By day they are just men, average really, nothing out of the ordinary, going about their daily lives as a humble grandfather, a teacher, an accountant, and a carpenter. However, as darkness falls and the moon comes out of hiding, you can hear them howl as they become something more. As each picks up his chosen instrument, you can see the change overtaking them. You may be scared at first as they begin the ancient ritual of stalking their prey, that elusive sound, who wouldn't be? But suddenly, something mystical happens. The music takes over, penetrating your very soul until you are captured under their spell, mesmerized by the fire in their eyes. The transformation is complete and you realize, you've been bitten by Warewolves.
By the light of the moon, they prowl the music scene consisting of Tom Ware, Joe Sanford, Jenks Smith, and Anthony Ware. None are strangers to the dark abyss of the music world. As a founding member of Razorback, Tom helped lay the groundwork for the mid-eighties emergence of country/rock in Nashville. Joe has worked with several bands, including a stint with Carrie Underwood's backing group. Jenks has worked the club scene for years. And Anthony, as Tom's son, has been around music his entire life. The darkness is their brother, the shadows are their home.
"It started with the songs," says leader of the pack, multi-instrumentalist Tom Ware, when speaking of the group's evolution. Having roamed these woods before in groups as diverse as Grayghost and Petrifried, Tom knows what it means to have a recording contract, a song on the top fifty singles chart, and to tour the world. While never completely out of the music scene, he had recently dialed it back to a smaller scale. Now, with this arsenal of new material demanding a fuller sound, a heavier sound, he set out to bring others into the fold. "I wanted it to be a band project," he says. "The group dynamic was important to me."
The first to come onboard was old friend, Joe Sanford. Tom and Joe met while in the eighth grade when Tom first moved to Arkansas from Colorado. Sharing an interest in music and playing guitar, the pair became fast friends. Though they drifted apart when attending different high schools, both kept their feet firmly rooted in music. It was during a trip to renew his car tags that Tom ran into Joe. While reminiscing over old times, Tom told him about the idea of forming a band to push this new batch of songs. He asked Joe if he would be interested in joining, and of course, Joe said yes.
When it came to laying down the beat, Tom didn't have to look far. Jenks Smith first visited Fort Smith in the mid-eighties with a show band from Tulsa. After performing, members of the band would hang out at the Club Faux Pas. Jenks was offered a job there, but turned it down. Later, when the show band split, Jenks called to see if the job was still open. He worked there for six years before deciding to fall back on the education degree he'd earned while in college. In 1995, he decided to ease back into the music scene by joining Tom in Grayghost. Even now, after Grayghost, Tom and Jenks play together every Sunday for the worship service at Midland Heights Methodist Church. Jenks was an obvious fit.
Tom found his bass player even closer to home. It was inevitable that Anthony Ware, Tom's son, follow in his dad's footsteps. He was in junior high when he took up drums with the school band. A confident young man, he even auditioned for Grayghost at the age of fourteen. By age nineteen, Anthony was playing the bass. He worked for a while as a player for hire, filling in with other bands when needed. For the past few years, he has accompanied Tom in various projects, forming a certain chemistry in both their playing and the way their voices blend that can only be shared by family. It just seemed natural that when this new group started, Anthony would be a part of it.
With the songs completed and the players in place, it came time to put a name on the project. "One night while playing the Movie Lounge, some guy came up and asked my name," Tom says. "When I told him it's Tom Ware, he immediately said, 'You guys should call yourselves the Warewolves.' At the time I thought it was silly, but after I thought about it a while, I decided it was kind of cool." And now, with the name in place, the legacy begins...