Makin Waves with Will Wood & the Tapeworms

Will Wood Merch

Will Wood is a crazy genius who must be seen with his amazing punk cabaret band, the Tapeworms, before he kills himself!

Now, that I have your attention, check out Rockaway-based Will Wood with Tapeworms guitarist Mike Bottiglieri, bassist Jonathon Maisto, drummer Brett Dubin and saxophonist David Higdon at the first Makin Waves Rock Circus Showcase on Oct. 22 at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen.

The imaginative Halloween-themed marriage of music, sideshow and burlesque also will feature the rock bands Black Clouds, Experiment 34 and The Production, the aerial acrobatics and fire fans of Vivi Noir, the flesh-hooked suspension act of Gisella Rose, and the new aerial act Vertical Fixation.

Will Wood and the Tapeworms also will play a Halloween show on Oct. 20 at The Clash Bar, Clifton, with Comb the Desert, Super Snake, and The Skulx, featuring Alex Nauth, formerly of Foxy Shazam, and one of several special guests on WW&TW’s intoxicatingly theatrical new concept album, “SELF-iSH.” Produced by Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist Kevin Antreassian, the fabulous follow-up to last year’s “Everything Is a Lot” chronicles Wood’s battle with personal demons, including alcoholism, from which he is recovered more than a year.

Wood and the Tapeworms also will perform Oct. 31 at The Meatlocker in Montclair with Reese Van Riper and Nov. 14 at WFMU’s Monty Hall in Jersey City with Honus Honus, lead singer of Philly-based Man Man, as well as the indie super group Mister Heavenly. Wood also will play solo Oct. 21 at Boontunes, Boonton, and Nov. 5 at again at The Meatlocker for Electric Sensei’s EP release party.

I operate out of a dank, dimly lit room that reeks of broken laws, drunken romantic encounters and sweaty flu naps in Backroom Studios of Rockaway. The self-destructively generous owner of the facility has allowed me to convert one of his practice rooms into a palace of depression, where I hang my hat and maybe myself eventually. I’ve been locked in this windowless cocoon of squalor for about a year now. Someday I will emerge a hideous moth and fly to the moon.

I’ve collected and disposed of more Tapeworms than a fashion model with a good connection, but I like to think I’ve finally gotten my habits in order. Mike Bottiglieri (guitar) has been with me since the beginning, Jonathon Maisto (bass) engineered my first record but didn’t join the lineup until about a year ago, and Brett Dubin (drums) and David Higdon (saxophones) are the best I’ve met at what they do. I’ve worked with seven drummers and five saxophone players before these guys, so they’d better be good. We’re all from Jersey, except Hig, he’s from one of those corn states. Ohio? Indiana? Iowa? Kansas? Somewhere with corn. Wherever “The Lovely Bones” happened.

Shucks. My grandmother willed us her old upright Chickering when the cancer took her, and my mother wanted me to play the ugly thing, so she hired an old Polish lady to come and whack my knuckles with a ruler until I could play Rachmaninov blindfolded at the age of 6. She was a retired ballet dancer who had to sit on a pillow because she was too bony.

“SELF-iSH” tells the story of a young man named Will Wood who wrote a group of songs and put them on a record that he then called “SELF-iSH.” Once upon a time, the end. Listen to the record, that’s the story. If I could tell it to you in other words, I wouldn’t have needed to write those.

 2012 was the year Quetzalcoatl (the Aztec god) returned and brought with him a Grand Syzygy of delusions of reference. The cycle was reborn, and we partook in the food of the gods to celebrate and return to la tabula rasa of existential nihilism. Duh.

 I don’t know the answer to that question. I don’t know how I wrote when I was a drunk, and I don’t know how I write now. I can’t find a pattern, I can’t find prevailing qualities. I can only find myself sitting at the piano mashing my thumbs into my eye sockets and begging for something to come out. I’ve always hated it. I probably hate it more now that I actually feel it.

Drama, movement, bold strokes and the abandonment of subtlety are hallmarks of honesty. Maybe some people’s feelings sound like well-intended young men with nice shoes, but mine sure as hell don’t. They feel like screaming and smashing — swinging out over the crowd on a chandelier waving a flag of surrender. They sound like bloody arms and drug-induced psychosis … .

Alex Nauth was fantastic to work with. He sent trumpet tracks all the way over from one of those corn states. Hearing a melody I’ve had in my head since I was a kid blaring through a trumpet played by a member of one of my favorite musical groups was a real trip.

Kevin knew how to handle an unraveling border-liner in the throes of artistic self-immolation better than any social worker I’ve visited. That beard of his must be strategic. It gives his face a kindly, familial quality that makes you want to call him papa and tell him who hurt you most. He must have practice dealing with those distressed creative types.

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