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Well Worn Boot

Well Worn Boot

I know a lot of you foreign types read this blog, so let me explain something. Here in America, we have this thing every year called “March Madness” where suddenly everyone is expected to care about college basketball. It’s a tournament and the team that wins gets to bone every chick at the losing team’s school…at least I assume that’s what happens, because there’s no other explanation for why everyone gets so fucking excited about it.

Anyway, around here we had our own little version of March Madness with our latest Weird Band Poll, and the band that gets to cut down the net (look it up) is a little combo from Upstate New York called Well Worn Boot. I am excited about this because I grew up in that part of the world and these guys represent my favorite part of Upstate, which is the white trash part. They’re from Buffalo but they may as well be from Pigfuck, Arkansas. Except they’re probably a little too weird for that.

Well Worn Boot’s lead singer is a flute-playing hillbilly named The Plainsman. Their guitarist is a horse called Horse. Their bass player is a big baby called Baby Buckingham. Their drummer is a dead guy named Billy Klubb who, for reasons no one can explain, wears a tiny cow-colored top hat. They play music that has been described as “Johnny Cash meets Captain Beefheart,” and yes, it is very nearly as awesome as that sounds. Especially when The Plainsman lets rip with a flute solo. Then they’re like a cowpunk Jethro Tull.

They release comic books with their EPs, which chronicle the adventures of Well Worn Boot like they’re a bunch of drunken Upstate superheroes. The first comic/EP was called Fully Torqued and you can preview it here. The next one comes out next month and will be called Boot in Space. I assume it’ll be set in space but from what I know so far about these guys, it might just be set in Billy Klubb’s basement and guest star a nitrous tank.

Oh and they also have their own festival. It’s called the Wild Wild Fest and it’s happening this year Aug. 29-30 at the Willow Creek Winery in Silver Creek, NY. I’m usually more of a beer and bourbon guy, but I’ll drink whatever that place is pouring.

We’ll leave you with the video from “Drunk on the Highway,” which is pretty typical of the WWB catalog in that it features aliens, drinking and sex. Not necessarily in that order.

Actually, hold up. That one didn’t have enough flute in it. So here’s another one.

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Ten things I’ll miss the most about Oderus Urungus

Oderus

I’m not gonna get all misty-eyed about the death of GWAR main man Dave Brockie, who for 30 years strapped on the Space Barbarian suit known to fans the world over as Oderus Urungus. I never actually met Dave, unless you count the one time in ’91 or thereabouts when I yelled “Great show!” at him after a gig and he yelled back, “Thanks, human!”

But even though I didn’t know him, I’m guessing he wouldn’t have wanted people to get all sad and weepy at his passing. He might want us to break shit, but cry? Fuck no. There are many bodily fluids I associate with GWAR, but tears are not one of them.

So instead of some pussy-ass eulogy, here’s a list of just 10 of the many things I will miss about Oderus. And probably about GWAR in general. I mean, maybe the surviving members will morph into some kind of GWAR tribute band, the way the Murder Junkies still tour with GG Allin songs, but it’s not like you can replace Oderus. In fact, this list could probably also be called “Ten Reasons GWAR Should Just Break Up Now.” I know that sounds harsh, but fuck it. It’s been a harsh day.

1. His bloody stage antics.

Especially when he dismembered Hitler. A million times more cathartic than Inglorious Basterds.

2. His interviewing skills.

Comedians should study this guy.

3. His crushing vocals on GWAR’s “Carry On Wayward Son” cover.

So much better than the original, Kansas should pay him royalties.

4. His giant Scumdog dick, aka The Cuttlefish of Cthulhu.

Yes, I know saying I miss someone’s dick is totally gay. But I don’t care. I’m gay for GWAR.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5. His appearances on Fox News.

I love how the Fox commentators keep trying to be in on the joke and failing miserably.

6. His love for the children.

7. The blood. Oh, the blood.

I suppose this may continue after Oderus is gone, but it won’t be the same. (Photo swiped from this excellent article.)

gwar-fans

8. The witty stage banter.

And the disembowelment of Justin Bieber is a nice bonus, too.

9. The music.

Yeah, fine, no one ever went to a GWAR show for the music. But you know what? Some of their earlier punk/metal stuff is pretty fucking catchy.

10. The man behind the mask.

Did I say wasn’t going to get all misty-eyed? Well, fuck it, I lied.

I’m going to miss the hell out of Dave Brockie: his music, his humor, his insane stage shows, and his all-around weirdness. We basically started this blog specifically for bands like GWAR…you know, the ones that come up with something completely original and fucking commit to it. Brockie did GWAR for 30…fucking…years. Most people can’t even stay married that long.

We call the bands on here “weird” because it’s funny and it gets a reaction and because we didn’t want to crawl up our own asses and talk about “the avant-garde” or “experimentalism” or some other bunch of pretentious horseshit. Calling the bands “weird” just made the whole thing sound like more fun.

