JOHN WRAY (AUTHOR): “This Book Is My Love Song To Heavy Music”

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Author John Wray is set to release his upcoming novel entitled Gone To The Wolves on May 2nd. Gone To The Wolves tells a story of a group of Metal fans from Florida in a journey that takes them through the Death Metal scene paying tribute to legends such as Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel, as well as Norway with some of Black Metal’s finest. Wray took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about Gone To The Wolves, the possibility of a movie, what the novel’s soundtrack will look like and more. Fans can pre-order the novel here. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: Your upcoming novel entitled Gone To The Wolves is set to be released on May 2nd, what can you tell fans about the upcoming novel?

Wray: Gone to the Wolves follows three Metal true-believers from Florida—Kip, Kira and Leslie—as they go from being kids in the mosh pit at Death Metal shows in Tampa to players in the L.A glam scene, and finally to Norway during the violent heyday of Mayhem and Burzum and Immortal. Along the way, they fight with each other, fall in love with each other, and save each other’s lives more than once. I feel confident in saying that it’s the most Metal novel ever written in the English language.

MER: What inspired you to write a story involving different elements of Heavy Metal?

Wray: I grew up in Buffalo at the same time that Cannibal Corpse was getting started, so Metal was pretty much the air I breathed. And there’s never been a novel, as far as I know, that truly takes the music and the culture seriously—no irony, no bullshit. Gone to the Wolves is meant to be a celebration.

MER: Would you see a soundtrack going along with Gone To The Wolves? If so, who will it feature?

Wray: Absolutely! It practically demands a soundtrack. You could put one together just using the bands that appear in the story—Cannibal Corpse, Death, Deicide, Mayhem, Burzum, Emperor, Celtic Frost. And a whole bunch of others. The middle section of the novel is set on the Sunset Strip at the tail end of glam, so you could go in the opposite direction, too—Mötley Crüe, GN’R, all the bands with fancy sports cars and expensive hair. But I’d go for the darker stuff, personally.

MER: Do you see Gone To The Wolves turning into a film? If so, who would you see playing the characters and why?

Wray: We’re in talks at the moment, as it happens. We haven’t talked casting yet, but let me think. The challenge, of course, is that I pictured Kip, Kira and Leslie and regular people when I was writing—not the perfectly-chiseled superhumans Hollywood likes to pack its entertainment with. But I guess that kind of upgrade is unavoidable, so—I could see Elle Fanning as Kira, I think. And Tyler the Creator (does he act?) would be pretty good as Leslie Z. As for Kip, our humble hero—maybe someone who looks more or less like me?

MER: Gone To The Wolves features various locations around the world such as The Sunset Blvd and Norway, do you see these locations significant to Heavy Metal’s history?

Wray: Literally every place we go in the novel is deeply significant to Metal’s history, and associated with a specific style and era: Gulf Coast Florida with the death scene, Hollywood with glam, Norway with black. This book is my love song to heavy music, and I wanted to make every location count.

MER: If you could pick a band to write a biography on, who would it be and why?

Wray: I’d always sort of dreamed of writing the definitive history of Black Sabbath—there are a lot of Sabbath books out there, of course, but none are as fun or crazy as a book about those guys should be. But then I got my hands on I Am Ozzy a little while back. THAT book is everything I want a music biography to be. It’s totally insane.

MER: What have been some of your favorite books based around Heavy Metal?

Wray: I Am Ozzy, obviously! And also The Dirt, of course—the Mötley book. But only because of the scene where they’re on tour with Ozzy, hanging out by the pool, and he grabs a straw and snorts a line of ants!

MER: What are some of your other novels you would suggest to a fan that would enjoy Gone To The Wolves?

Wray: None of my other novels are even remotely like Gone to the Wolves! But my last novel, Godsend, was certainly dark and heavy in its own way.

MER: What do you hope fans get out of reading Gone To The Wolves?

Wray: Silly as it might sound, I had a very clear goal in mind while I was writing Gone to the Wolves: I wanted the experience of reading it to recapture the excitement that I felt, at age seven-and-a-half, when my next-door neighbor played me AC/DC’s Back in Black.

MER: What are your hopes for your future in writing?

Wray: To quote my favorite interviewee in Penelope Spheeris’ The Decline of Western Civilization, Part II: The Metal Years—”Sure, I wanna be a rockstar, if you define ‘rockstar’ as rich, and… well, rich.”


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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