The Wolfpack is the documentary taking the film world by storm: six brothers raised in utter isolation in the heart of NYC…
Imagine being one of six brothers: You’re all close in age, you’re all homeschooled by your mother who is the bedrock of the family. You live in low-income housing on Delancey Street in New York’s Lower East Side. Imagine that apartment is your whole world, that you don’t have any friends outside of your family members because you’re only allowed out of the apartment a few times a year—your father is concerned you might be lead astray by factors and influences beyond his control. Imagine that one year you didn’t make it out at all. This is the story of the Angulo brothers, who are the subject of Crystal Moselle’s award-winning documentary, The Wolfpack, which hits theaters nationally today. The Angulo brothers’ response to the parameters in which they’d been raised was interesting: they immersed themselves in movies. As much as films were a portal for escapism, they also acted as the lens through which the brothers viewed the world. Behind that locked apartment door they began to shoot their own flicks, painstakingly transcribing the scripts from VHS and DVD, to the page. They re-enacted their favorite films—Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Batman, Halloween—wearing self-constructed outfits made from cardboard, cereal boxes, duct tape, and yoga mats. The glue gun became an invaluable aid.
Of course you can’t keep kids penned in forever. Given Sanskrit names—Narayana, Mukunda, Bhagavan, Govinda, Krisna, and Jagadesh, because their father is a Hare Krishna devotee—the boys gradually began emerging from the apartment some five years ago, when their ages ranged between between 11 to 18. It was during one of these rare outings when director Crystal Moselle saw them strolling across the street in the East Village. Dressed in suits a la Reservoir Dogs, with black hair flowing down their backs right to their waists, they cut arresting figures and she ran after them, intrigued. The brothers were shy at first, but once they found out she was a filmmaker, they were full of questions. Eventually she became their first friend and as a friend who began to find out more and more about their childhood and how they were raised, she started filming them, documenting their story as it continued to unfold over a period of years.
Back in 2011 a mutual friend of ours told me about the Angulo brothers and Moselle’s project. I was instantly fascinated and so met with her and she filled me in on their story up until that point. “It’ll probably be out in a year,” she said. So I thought—great, we can run the piece then. Fast-forward five years later and The Wolfpack has scooped the Grand Jury Prize for US documentary at Sundance, Spike Jonze has been hosting Q&As after screenings of the film, Werner Herzog is fascinated, and 20/20 are dropping an hour-long special with the boys tonight. I interviewed Moselle extensively for the series Vice Talks Film (watch it below), and have met the boys several times to help on an undisclosed project that will be coming out on VICE soon, and what’s instantly apparent is how open, genuinely warm, and polite they are. They also pick up on the details—complimenting my 80s jeans, for instance—and relating them to something Marty McFly might've worn. Their creativity and unique take on the world, as evidenced in places in the doc, is a given, but the exciting thing about these kids is that as they emerge and move through the world, their story, both as individuals and as a family, is just beginning. The roads are wide open and their eyes are open wider.
In this above episode Vice Talks Film you can find out what the kids are up to now, but the two brothers who appear to have had the biggest transformation are the youngest: Krisna and Jagadesh who have now changed their names to Glenn (18) and Eddie (16). Why? Because they love 80s music. No, seriously. Much like when the brothers became film obsessives, these two are now big time music fans. Specifically 80s metal, but also just 80s music in general: they lopped their hair off into mullets, single earrings dangle from one ear, cut-off denim vests are the order of the day. You could never accuse these kids of lacking commitment. With this in mind I decided to talk to the pair about their favorite music. Currently the Angulo brothers are running around LA—their first trip to Hollywood—and they’ve sent us some pics from their time there. Of course they had to make a trip to the Rainbow Bar and Grill on the Sunset Strip—which is where they answered these questions below. Doing it right.
Glenn and Eddie at the Rainbow Bar and Grill. All photos by Megan Delaney.
Noisey: What were your first memories of music?
Eddie: Watching the ACDC live at Donington concert 1991.
Glenn: We have been watching it since we were born.
Eddie: We were born with the rock I guess.
What did your dad introduce you to and how did you access new music?
Glenn: We heard old music all around us that our dad played on a cd/cassette stereo and the radio.
Eddie: The Beatles, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple…
Glenn: We got new music when we would look through our dads hundreds of cassettes that our dad recorded from the radio or from records. He would also make mixedtapes.
