The only time I thought I was in the presence of superheroes was in the late ’90s at a Guitar Wolf show. The trio appeared suddenly on stage with a thunderclap coming from Drum Wolf on the risers. The late Bass Wolf stood stage left, sneering over a low, diesel-powered throb generated by his instrument while Guitar Wolf, half-man, half-manifestation of rock ‘n’ roll, crouched with his leather-clad back to the audience, combing his thick greaser locks with a switchblade comb.
Demolition Doll Rods had performed topless during the first set and the Cramps were the evening’s headliner, so everyone was attuned for high camp, but this tableau vivant went on for minutes.
The band formed in Nagasaki in 1987 with the Ramones as a loose stencil, closing all the possible gaps to create a quarter-century of parody so tight it transcends its subject. They’ve starred in their own movie Wild Zero and inspired a young Jack Oblivion to start Goner Records just to distribute Guitar Wolf music to the teen delinquents of America. The band has a new bassist who adopted his fallen comrade’s Bass Wolf sobriquet, continuing the power trio’s mission with 2010’s Uchusenkan Love (“Space Battleship Love”)
I’m not sure what crime-fighting applications there are for Guitar Wolf’s superpower, but I knew when I saw them that we were securely protected by rock ‘n’ roll.
Guitar Wolf performs with King Louie’s Missing Monuments, Cheap Time, and Hans Condor at Siberia on June 6. 10 p.m. $13.