As told to me by Dan Boeckner:
The original set up of the band was basically Spencer playing a Jupiter 4 keyboard and then a couple of other mini analog synths through these computer speakers and I was playing guitar, and that was it. We had some friends who were like ‘ oh you guys are playing music together?’ We were saying we had a band, but we basically had like 6 songs at that point and didn’t have a drummer. That was when this Alex guy (Alex Megelas of Grenadine Records) basically put us on the bill of this show (opening for Melon Galia and Arcade Fire) without telling us. So leading up to this show we were like, ok we need to get a drummer. We both knew Arlen from Victoria. Arlen had been in Montreal for longer than either of us. We had one practice with him and it was great, it was really really good. We had another practice with him and that was that, ok Arlen’s in the band. Two practices and then we played the show. And that’s how the band started.
The story behind the name Wolf Parade is that Atlas Strategic played a show with Mice Parade. They were a post rock band with a lot of members, a lot of kind wacky instrumentation. They were playing at this local bar called Logan’s that everybody played at. You know when you’re a local band you can only do so many headlining shows and you want to play more shows and it’s hard to get out of town. So as a local band in a medium sized city you often get to open for touring bands. We would just do anything and we would take any show. So we took this Mice Parade show, and they did not have a sense of humor about themselves at all. They had a two and a half hour sound check. They had this like Chinese harp and all this shit and they’re playing a shitty sports bar. So they basically made it so we wouldn’t get a sound check, which is fine but it’s kinda fucking rude. I could understand if it was a bigger band like Built to Spill. If we were opening for Built to Spill in 2001 at this bar and they were like, hey guys we need to take three hours to sound check I would probably say, ok hey it’s Built to Spill sure, no problem. But it was fucking Mice Parade. They were not very friendly and uptight so we decided to give them the maximum amount of shit we possibly could. It was like a test. So we found this giant picture of a wolf, like a screen-printed airbrushed picture of a wolf. You know like the ones you buy at the gas station in North Dakota. I think there was a full moon and some feathers involved. So we hung it up behind the stage and then we changed the sign out front to say ‘Atlas Strategic and Sprit of Wolf Parade’. They asked us to take the giant picture down and we said absolutely, but we never did. So I thought that was a funny name and I couldn’t think of anything better. Spencer and me were just like; ok this is what we’re calling the band. And we just stuck with it.
There was a point in time that Wolf Parade was going to be a band where I was the primary songwriter and then Spencer was going to do Sunset Rubdown, his own project. I guess what happened was that it morphed into one band when Arlen joined. We played that first show with Arcade Fire and this Malan Galia band which was like a weird sort of the ‘straight to video’ Belgian Sterolab. At the time we felt it was just cool to play a show. So we played and then a very early version of Arcade Fire played. I don’t think Tim or Richie where in the band yet, it might have been just Win and Regine and a drummer and that’s when I met Win for the first time. I thought they were great. I ended up joining Arcade Fire a short time after that and I played with them for about a year. Wolf Parade at the time didn’t have anyplace to rehearse. So Spencer moved downtown, right next to where we had that first show, in a loft space. We started practicing in there and that was our headquarters for a while.