After the recent release of their latest album, Self-ish, Will Wood & The Tapeworms has taken the time to connect with readers of The Hook!
Check out what Will Wood had to say about his first show, or his last show, or maybe all of those shows in between. A handful of experiences you definitely don't want to miss!
Suck down a cigarette and toss it down a gutter on Bleecker Street. Splash some water on my face in the water closet at Vivaldi. Five-dollar flask of Evan Williams on the corner where they don’t check ID and down it in four swilling gulps before oozing down the sidewalk to suck down a cigarette on the corner of 9th and Ave. A. Bacardi Gold in the pocket of my tzatziki-stained $800 Loro Piana trenchcoat to hold up my sleeve between opportunities to discreetly spill a few drops into a black coffee from Au Bon Pain on College Avenue. Don’t look both ways before crossing the street to roll on up to the hookah bar on George. Learn to freestyle rap from a large redhead who called himself Johnny Fresh up at Matelson Hall. Two tabs of a research chemical only known as 25i-NBOMe under my tongue at the Relay for Life in a North Jersey Suburb. Bile, sick, coughing, wheezing, heart palpitations and a faint occasional reminder that I need to change my face and get out of this town before they tar and feather my Borderliner ass and send me out with my keyboard strapped to my back on an NJTransit back to wherever I came from.
What was my first show like? I’d like to know myself. I don’t think I’m capable of reaching back into the cloudy ether of my memory and fishing out something I’m certain of. I have scraps of things to look back on, but the order and the significance are all twisted and knotted and tangled like matted hair on a sweaty pillow. Like lofty thoughts on an acid peak. I sort of emerged around 2013 or so, I think, although I had been on stage as a musician before then. Under various names and disguises and personas who all requested unique attention from me and gave nothing back in return. Nothing but vaguely haunted blackout shards of evening mania and what I fear may be permanent damage to my internal organs. There’s no Dewey Decimal System in my head to keep track of these haphazardly-arranged memories. Scratched DVDS and unwound video tapes on crooked bookshelves in the attic of my head – I can pull out overexposed polaroids and maybe tell you which one in the photo is me, but to pick a single evening out of the haze and say “yes, that’s it, that’s the one!” is like asking a toddler his earliest memory. He’ll probably babble about his time spent as a dinosaur in a past life, and new age freaks will make youtube comments about indigo children and the dawning of the age of Aquarius.
Maybe my first show was that night at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village. I was 18 years old and a fresh dropout from Binghamton University, singing about LSD in front of my friends and family. The response was mixed. Maybe it was the night I got drunk on the curb with the Rabbi I met at the Sidewalk Café, or got drunk with the schizophrenic outside the Pyramid Club who told me that the government had repossessed his mansion because of something he had in his intestines- he had good weed. Or in the basement of the Poetry Club soaked in face paint, boxed wine and strange men’s saliva. Or the night I discovered that fascinating gay bar with the red walls and pornographic videos showing behind the bar, doing bumps of cocaine off a stranger’s house keys. And what about that night spent on the bench with the wailing obese man covered in mud who cackled like a maniac at every word I said but let me drink long island iced tea of an old milk carton he had on his lap? Or was it the night I asked out the goth girl with the skull candy headphones, not knowing it would lead to years of emotional turmoil, heartbreak and nonsense?
I’ve been playing shows for a long time. I suppose since High School. For some musicians, there may be a landmark by which they knew they were getting their start. An event etched into their mind that they look back on fondly, or maybe embarrassedly, and say “that was my first time.” I don’t have that. I’m missing huge chunks of my life and I’m still sitting on the curb picking up my molars and putting them back in my face. Will Wood and the Tapeworms has existed since before there was even a band I could call Will Wood and the Tapeworms. Will Wood came somewhat before that, but I’m not sure when. There were other personas and other iterations and countless utter failures to launch, but with the way I scrambled my brain, I can only tell you that I don’t remember my first show. Just lots and lots of last shows.