something. It was the jam. People were flipping for that kind of stuff. “Thriller” was just a really quick revival of that. When you think about a song where you have Vincent Price throwing down a rap halfway through, in no universe would I readily expect that to be a smash hit. It just goes to show that if you’re a good enough songwriter, you can make anything palatable.
The A.V. Club: Have you achieved that level of songwriting to make a werewolf song palatable for your next album?
SS: It’s going to be all werewolf songs! There aren’t enough songs about wolves or werewolves. That should be our primary objective.
The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer theme song
SS: It’s got, I don’t want to say a breakbeat thing going, but I feel like I can pop and lock to it. It’s almost the start to a Pierce Brosnan-era James Bond movie. It’s very aggressive and it gets me kind of pumped for Wolf Blitzer.
AVC: It’s a little unusual to be a fan of a television news program’s theme music, isn’t it?
SS: [Laughs.] Yeah, maybe, but aren’t these better than “Hungry Like The Wolf” and “Werewolves Of London?”