I am the hungry wolf
And run endlessly with my mate
I see the gutter feed on the foolish
Outrun and kill the strong
At daybreak I roam
Awake to who follows me
I roam, I roam…
There is an assuredly visceral knock upside the noggin to The Hungry Wolf, and it wastes absolutely no time getting there.
As the lead track from the 1982 album Under the Big Black Sun by L.A. punk legends X, The Hungry Wolf instantly erupts into tribal drum patterns and thunderously distorted riffs. Almost immediately the tone is confrontational, baring teeth, a fearless declaration of presence.
Kind of like wolves on the prowl, I suppose. Which, to be fair, is the point.
Vocalists John Doe and Exene Cervenka, married at the time of the recording, imbue the titular wolf and their mate with both strength and longing. Doe’s voice is low and growling, Cervenka’s is high and howling. Accordingly, their menace hits from both angles. They are circling their prey.
The song just cooks though. That midsection featuring D.J. Bonebrake’s drum fills and guitarist Billy Zoom’s simulated wolf howls could have gone on for another half hour, as far as I’m concerned. Then again, this is X, not King Crimson. At three minutes and forty-five seconds, The Hungry Wolf is a paradigm of less-is-more. Just guitar, bass, drums, and those haunting vocals.
So add The Hungry Wolf to your Halloween playlist. You know what, throw out freakin’ Warewolves of London while you’re at it. This one is the real lupine deal.
The hungry wolf
Stares from the hill
At the villagers around the fire
She loves her mate
As he loves her
And they live together for life…