Under the original name Black Sheep, the band started in 1981 with Dale Henderson (vocals/guitar), Mike Jensen (ex-Neighborhood Watch, guitar), Paul Tsutomu Yamada (bass) and Mike Jensen's cousin, Roger DeGiacomi (on drums). The band played many parties, bars and clubs in Venice, California until 1982 when DeGiacomi became the band manager and was replaced by Michael Alvarado in 1983, changing the name of the band to Beowülf, or "BWF" (The F being inverted).
In 1985, they signed to Mike Muir's (of Suicidal Tendencies) 'Suicidal Records' and recorded two tracks, Taste the Steel and Unicorn, for the label's Welcome to Venice compilation. Less than a year later, in 1986, they also recorded their first self-titled LP, on 'Suicidal Records' featuring their trademark sound, a cross between Suicidal Tendencies and vocals much like Motörhead.
Lost My Head... But I'm Back on the Right Track, their second, went to 'Caroline Records', in 1988.
Soon into the 1990s the group split. Henderson, however, kept the Beowülf name and hired Clint Schuyler (guitar), Kevin Sullivan (bass) and Rich Rowan (drums). Un-Sentimental followed in 1993 on 'Restless Records'. The record was not received as favorably as the past efforts drifting more to bluesy rock style.
In 1994 the band line-up underwent more changes prior to the fourth album. Buckit joined to play guitar, childhood friend and former EVOL bassist Dug Mug Swanson also joined, while Denish Chaudhuri came to play drums. That album, 2 Cents arrived in 1995 with a song featured on the movie Tank Girl.
Soon after the album release and supporting tours, original bass player Paul Yamada died of a drug overdose, an event that personally bothered Dale Henderson, who decided he was over with Beowülf. He then concentrated on another project, Kool-Whip. Adopting a more hard rock style, he called back Rowan and Sullivan and added Gimmi on second guitar. The line-up resulted in two albums, The Now and Dirty Movie in 2002 and 2007 respectively.
Despite Kool-Whip's apparent success, Henderson was ready to play the old Beowülf songs again, the band returned to the name Beowülf and started touring again playing the old music and re-released the first two LP's as one combined CD called The Re-Releases in 2004 on 'I Scream Records' with one new track recorded in 2004.
Westminister & 5th (2007) arrived featuring Henderson, Rowan and Sullivan with Stefan Crapia joining on guitar.
Jesus Freak (2011) saw longtime bassist Sean Otero leaving and was replaced by former Suicidal Tendencies bassist Louiche Mayorga, but he left soon after the recording to be replaced with former Fear Factory member Christian Olde Wolbers who also had assisted Henderson on the album's production.
Footnote: Do not confuse this Beowulf with a NWOBHM act out of Los Angeles by the same name.