Eddie: He would buy cassettes like Men at Work, Mötley Crüe, The Cars, Huey Lewis and the News. But actually I found out about Huey Lewis and the News from Back to the Future.
Glenn: Our favorite band ever!
Eddie: Sorry, Motorhead. We love you so much!
Glenn: We really got into Iron Maiden when we got a VHS of their videos 2005.
You guys love 80s music and particularly 80s metal…
Both: We love 80s metal, 80s punk, 80s rock, 80s pop, and 80s new wave like Flock of Seagulls.
Eddie: We don't like 80s rap.
Glenn: We also like 50s music like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Lee Hooker.
Eddie: We feel the 80s and 50s are like brother decades.
How have you incorporated these influences into the way you now dress?
Eddie: Our hair!!! We wear anything from 501s like Marty McFly to leather like Rob Halford, also Huey Lewis suits, Stevie Ray Vaughn hats and bolo ties.
Glenn: We wear the 80s and the 50s: We dress like greasers too, like Rebel Without a Cause.
What's the most prized piece in your wardrobe?
Glenn: It's all my favorite! It's like trying to choose your favorite kid if you are a parent. I fucking love my fucking 80s dangling cross earring like Repo Man.
You've started learning instruments now. How’s it going? Will be you starting a band together in the future maybe?
Glenn: We are both playing guitar and teaching ourselves by ear and practicing in our house.
Eddie: We just bought a brand new amp at guitar center from our friend Pete. We are still learning.
Glenn: You will see our band in the future.
Eddie: We just got to jam with Marky Ramone at our premiere party.
Glenn: I sang and Eddie played guitar. It was fucking awesome! “Blitzkrieg Bop” with THE LEGENDARY Marky Ramone on drums !
You're now going by the names Glenn and Eddie—what made you change your names and were 80s bands an influence on your choice?
Eddie: We have always wanted an 80s name.
Glenn: We had the look we had the hair, but we didn't have the names of the 80s
Eddie: My name is Eddie as in Eddie the Head, Eddie and the Cruisers, Eddie Money, Fast Eddie Clark, and Eddie Van Halen. Middle name Vaughan, as in Stevie Ray Vaughan my guitar idol.
Glenn: I was really inspired by the Jonny Depp’s character in Nightmare on Elm Street—he had the best hair. Glenn Tipton my guitar hero, Glenn a character in Risky Business, Glenn Fry from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. Middle name Hughes because I'm inspired by John Hughes and his movies and his awesome hair.
GLENN AND EDDIE’S FAVORITE SONGS
Huey Lewis and the News – “Power of Love”
These guys really understand the heart of rock ‘n’ roll.
Judas Priest – “Turbo Lover”
They are the best metal band ever and they are blazing vocals and guitars.
The Cars – “Magic”
The Cars are a perfect band: the mixture of rock and new wave and we love Rick Ocasek! His hair and his voice!
AC/DC makes us feel like I'm being electrocuted by 50,000 volts! Greatest hard rock band ever!
Stevie Ray Vaughan – “The House Is Rockin”
Eddie: He inspires me to play guitar and when I listen to his music I feel relaxed like I'm at a waterfall—even when he's rocking hard.
Motorhead – “Ace Of Spades”
Because Lemmy is GOD and they are the loudest band in the world. Feels like someone is unloading a M50 in my ear! Plus they wear bullets belts! C'mon!
Iron Maiden – “Wasted Years”
Eddie: I love them so much I changed my name to their mascots name!
Krokus – “Midnight Maniac”
Eddie: Wish I could sing like Marc Storace!
Glenn: They are metal slash hard rock! Best of both!
Chuck Berry - "Johnny B Good"
He is awesome! One of the creators of creators of rock ‘n’ roll. Also Micheal J Fox did a great cover in Back to the Future and Judas Priest did an awesome cover.
John Lee Hooker – “Boom Boom”
He makes me want order one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer like in his song. He's a blues god!
Journey – “Escape”
They have one of the sounds we have been looking for in our own band and they are the greatest progressive rock band of all time. We love their style.
Ramones – “Blitzkrieg Bop”
We played it with Marky Ramone!! Also “Sheena is a Punk Rocker.” They are the gods of punk and they are native New Yorkers like us!
Van Halen – “5150”
Fuck you if you try and call it Van Hagar! Eddie Van Halen created a really big style of guitar playing. The tunes are unbelievable! Awesome cock cock band! It's really hard run choose because we pretty much love all the 80s and 50s!
The Wolfpack is out now.