Wolfman Taps… Or Something
Electric Guitars’ “Wolfman Tap” appears to be vanishing from the face of the earth. For your sake, faithful YPR Shreek reader, I have sought its hairy 80’s vibe in legitimate venues from Amazon to Apple. I have scoured flea markets, thrift stores, and random rummage sales in search of an original copy. But neither the seven-inch nor twelve-inch release has surfaced in my travels, and my dreams are now haunted by endless copies of Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream and Other Delights and the complete works of Ferrante & Teicher.
I was forced to this fruitless extreme because Wolfman Tap has not at this writing been released on CD, and pirates are by nature too lazy to actually hook up a turntable, digitize an analog recording in real time, and edit the resulting mass into track form. In order for this song to exist in readily downloadable MP3 format, there would have had to be a pirate willing to utter such embarrassing phrases as, “Arrrrrrh! I be the bloody scourge of signal degradation!” or “Hoist ye noise filter and sample ye background, me bucko!” Such a privateer would surely be a rarer creature than the album itself.
And so I am left with a handful of vague, marginally-informative Internet references, which I will now immediately discard in favor of wild, clueless speculation:
“Wolfman Tap” is a 1983 pop song about a dancing werewolf who tends bar while working his way through the Arthur Murray/Bob Fosse joint studio program. It was recorded by Electric Guitars, though in fact various people actually play the electric guitars. And drums. And a synthesizer, since New Wave is where it’s at.
The werewolf has a frustrating go of it, because all he really wants to do is tap-dance, but his agent keeps sending him out to audition for Breakin’ sequels. But then he meets Cirque du Soleil Moon Frye, an acrobatic punk dancing vampire who helps him achieve his true calling as a bloodthirsty creature of the night. In the touching closing verse, he hangs his former idol upside down from a tree with a “lupus” of rope (get it?), “taps” the “man“‘s neck with a spigot, and shares a hot glass of Gregory Hines ‘83 with his newfound love.
If you listen really carefully to the howling tap solo starting at 2:44 (3:18 in the extended twelve-inch dance version), you can hear the chimey glass-breaking sound from the popular 1982 Midway arcade game Tapper buried in the mix, along with a low-frequency vocoder modulation of the famous “Even a man who is pure of heart…” rhyme from The Wolf Man, backwards. And snippets of horror host Zacherle’s Dinner With Drac and Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s Monster Mash too, because sampling was just starting to take off. And an organ intro at the end, just to be retro-radical.
Wolfman Tap rocks! It’s a real toe-tapper, with a monster beat you can dance to!
Best Part: Having no fucking idea what the hell I’m talking about.