A year ago or so, a commenter on this post by our multiloquent contributor, John Marks, had the temerity to suggest that perhaps there were no great musicians playing popular music nowadays. My brother was quick to reply, “Check out Wulfpeck.” I don’t know if my brother made a typo or if he was assuming German pronunciation, but the band to which he was referring was, in fact, the quartet of pianist Woody Goss, drummer/guitarist/vocalist Theo Katzman, drummer/keyboardist Jack Stratton, and bassist Joe Dart known as Vulfpeck.
It is, perhaps, understandable that on October 9, 2019, neither my brother nor any of the subsequent commenters were particularly aware of Vulfpeck—after all, they had never had a top 100 hit, nor were they even signed to a record label. Hell, they didn’t even have a manager. And yet, less than two weeks previous to that October post, Goss, Katzman, Stratton, and Dart sold out Madison Square Garden.
A remarkable achievement to be sure, and one that is somewhat indicative of the state of the modern music recording industry. Like most overnight successes, Vulfpeck has been around for a long time—since 2011, to be exact. In that sense, their ascent is typical of many underground musical acts. However, the story of those nine years is a bit unique.