But let’s not kid ourselves. The best bands on our Weird List…maybe not all of them, but the best ones…aren’t just weird. They’re fucking extraordinary. They do shit no one else would have the creativity or perseverance or sheer balls to do. Dave Brockie embodied all of that and them some. There will never be anyone else like him.

We read a lot of great things about Dave Brockie today, written by a lot of cool people. But you have Google so we won’t bore you by reprinting them all here. We’ll just print this one, from a 2010 article about GWAR in Decibel magazine, reprinted on Deadspin. It’s from Brad Roberts aka Jizmak Da Gusha, GWAR’s drummer and it sums up Dave pretty well, we think:

I’ve known Brockie since we were little kids going to hardcore shows in the early ’80s. He was always the guy with his shirt off; he always had pit grime all over him. Nobody would drink out of pitchers of beer after he’d been drinking out of them. He would slam dance the wrong way, and everyone fucking hated him. He was chaos incarnate—that was my first impression. But I remember thinking, “He’s nuts. I gotta get in a band with that guy.”

Rest in peace, Dave. And Oderus, safe travels back to your home planet.

We’ll leave you with video of GWAR’s first-ever performance, which we discovered thanks to Boing Boing. They were so freakin’ adorable, weren’t they?

R.I.P. Dave Brockie of GWAR, aka Oderus Urungus

Oderus Urungus of GWAR

Like a lot of people, we just assumed that GWAR front-demon Oderus Urungus would be around forever. Yes, we knew there was an actual human being underneath the codpiece and monster makeup; we’re not fucking five-year-olds. But anyone who could strap on that much plastic armor and latex and churn out buckets of fake blood and real metal night after night for 30 years—we figured that guy was probably just as indestructible as the alien overlord he portrayed.

Turns out we were wrong. Dave Brockie, the man behind Oderus and the heart and soul of GWAR, died yesterday.

At this point, we’re too stunned and depressed to write much more. You can read more details (what few there are) here or here if you’re so inclined. We’ll scrape together a longer tribute to The Man, The Myth, The Scumdog later tonight. But for now, we’ll just be here cranking “Sexecutioner” and crying.

The Chewers’ “Chuckle Change and Also” is now on CD. It’s like the ’90s up in here!

The Chewers

So the other day, Travis from backwoods clatter-punks The Chewers writes us and is all like, “Our second album Chuckle Change And Also has just been released on real-life CD through Cimmerian Shade Recordings, fully mastered. Will you tell the kids about it?” And we were all like, “Hells yeah we will! An album released on CD? I hear that shit is the new vinyl! Everyone’s gonna want a copy cuz it’s all retro.”

But seriously, the new CD has cool artwork and four live bonus tracks and at eight bucks plus free shipping in the U.S., it’s a pretty good deal for a piece of technology that’s only somewhat obsolete.* If you wanna be all 21st century about it, you can also buy a digital download of the album for five bucks. But get the CD so you can wave it around when The Chewers blow up and be all, “I was into them back when people still bought CDs, bitches!

Anyway, both CD and download are available via the Cimmerian Shade website, which calls The Chewers “mind-melting, idiosyncratic, Beefheartian punk from the outer limits.” Wish we’d come up with that. Has a much nicer ring to it than “a couple of tattooed hillbillies who decided to retire early from the bathtub speed trade and form a band based on the Residents and Tom Waits records they found at a yard sale in Wheeling.” That was the best we could come up with when they won our Weird Band Poll back in April ’13. Bit long-winded in retrospect.

Let’s play this post out with a sample of Chuckle Change And Also‘s fully mastered charms. This is called “Smiling Samuel” and I’m pretty sure it’s about a guy I used to work with at the DMV.

Gout Pony

Gout Pony

I hate the English. When they aren’t busy playing our super-villains or dominating our television, they’re beating the competition in our monthly Weird Band Polls. Three of the last five polls have now been won by Brits, with Ipswich’s Gout Pony claiming the latest victory. How can a tiny nation of tea-drinkers kick so much ass?

Anyhow, Gout Pony have been together about three years or so and describe themselves as half “brilliant, budding musicians, half bearded, bedraggled tramps.” They call their music “trampcore,” so they must really like the word “tramp.”

Their lead singer is a gentleman by the name of Adam Whybray, aka Generation Y Bray. He has a blog called Cage Wisdom that’s mostly reviews of Nicolas Cage movies, and I’m only telling you that because we don’t know very much about these guys and this post would only be about 50 words long if I didn’t throw in a few random factoids. Here’s another one: When we first contacted Adam about Gout Pony being in the poll, he sent us this photo with the comment, “Here is a picture of the only attraction in Ipswich.” Maybe so, but what an awesome attraction.

