Where did Wolf Alice get their name from?

4 June 2021, 09:00

Wolf Alice and the Wolf-Girl from The Company Of Wolves
Wolf Alice and the Wolf-Girl from The Company Of Wolves. Picture: Laura Allard Fleischl/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

As the band return with their third album, Blue Weekend, we delve into the inspiration behind their mysterious moniker.

Wolf Alice have had an amazing career so far - their debut album My Love Is Cool garnered plenty of critical acclaim and the band walked home with the Best Album Of The Year Award at the 2018 Hyundai Mercury Prize for the follow-up, Visions Of A Life.

Now, in June 2021, they return with their third album, Blue Weekend, which has led Radio X to ask one of the most basic questions about the group: what does their name mean?

The band formed in 2010 around singer Ellie Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie, who performed acoustic songs under the name Wolf Alice. They later took on Joel Amey to play drums and Theo Ellis as bassist.

But why did they pick the name Wolf Alice? It was the name of their very first EP, released in 2010 - and it wasn’t just a random selection of words.

A dinner party becomes sinister in the film in a scene from the 1984 film The Company Of Wolves
A dinner party becomes sinister in the film in a scene from the 1984 film The Company Of Wolves. Picture: Cannon Film/Getty Images

A story called Wolf-Alice first appeared in 1979 as part of a collection of dark fairy tales by British writer Angela Carter, called The Bloody Chamber.

"Wolf-Alice" is a variation on the old Little Red Riding Hood, about a feral child who is raised by wolves: "Nothing about her is human except that she is not a wolf”.

Eventually the child is sent to live with a character called The Duke, who is essentially a vampire. Alice comes of age and starts to menstruate, leading her to become more aware of the passage of time and her life as a human woman. When The Duke is mortally attacked by the local peasants, she comforts him and gradually his reflection appears in a nearby mirror, indicating his return from the undead existence he has been suffering.

Danielle Dax as "Wolf-Girl" in the film The Company Of Wolves
Danielle Dax as "Wolf-Girl" in the film The Company Of Wolves. Picture: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Image

Also included in the same book was a similarly gothic story called The Company Of Wolves, which was turned into a startling film in 1984 by director Neil Jordan, and starring Angela Lansbury. Here’s the scary trailer!

Ironically, the character of “Wolfgirl” was played by Danielle Dax, who also had a successful career as a musician in the 1980s! Maybe Wolf Alice could cover Cathouse and complete the circle?

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