Goodbye, Asshole, the first proper studio album by San Francisco scuzz-wave merchants Fuckwolf, took the most meandering and unlikely 19 year journey to get here, a strange length of road for a record that sounds as immediate and visceral as the bleach and booze waft of any good Mission district dive bar.
Fuckwolf has haunted the warehouse shows and dive bar gigs of the Bay Area for almost two decades and traded up a more stilted, typical indie music reality of deadlines, commerce and compulsive documentation for a foggy pursuit of art and sound and more than a few lost years to the endless 7-day weekends of San Francisco’s post-millennium glory days.
Goodbye, Asshole, set for release on Bay Area alumni Ethan Miller’s Silver Current label November 11th, is a rat’s nest of deep grooves, lost 70s rock riff intentions and art punk damage. It is, in equal measures, an effortless sounding expression of the sum of Fuckwolf’s history and a prime slab of underground rock with an unmistakably fried ‘San Francisco’ signature.
The band, Eric Park (bass, vocals), Simon Phillips (drums) and Tomo Yasuda (guitar) sound blazing and scuzzy, a tight low-fi energy blasted onto tape that goes a long way to summarizing the last 20 years of their hometown’s wild artistic soul.
It’s no coincidence that the first thing you hear on Goodbye, Asshole is the big fat party beat in the opening of “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.” The groove is at the center of 19 years of Fuckwolf theory, and party is probably next on the philosophical chart. But it all soon gives way to a Damned-like blast of full throttle, damaged rock and roll, images of ringing heads and empty bottles clanking and spinning in the mist of 2am Tenderloin alleyways abound.
‘King Cake Stakeout’ continues the dark party with Phillips’ drums pounding holes in a Stoogey riff topped with echoes of mid 70’s Ohio art punk, Park’s vocals in haunted trance-like delivery hovering over unstoppable fuzz bass.
By the time the inside-out no wave disco and coke joint ‘White Claw’ hits at track three, one realizes this party is to the dawn:
“Don’t think sink in your white claw / I move fast and got now for deep thoughts /Outta sight outta mind don’t you know a scene / Outta time outta space you gonna fall in between.” Park punk-croons from a sheet of découpé lyrics.
Goodbye, Asshole was recorded at the end of 2020 at El Studio in SF with Phil Manley (Trans Am/ The Fucking Champs) and in 2021 at the Mansion in SF with Eric Bauer (Osees producer/engineer). Accompanying the core trio of Park, Yasuda, and Phillips is sometimes-member Nash Whalen (Wooden Shjips) on keys.
Fuckwolf alumni have co-created (and co-destroyed) bands with the likes of John Dwyer (Osees) and Mike Donovan (Sic Alps/ Peacers) and have shared the stage with Lightning Bolt, Burmese, Black Dice, Intelligence and Wooden Ships to name just a few.
After 19 years of turning on and dropping out Fuckwolf have thrown down a record that is quintessential old weird San Francisco, in a time when it’s tough to find many cultural artifacts of said vibes that still have a pulse. And yet, Goodbye, Asshole avoids wallowing in the depressing cultural sea changes of the band’s creative breeding ground. There is a fierceness of dedication to vibe here. Even hometown cultural apocalypse doesn’t phase Fuckwolf, and they’ve just made the last great SF weirdo rock record of a gone era or the first great SF weirdo rock record of the next one.
Either way, Goodbye, Asshole smells real funky and it peels paint, weirdo SF style, all the way.
Eric Park: vocals, bass, guitar
Simon Phillips: drums and percussion
Tomo Yasuda: guitar, keys, percussion
With Nash Whalen: keys on “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos” and “White Claw”