The rest of Gout Pony is made up of The Saddest Thing (guitars, keys), The Nation (woodwinds, keys, stylophone…and no, I didn’t know what a stylophone was either, but I guess it’s this thing), and Timerous Ham (drums, Theremin). I’m not sure which ones are the brilliant musicians and which are the bedraggled tramps. Actually, after listening to their music, I’m pretty sure they’re all just bedraggled tramps. But hey, that’s OK. Some of our favorite weird musicians were bedraggled tramps, too.

Gout Pony have released one album, an eight-track collection available on Bandcamp called A Family Gouting. It’s all pretty weird, but I think this track captures them at their Goutiest.

They also do a mean cover of “Smart Girls,” from Brian Wilson’s unjustly overlooked hip-hop period:

So congrats on winning the poll, Gout Pony. And don’t worry, we were totally kidding about hating the English. Except One Direction. Fuck those little punks.

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Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang is taking their twang on tour

Duo de Twang

Good news for people who love funky pickin’: Duo de Twang, the hillbilly hootenanny duo of Les Claypool and Bryan Kehoe, have announced a handful of winter/spring tour dates supporting their debut album Four Foot Shack, due out Feb. 4th. Check the dates below and see if they’ll be twangin’ it up in a theater (pronounced “thee-YAY-tur”) near you:

Duo de Twang 2014 tour:

1/7 – Orlando, FL – House of Blues
1/8 – St. Petersburg, FL – State Theater
1/9 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – FL Revolution
2/27 – New York, NY – The Heath at McKittrick Hotel
2/28 – Woodstock, NY – Bearsville Theater
3/1 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
3/3 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater
3/4 – Millvale, PA – Mr. Smalls Theatre
3/6 – Kent, OH – The Kent Stage
3/7 – Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre
3/8 – Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue

You can order tickets to any of the shows from Les Claypool’s website. If you go to the Feb. 27th show in New York and you like experimental theatre (pronounced “THEE-uh-tah,” in a snooty British accent), be sure to get the Sleep No More package, which gets you into this crazy multi-room Eyes Wide Shut-style adaptation of Macbeth that has nothing to do with twangy acoustic hillbilly music but is pretty mind-blowing nonetheless.

You can pre-order yourself a copy of Four Foot Shack here and also here.

Jan Terri

Jan Terri

Happy 2014, weirdos! Are you as hungover as we are? I hope not, because this week’s weird artiste can be tough to listen to with a throbbin’ noggin.

We were introduced to Jan Terri the same way most folks are: Someone sent us a link to a YouTube video called “Worst music video ever,” a badly ripped copy of Terri’s “Losing You” that’s gotten over 3 million hits. And while “Losing You” is not the worst music video ever by a long shot (as far as we’re concerned, Brokencyde still wears that crown), it’s not exactly a cinematic triumph. The camerawork could best be described as “easily distracted” and Terri has so little screen presence she’s upstaged at the 1:05 mark by a drainpipe. The tune itself is actually pretty catchy, but Terri sings it like someone at a karaoke bar trying to do a song she’s never heard before. At first glance, it’s a train wreck.

And yet…Jan Terri’s music sucks you in, and not just because it really is catchy. Like all great outsider music, there’s something pure and unaffected about it. Songs like “Losing You” and “Make It With You Babe” are such determined yet failed attempts to make slickly produced pop-rock that the failure itself becomes more compelling than actual slickly produced pop-rock.

Terri released two albums and a handful of videos on VHS tape in the early ’90s, but few people outside her hometown of Chicago knew about her until Marilyn Manson, of all people, became a fan. She opened for him in 1998 and appears in his God Is in the T.V. video collection. Soon after that, however, she stopped pursuing music to take care of her mother, who suffered from dementia and passed away in 2008. So when her videos started becoming viral hits on YouTube in the late ’00s, no one really knew what had become of her. She was even rumored to have died.

Instead, much to the delight of her growing fan base (and us here at TWBITW), Terri resurfaced in 2011 with new music and a holiday-themed video that showed she hadn’t lost her knack for kitschy YouTube fodder:

Since her comeback, Terri’s released another two albums’ worth of frozen-in-the-’80s pop anthems: The Wild One, a country-tinged effort with awesome cover art, and last year’s No Rules, which features some of her rockingest tunes to date. We’ll leave you with the video for the No Rules track “Skyrockets,” which was shot right here in L.A. (or, more specifically, “on location in Beverly Hills, Malibu & Hollywood”) and proves that, even after 20 years, Jan Terri is still, as I believe the kids like to say, unfuckwitable.

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a.P.A.t.T. ask you to “Spare a Thought for Santa” this Christmas

a.p.a.t.t.

