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'I write the kind of songs I'd listen to' 

Talking with Tom Cheshire of Atlanta's All Night Drug Prowling Wolves

The All Night Drug Prowling Wolves are far more than just an anthropomorphic lifestyle choice. The quartet makes the kind of uncomplicated, riff–driven pub rock that was bread and butter for late ‘70s, first wave punk acts like the Clash, the Replacements or Social Distortion.

The group released its second album, Make It Right, this week and they’re coming to Savannah to celebrate in style with a show at Jinx on Saturday, Sept. 4 alongside Niche (Savannah) and G.G. King (Atlanta).

The songs on the new record are catchy, pure and simple, with the focus on strong hooks and melodies. This isn’t the raging thrash of early Bad Brains, nor is it the power pop “punk” of Blink 182. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to take a shot of whiskey, hoist your beer in the air, throw your arm around someone and sing along.

We caught up with lead singer Tom Cheshire by phone last week to talk about the new album, the origins of the band’s name, and the magical power of music to make you live longer.

The origins of ANDPW

“I moved from New York City to Atlanta almost 20 years ago now. I met Marlow Sanchez (ANDPW’s guitar player) probably 16 or 17 years ago, and we formed a band called the Rent Boys. That band broke up and we went different ways. I ran into Marlow a few years ago. He basically had this idea, and he had the band name, the All Night Drug Prowling Wolves. He said he’d been working on some guitar riffs and he wanted to get back together with me and write some songs.”

The band name

“The name is the last line of a Clash song, ‘White Man in Hammersmith Palais,’ and the Clash have always been an influence on me and Marlow. When Marlow wanted to call the band that name I was totally cool with it. I think when we wrote that first record, it was very much us trying to write our version of a Clash record.”

The new record

“The title of the record, Make It Right, is pretty autobiographical. We have our ups and our downs. We’ve messed up a lot of things, relationships and stuff, and we’re just trying to fix them....When people ask me what they should do with this record, I say, whatever your favorite beverage is, whether it’s a pint of Guinness or a glass of cheap red wine, put the record on, hopefully with someone you care about. It’s on vinyl. It comes with a lyric sheet. Enjoy your drink and chill out. Read it. It tells a story... It really does document certain things we’ve all gone through.”

Songwriting

“The greatest songs always kind of write themselves. I like to write songs and I love music. Why do I write the kind of songs I write? Because I write the kind of songs I’d listen to. I’m a big fan of words. I’m a big fan of poetry in music. I’m a big fan of hooks. I’m a big fan of raising my glass in the air and singing along. I hear songs I wrote 20 years ago and I cringe. I just hope I’m getting better at this craft, and I’m writing songs that, if I hear them in 20 years, I’ll really like them.”

Playing in Savannah

“Our old band, Rent Boys, were kind of a favorite pub band in Savannah. We played there several St. Patrick’s Days that were insane and debaucherous in the mid ’90s. We probably played there 15 times. When Prowling Wolves started getting going, the folks over at the Jinx said they’d love to have us. When we play we draw some folks. Since we’ve been playing there for years, we’re friends and fans of other local musicians — Kylesa and Damad, we knew them from the ‘90s and even though our music sounds different doesn’t mean we’re not big fans of each other. It’s always nice to see Phil [Cope] and those guys. If we’re out on tour and run into those guys we’ll always grab a few beers and catch up.”

Music and aging

“I see myself in one form or another playing music until the day I die. I also hope that my continuing to do that will keep this light lit and keep me alive. I always think of places like Florida. Why are there wheelchair ramps everywhere? These people in New York, they retire and they go to Florida. They were active their whole lives and then they go to Florida and two years later they’re in a wheelchair. I think if you’re busy, and you run around, jump around and sing songs, you might live a little bit longer.”

All Night Drug Prowling Wolves, G.G. King, & Niche

When: Saturday, Sept. 4, 10 p.m.

Where: The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.

Cost: TBA

Info: www.thejinx.net

 

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Patrick Rodgers

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