I met Brain Wolf (AKA Ryan Morrow) after a St. Paul Nine Inch Nails concert. The man is one of the most insanely nice people I've ever met. He's the kind of person who will be sitting in the passenger seat of your car, grab the wheel, jerk it, you lose control, you regain control, your heart pitter patters, then he'll kiss you on the mouth and say "I love you, man! We got through a near-death experience!"
He's kind of like a more realistic and down to earth Tyler Durden.
Ryan has only recently been coming to PATCH shows, but he brings his best mates and is the loudest and most intense audience member in the crowd. Whenever I see him come up to the front as we're setting up the stage I get comfortable. He drives a crowd to empathize, to let loose. He's one of our best fans, and I'm proud to call him a friend.
He's a poet. A passionate, violent, loving poet. You start conversing with him and there's a madness in his eyes, while his smile is as gentle as could be. He's a much better looking Stephen King look-a-like.
He recently released his first collection of poems, "Chase Something Worth the Kill", under his pseudonym Brain Wolf, on Amazon. I describe it as gothic Bukowski. He paints himself as a fragile soul taking confident strides against a bleak world hellbent on silence and winter.
Ryan gave me the pleasure of answering some questions I had for him regarding his art, his process, his inspiration:
PK: THIS IS YOUR FIRST BOOK OF POETRY. HOW FAR BACK DO THESE POEMS DATE? WHAT'S THE OLDEST IN THE COLLECTION?
BW: "Chase Something Worth the Kill" is approximately 175 pages long and, except for a handful of poems, all were written in the year of 2013. There are a few that I dug up from the vault, if you will, that seemed fitting and I pried them in to the collection.
PK: IS THERE A GENERAL THEME YOU'VE FOUND THAT OVERSHADOWS MOST OF YOUR WORK? ANY RECURRING LINES OR UNIVERSES?
BW: The really interesting thing about this collection was how much I really noticed themes and a sort of tempo or vibe that weaved through them, but after the fact. An amazing thing happened when I was searching for an epigraph to put in the book, I knew it was going to be something by Joseph Campbell (the famed American mythological lecture/writer and one of my favorite humans). I scoured his quotes online and literally, like, got one of those crazy shivers down my spine when I found the "right" one. There was no question. It was perfect. To get to the point, basically I found myself connecting with lots of mythological motifs throughout my poems un-beknownced to me. This married to some sort of cosmological overtones. So, in short, it became the modern mythology of myself told through a lens of ancient ideas. Oh...and lots of sex, drugs, and rocking out in there to smooth it all out.
PK: DO YOU TEND TO WRITE IN A SOBER STATE OR IN THE HOLD OF MIND ALTERING EXPERIENCES? DO YOU WRITE IN THE MOMENT OF EMOTION, OR DO YOU NEED TO BE OUT OF SAID EMOTION IN ORDER TO OBJECTIVELY AND FULLY WRITE WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO CONVEY?
BW: Writing has been an capricious hobby for me. I tend to write in a few different ways and each has its merit for producing a certain effect. I'm quite fond of the bar napkins and the back of my hand for spontaneous writing ideas. The traditional method of just sitting down at the damn typewriter and pushing through the fog of doubt works fine at times, yet it seems the best of my ideas come out while driving. You know, in the moment, feeling the momentum of it all, seized like some possessed maniac, I'll grab for the iPhone and try to multi-task the road, music, and ranting into the microphone. These often unbearably weird recordings are like the tinder for what will become a larger fire later at the desk. I try not to ever write about anything I'm not invested in. I can tell if it's total shit and I assume everyone else would to. Lastly, I tend to writhe around in my seat, like if I move in a certain way the words will present itself from the astral plane and be delivered into my neurons.
PK: WHAT'S ONE OF YOUR BEST ANECDOTES WITHIN THE CONFINES OF YOUR ART? FOR INSTANCE, HAVE YOU EVER HAD ANY POETRY READINGS GO HORRIBLY WRONG/RIGHT?
BW: I have done a few readings and almost always the majority of people are just like, "Uhhh . . . what the fuck are you talking about man?"
PK: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE COMING YEARS? WILL YOU STAY IN POETRY? OR WILL YOU MOVE ON TO PROSE OR DRAWING/MUSIC?
BW: The poetry in me is far from vanquished. I see this only growing. I think I maybe have a novel in me some day. But I think it's more about ambition vs laziness. I've always wanted to do something in music . . . If only I knew some talented likeminded individuals who were in a kick ass industrial rock band. Hmmmm . . .
PK: COULD YOU SHARE ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE POEMS?
Tonight I am Genghis Khan conquering my fear like a peasant village Tonight I am Julius Caesar re-inventing time and kingdoms alike Tonight I obey no ruler, law, or code My battle cries reach the furthest of all free man My heart beats fresh and new My blood burns inside me like lava in the earth I'm unable to stop what has begun The only way out is through Tonight I am Neil Armstrong tasting every moment like a virgin moan Tonight I am Thich Quang Du'c I am everything, I am nothing