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Picture 2000 by Sandra "Tell Mama" Weinhardt

Vaan Shaw

Vaan: I had a lot of people say, “Yeah, I would’ve liked to met Wolf.” And I keep telling them over and over, “You would NOT have liked him.” He was a person you would not like, but you would understand. He treated you with the right amount of respect, but by the same token, he would also say what’s wrong. He was not a person to say, “Hey, nice tie!”

Mark: He was scrupulously honest, in other words.

Right! To the point where I think sometimes it was his downfall. It’s like, if you said, “Good morning,” he’d probably say, “The day just started. I don’t know.…” That’s exactly what he’d saysome shit like that. Like, “I don’t know: the damn day’s starting. Why the hell you gonna ask me that?” Or “How are you?” “I’m the same way I was. Am I supposed to change?” It was not an average answer. And it was continual, to where it would get on your nerves. And times were bad and he didn’t say times were good.

It was likeI’ll tell you what it was. It was not all that positive-attitude thinking. It was like, say he was hurting, and you said, “Well, just think positive.” He wouldn’t do that. It was, “Damn, my arm cut off and I’m bleeding. I’m supposed to go with a smile? To hell with that!” It was too much reality.... He would say, “Damn! I’m worth more. This is OK. But I deserve better.” And the thing is, as time went on, he was right. He was out of synch. He didn’t fit....
He was rough on musicians because everybody he dealt with was alcoholics, egomaniacsself-centered little kids stuck in men’s bodies, and he knew that.

I’ll tell you, he could play instruments way better than people gave him credit for. Jesus, you wouldn’t believe how good he could play slide.... That’s the one thing I can’t figure out. And I mean he was good. He was good not by yesterday’s standards: He was good by today’s standards.