Backstage at Summer Sonic with L.A. rockers Beta Wolf

Made up of front man Grant Arnow, guitarist Sergio Ruelas, guitarist and vocalist Devon Pangle, bassist Brian Pho and drummer Chester Lang, Beta Wolf have created a stadium-sized Rock rare in today’s watered down music world.

Their sound harkens back to Rock’s better days when every band member was not only known, but revered for their musical prowess.

Beta Wolf brings that big sound, but with a young, fresh twist. Weekender caught up with the band on their first visit to Tokyo.

What do you think of Japan?

It’s like a dream come true. We didn’t know what to expect, it’s literally been one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. Everywhere you look you see something unique, and playing at Summer Sonic was the culmination of all of it. Tokyo’s better than anything we’ve ever seen before.

What did it feel like playing at one of the biggest festivals in Tokyo?

Take the best feeling you’ve ever had and multiply it by 100: you’re still only half way there… It’s been amazing.

Best thing so far?

The best part of all of it is the relationship we formed with our new friends here in Tokyo. We really feel like we have a family in Japan.

You played a few acoustic sets for the radio here, how did it go down?

We played gig in a shopping mall in Yokohama. We had families coming up to us after the show and they were like star struck! It was insane: fans almost in tears, people shaking, we didn’t know what to say.

We had kids 2-3 years of age and grandparents, it was a special moment for all of us. It’s been really humbling.

Which bands at Summer Sonic have influenced you?

Mutemath, Beady Eye, Chili Peppers, Mars Volta, we were stoked to see Korn too.

Beady Eye or Strokes?

Beady Eye! Liam Gallagher is one of our heroes.

Julian Casablancas, or Liam Gallagher?

Sergio: Liam. Julian is a just dirtbag! (laughing).

L.A. or Tokyo?

Both. We are from L.A. it’s our battleground. L.A. is great, but like anyone’s home town, it’s frustrating for many reasons, but right now Tokyo isn’t frustrating, it’s just amazing.

Do you know the Japanese band Guitar Wolf?

Yeah! I saw them in NYC, the guitarist said “Guitars Rip Ass!” We need to play together—maybe call it the ‘Full Moon’ tour.

If you headline next year, won’t you be the Alpha Wolves?

We think to be the Beta Wolf, is to be humble, sincere and work your ass off. When the Alpha Wolf dies, that’s when the Beta Wolf takes over… We think the Beta Wolf, has almost more responsibility than the Alpha Wolf: you have to be ready and get none of the credit, you really have to earn your respect.

Tell us about your new album:

The album is named Dark Days, It’s a place we’ve all felt, but without a dark day, you can’t have a good one. We decided to make it as heavy as possible and that everything came from a sincere place. We made sure all of use were firing on all cylinders, we worked really hard and it evolved over time into something that we’re really proud of.

What’s your favorite track?

The lead track, Obsession is a real barn burner, we all get excited to play it and I think it sets the course for the record, which is no apologies rock ’n’ roll: It’s substance, not style over substance.

How did you guys react to the earthquake in March?

We wrote a song called Believe in Love, that came from us talking to a person we are very close to in Japan (DJ Snoopy). When she wrote back “I’m alive but very scared,” it broke my heart. As a band we can’t change public policy, but what we can do is come and make people feel good, when we found out we would come and play at Summer Sonic, we thought: what an incredible opportunity.

Any FINAL message to fans?

Thank you! We’ll see you soon, and welcome to the gang!

Obsession is available to download now and Dark Days will be released on October 19th on Victor entertainment.

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