Paul Naronis, Mike Jaillon, Clark Adomaitis, Mark Adomaitis, Ed Kezys, Greg Szlezak, Al Kezys
2009 - PRESENT
By the release of their next studio effort, Embracing Mainstream Success, in July 2009, Paul Naronis had returned, replacing Jaillon on guitar, and new bass player Greg Szlezak had relieved Spanos of his bass player duties. This line-up stayed true to the band’s roots (“Shoplifting Bananas” and “Serving Beer To Miners” became instant classics) while continuing to spread its boundaries (“Hazardville Headlines”). Much to their fan’s [sic] surprise, the band slowly began weaving classic rock covers into their sets (akin to their early days) widening their palatability so that gigs like the much-sought-after NYC Marathon, the Lithuanian camp Giraite in Connecticut (for which a documentary was produced when they co-headlined with Randy Jackson of Zebra) and the ilk became standard.
In celebration of thirty years, the group released Variety Pack (still available exclusively through Bandcamp) which included new song contributions not only by current members but also Jaillon, Spanos, (Ed) Kezys and even Adomaitis’ son, Clark, playing a myriad of instruments. Due to this anniversary album as well, a new turnstile approach in regards to which members wound up appearing in concerts (including the 2012 XIV Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival held in Boston) was brought to life much to audiences’ delight. Also, because of this radical direction, luckily, the band was able to write, record and perform with Ellis Spanos several more times before his untimely passing in March of 2013. Some of this material appears on a commemorative re-release of Midnight Train to Siauliai. (On Amazon, the original version was ranked 969,434 in sales as of this writing.) Live material from an understandably emotional performance the following month at the Long Island Music Festival Semi-Finals appears on their 2014 release, Nakturnal Wood.
The following February, hot on the heels of three stellar New York-area appearances including a stint at Hail Hail in Brooklyn, all of which included Ed Kezys on bass, Steel Wolf released their eighth studio album, Hot Honey Liquor, which, aside from other mediums, became accessible through KristalAudio.com (the premiere Lithuanian music distributor) as well as the Nassau county public library. Astonishingly, a fan's video upload on Facebook of a live unplugged performance of a non-album single received an unprecedented over-22,000 views! The song,“Kur Tas Kugelis?”, was later released on a limited edition live album, The Spotlight Tapes, and gained more popularity through special performances at Northeastern Lithuanian events (plus a Los Angeles one) and through merchandising. The song became a set list staple at Steel Wolf performances. (Most of Steel Wolf’s more recent concert set lists are now available at setlist.fm) During the next twelve months or so, the band performed most notably at Baltimore's Lithuanian Hall during the weekend of the 2016 XV Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival (The show was attended by Jurgis Didziulis!), the weddings of both Lynda & Paul Slabosevicius and Anna & Greg (former SW bassist) Szlezak, a fundraiser for the Andrew Burrous Best Buddy Foundation at the Floral Park Knights of Columbus, and played full concerts at both the Covert Avenue Street Fair in Long Island and the New York Lithuanian Festival in Brooklyn on the same day.
In 2017, Steel Wolf’s 35th anniversary year, among gigs at other venues and an accepted invitation to be flown to the Los Angeles Lithuanian Fair, the band left audiences stunned at Harlem's legendary Silvana multiple times. At these concerts they delivered full-steam performances of songs from a new offering, The Unreleased Album, which joined their other releases’ availability through iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and other websites and included (on the full band-autographed, physical CD) a bonus EP, Loungin' Live 2017. The album also received the highly-desired positive review from Long Island’s Good Times magazine. Another of that year's highlights was undoubtedly when a representative of the Zildjian cymbal company, Peter Valaitis, bestowed upon Steel Wolf, mid-concert, a cymbal with the band's logo emblazoned on it. The band would go on to display it at many future performances. Later, the band was honored with a tour of their facility in Massachusetts.
Commencing in late 2018 and continuing into 2019, the band (with help again from Clark and also brothers Stasys and Simas Janusas) began Not Playin’ With A Full Deck [sic] at many of their familiar (Desmond’s in NYC) and even unfamiliar (KJ Farrell’s and TC Kross’ Village Pub on Long Island) haunts and releasing new songs via Bandcamp and Soundcloud with video clips streaming on Youtube culminating in their tenth studio album. Before year's end the band reunited with Naronis for a concert performing Embracing Mainstream Success in its entirety to celebrate that album's tenth anniversary.
In the new decade during the coronavirus pandemic the band produced five well-received videos with members both past and present performing their parts while in quarantine. Additionally, a sixteen-song live album comprised of material from the previous year, Loungin' Live Now!, was distributed to appreciative fans. The positive energy they felt got the band back to the recording studio (and even through creating a music video once again) to eventually release Funplugged, which contained, amongst new tunes, acoustic versions of the band's classic repertoire. This album led Mark Adomaitis and Ed Kezys (at first, under the moniker Steel Wolf But Unplugged) to revisit (they experimented with this a few years back) and relentlessly make appearances at open mics and notable 2022 events including Drittyfest and Ella Kezys' graduation party in New York and the Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival Market in Philadelphia and the Atlantic region Lithuanian scout camp Giraite in Connecticut, bringing smiles to the faces of event organizers and patrons. One attendee (former SW bass player Vytis Kezys), having been so impressed by what he saw and heard, bestowed upon Steel Wolf what evolved into a residency of sorts in which they host their own monthly open mic night at his establishment, The Avenue Restaurant Bar & Grill in Glendale, Queens. This commenced in September (That month they were also given the honor of performing at the venue's re-launching of its Lithuanian Brunch organized by the band's earlier guitarist Rimas Kezys!) and carried on into 2023. Click the button below for a glimpse at their most recent and semi-recent outings. Be sure to look for welcomed appearances by aforementioned Steel Wolf members Algis Kezys, Paul Naronis, Michael Jaillon, Andrew Lileika and Clark Adomaitis.
Before pressing the menu link labeled "Landmark Concerts", go back and click the red-highlighted words for supplemental enlightenment!