Content Director Ian Dziura and SCAD Radio assistant Abby Loden sat down for an interview with the lead singer of Will Wood and the Tapeworms.
Will Wood and the Tapeworms will be performing at Sentient Bean on Tuesday, November 6th.
I- You’re from the same state I’m from, New Jersey. Anyone from NJ knows how big Bruce Springsteen is there. Would you say he’s a major inspiration for you getting into music?
Will- No, I have to say that The Boss and I don’t really have much in common musically. To be perfectly honest, I’m not all that familiar with his work. I know that’s kinda blasphemy among the New Jersey population. Bruce Springsteen, I have nothing to do with that man and I have no desire to. Honestly, I’m familiar with two of his songs and if you asked me to name a third I’ll probably name a Tom Waits song instead. Nobody seems to recognize this but one of Bruce Springsteen’s successful songs, “Jersey Girl”, is not actually his song, it’s a Tom Waits song, I’m a big Tom Waits fan.
I- How about Bon Jovi? Another big guy from New Jersey.
Now I’m in pain. Jon Bon Jovi? No thank you.
A- It seems like you’re not into the mainstream rockers from New Jersey, but who would’ve been your childhood inspiration growing up?
A lot of people think I’m joking when I say this ‘cuz people who listen to my music wouldn’t hear anything of it in my songwriting style or any element of what I do. I really like Green Day. I grew up on a steady diet of Green Day… I honestly think Billie Joe Armstrong is one of the greatest songwriters of several generations. His melodic instinct is unparalleled.
A- I mean, didn’t we all grow up on a little Green Day? I think we all did.
For sure. And then Tool. I know that’s a big leap from Green Day, but I switched over from Green Day to Tool, and then that’s all I listened to for 5 years. It was horrible, I was completely insufferable, I walked around in a trench coat and a fedora quoting [Tool’s] “Parabola”. It was bad.
I- Apple Music has your albums listed simply as “rock”, but one listen to any of your songs would second-guess that, so how would you describe your genre?
It’s tough because I don’t ever want to, but it’s a very common question. I get asked that a lot and I usually just wanna be like “no”.
I- Will Wood is the genre.
I don’t wanna say that. That’s James Brown’s schtick, you know? It’s self-aggrandizing in a way that is not a good look. I don’t know, I’m not really a big fan of genre in general. It can be limiting when you say “this is the genre that I play” and that’s that. I’ve always been really attracted to the novelty songs in any given record. Listen to a pop record or a punk record where there’s one song that sounds nothing like the rest of the album, and that’s what I was always drawn to. I always really liked how the musician would set a precedent as to what they do and then subvert it actively… I don’t know what’d I’d call what I do.
A- I’ve heard that you have a daughter that apparently doesn’t exist, could you explain that to us?
I got carried away with a joke. A while back, I saw a video of Eric Nally from Foxy Shazam on stage talking about his son… He was saying “I have a son named Julien” and then someone from the audience was like “bullsh*t!” and he said “No, it’s true”. I thought to myself “maybe it’s not true, maybe this guy doesn’t have a son”. I wouldn’t put it past that guy. Eric Nally has always had a very fluid and experimental stage presence and public persona. I’ve always really admired it. It turns out he does have a son, and I was like “well, what about mine not having a kid? What would that be like?” So I tried it, and I got really carried away. It got to the point where I hired a nine-year-old girl to come up on stage during a show and claim to be my daughter… Public apology to the world- I’m sorry I lied about having a daughter. I don’t regret it.
A- You’re really into character acting. Is that true?
I’ve always been a fan of experimenting with identity and the way identity is presented… I think for the most part, our identity and what we perceive ourselves to be are mostly stories we tell ourselves based on faulty, flawed, reinterpreted memories that pile up and eventually, you have this narrative inside yourself of what you are based on, what you’ve been under, what you’ve said or thought, and it doesn’t actually necessarily relate to reality… At the end of the day, you’re not anything inherently.
I- You orchestrate special things like audience participation and acrobatics in your shows. What kind of magic is there in your concerts that one can’t get by simply listening to your albums?
There’s a difference between a movie and a play, and a difference between a play and a book. There’s a difference of what’s recorded and what’s experienced. I think they should exist as two separate art forms. It would be pretty boring for me and the audience if I just got up on stage and tried to replicate what’s on the album. It would be hard to replicate exactly what’s on the album because going into the studio is such a different process than getting up on stage and trying to interact with an audience, so I think you get the living experience. You get something else entirely. You have songs you may have developed an affinity for by listening to the recordings, but you get them in living, breathing, communicative variants that is never parallel to recordings. I always say I hate concerts. It’s boring. I like shows. It’s a performance; it’s theater… When I get on stage, I have the opportunity to do something different and what has been established so far is who I am publicly and what I do publicly… You don’t get an honest appraisal of my art from the record, you get an honest appraisal of that record.