A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Wolf was exposed to music early in his life thanks to his parents' collection of '60s rock and folk albums; "those albums had a magic power that always stayed with me," he attests. He displayed a fascination for the pitch pipe - but, admittedly, "it had its limitations," Wolf laughs. After a stint playing the clarinet - "an instrument that I had no idea how to make sound cool" - Wolf gravitated towards guitar. Initially inspired by Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, he credits Neil Young with "making the guitar emotionally accessible for me, rather than just being a showcase for virtuosity."
Having seemingly always written short stories, Wolf's initial forays into songwriting -which paralleled joining his first experimental rock bands - "seemed like a natural progression," he states. Citing seminal influences such as Parliament/Funkadelic, fellow eclectic Beck, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, Wolf sometimes heard these artists' songs as played by fellow bandmates before he even heard the original recordings. This was a process that Wolf credits as "beneficial, because it enabled me to focus on the songs, and allowed me to do things my own way."
Originality is a value that Wolf treasures, but having a sense of musical history is even more indispensable to his art: "When you realize that all music is derived from somewhere, it frees you to do your own thing," he reasons. A keen student of filmmaking and film history, Wolf recognizes the dichotomy between music and film - "the immediacy of music vs. the meticulous, isolating process of making films" - but considers them "integrated arts." Wolf's "Taxi Driver Hero" was inspired by the Martin Scorsese classic movie "Taxi Driver." Elsewhere on the album, the plaintive-yet-offbeat instrumental "Good Day, New House, Bad Job" possesses a near-cinematic quality, while the haunting "Never Changin' Blues" is a gripping portrait of emotional paralysis.
Encompassing a multitude of influences yet possessing a singular individuality, "Other People's Houses" serves as Keith Wolf's aural evidence of his recommendation to "just float down the river of musical history, and it will take care of you."
Check out the artist's website:
1. Other People's Houses
2. Taxi Driver Hero
3. Good Day, New House, Bad Job
4. Wish I Had a Friend in Japan
5. Never Changin' Blues
6. Circus of Grime