Do you think Santa Claus feels under-appreciated? I mean, sure, everyone dresses up like him for a month and erects effigies of him on their rooftops and sends him mail and sings songs about how great he is. But does he get any presents on Christmas? I mean, apart from milk and cookies, which are nice and all but far less satisfying than an Xbox? No, he does not. It’s fair to say that come Dec. 26th, Santa is probably the bitterest motherfucker on the planet. He probably locks himself in a dark room for a month with all those cookies and a box of porn and wonders why the hell he even bothers.

Fortunately, British art-rock weirdos a.P.A.t.T. are here to help Santa out. Not with actual presents or anything—I mean, let’s not go crazy. Like most art-rock weirdos, they’re probably too broke to buy Santa an Xbox. But they did write him an adorable little song called “Spare a Thought for Santa,” which is available now via Bandcamp for a mere £1. All proceeds go to help Mrs. Claus get Santa some post-Christmas therapy and maybe a trip to Barbados. I’m kidding, of course. They all go to line the pockets of a.P.A.t.T., who could probably also use some therapy and a Caribbean vacation. Either way, it’s a good cause.

And now, a message of holiday cheer from the Radioactive Chicken Heads. No, wait, scratch that. They just wanna say “Cluck You.”

Radioactive Chicken Heads

Usually when a band posts a new video this late in the year, we just assume it’s gonna be yet another lame cover of “Jingle Bell Rock” or some such tinsel-bedecked piece of crap. But not the Radioactive Chicken Heads. These costumed purveyors of snot-punk mayhem have a much more appropriate message for when you’ve just wasted your weekend shoving baby strollers out of the way in a futile attempt to find the last iPad Mini in town for your high-maintenance girlfriend: “Cluck You!”

Before we get to the clip, we should also mention that this coming February, the RC-Heads celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band with a show in Orange County, Calif., where they got their start. 20 years! Hope they’ve upgraded their costumes a few times or else the inside of that carrot must smell like a Port-O-Potty on day three of Bonnaroo.

Laki Lan

Laki Lan

We thought we had already stumbled across the weirdest band in Poland when a reader turned us on to Dick4Dick. Boy were we ever wrong. Turns out that when it comes to weird bands, the Poles roll deep. A reader by the name of Paweł recently dropped his own Polish Weird List on us and we’re still digesting it like a two-foot kielbasa. We’re not even sure where to start at this point, but the “meadow funk” of Laki Lan is as good a place as any.

Laki Lan (or Łąki Łan, if you want to get all Polish about it) is a six-piece from Warsaw or thereabouts. Their name means “meadow field” and they all dress up in goofy costumes evoking various creatures native to said meadows and fields—bugs, mostly, but also the occasional rodent, elf or other adorable woodland fauna. They’ve been around for over a decade and released three albums, but don’t seem to be well-known outside Poland, or at least among us Yanks. About the only things written about them on the Web in English are a brief Wikipedia entry and a fanciful bio on Last.fm that reads, in part:

Once upon a time, somewhere on the meadow near Warsaw, four insects got together and decided to form a music band. They wanted to play, but they didnt know how. After long months of practicing and rehearsing Butterfly, Grasshopper, Bumble-bee and Dragonfly started a psychedelic journey to the big city and thats how the world learned about fantastic live shows giving rare mixture of disco-punk-rock-funkin style of Łąki Łan (meadow field).

I wish we knew more, because there’s clearly some backstory to all the characters. But I don’t think Google translator is up to the task. Here’s how it renders the bio on the band’s website:

Once the leaf jełopianu met six amazing gourmet pollen and nectar …
Mon Kolny, Unruly Bonk hare Cokictokloc, Jesus, Marian, MegaMotyl and little elf named Paprodziad.
Paprodziadowi managed to dig out from his bundle bizarre bottle whose contents then offered all members of the Meadows canopy.
Suddenly, the wind ferocious dust rose into the air, it got dark as in the belly of the track, the birds were silent, flower petals pozwijały and terrible lightning pierced the skies were blue.
Fortunately, there has been nothing more than rain that soaked the wings and doublets.
So they returned to his true fungus, took out instruments and played ŁąkiFunka …

Actually, you know what? I take it back. That’s all I need to know about these guys.

In Poland, Laki Lan are most famous for their rousing live shows, which do indeed look like a funky good time. The band’s music is a highly danceable mish-mash of punk, funk, rock, house, disco and even drum ‘n’ bass. It occasionally gets a little weird, but mostly it’s just high-energy and fun, like this track called “Propaganda,” which based on the video I guess is about one of those girls with so much shit in her purse she gets sucked into an alternate universe just looking for her keys.

But Laki Lan doesn’t get any weirder than “Big Baton,” the clip our buddy Paweł sent us. They’re like the Red Hot Chili Peppers back when they had a sense of humor! And better outfits.

Oh and given what time of year it is, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this earlier, punkier Laki Lan video:

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