Friday, April 10, 2009

An Interview with Jack Terricloth

I picked up a bottle of Johnny Walker Red, grabbed my recorder and headed out to Brooklyn. It was nice and cool out, since the heavy rains had finally subsided, so the ride was quite pleasant. When I arrived at the Williamsburg Industrial Park, I sent Jack a text that simply read: “I’m here”. Moments later, the sound of his voice echoing some song that incorporated my last name “Ogiba” echoed throughout the park. We said our hellos and he invited me down to what he called “suffer through a few songs”. Inside the practice space everyone seemed very friendly and somewhat excited to have a guest. They quickly ran through two songs with the most perfect sound levels I’ve ever heard in a practice space of this type and size. The mix was perfect and the execution was flawless. When the songs came to a close, Jack introduced me to the band; there were a few members of which I had met in the past and a few I had not. Everyone was packing up for the big tour and once everything was finally removed from the space, Jack grabbed the bottle of Johnny Walker and he, bassist Sandra Malak and I sat down to begin the interview.

IMFA: Who are you, what musical projects are you currently involved with, and what projects have you been a part of?

JT: I am Jack Terricloth of The World Inferno Friendship Society, and that's more important than anything I've ever done before this.

IMFA: Fair enough, Next question: When did you first realize that you had a love for music?

JT: Oh very early. As soon as I could talk, I wanted to sing.

IMFA: Ok, well what music did you grow up listening to, and what music influenced you along the way?

JT: Hmmm. This almost sounds corny but I really like fifties music because it's what my parents listened to as I was growing up. Do Wop groups and the Dion and tight harmony stuff. It's just what was going on and I always find myself singing along to it.

IMFA: All my ex girlfriends have accused me of not listening, Do you have any advice you can offer me?

JT: (laughs) Just please listen! And rub her feet whenever possible.

IMFA: Ok. Thanks, Are there any people that you can think of off the top of your head, who you have enjoyed playing or making music with in the past?

JT: Well everyone in the World Inferno of course. I'd have to e-mail you the whole list, of course.

IMFA: Well is there anyone specifically who stands out from the rest for any reason?

JT: Well Mr. Hollingsworth who started the Inferno with me was always a pleasure to play with. So very mercurial though - impossible to pin down or take on tour. Everyone in World Inferno is a pleasure to play with.

IMFA: If you had to sum up your story in one of your own lyrics, what lyric would you pick?

JT: "If we should be arrested before we sleep, I'll meet you outside in a few days or in a few weeks".

IMFA: Someone asks: "What does World Inferno sound like?" you respond:

JT: "What kinda music do YOU like? We sound like that.” (laughs)

IMFA: Who are your favorite fine artists and why?

JT: Gustav Klimt. Well because he seems to be having so much fun and he seems to be so high and happy all the time.

IMFA: Lucky Strano's first name really is Lucky, is it not?

JT: Yes it actually is. How weird is that? Do you speak Italian?


JT: Well, it actually translates into "Strange Luck".

IMFA: Can you cite an example of him living up to his name?

JT: (laughs) We're all still alive... so yes!

IMFA: Do you remember that Halloween on Louis Street in New Brunswick?

JT: Yes. We lit the ceiling on fire and the jocks upstairs got mad because we stole their propane tank to fill a balloon and then blow it up in the basement and it blew up and the neighbors called the police and I just walked out and went to a party across the street and watched the whole thing happen.

IMFA: He was actually under the grill with a leaf bag that had a pumpkin on it, filling it up when I took my two best friends at the time and said "get out of the basement". It was an epic show.

JT: Yeah and since there was some other jock party going on across the street, I just sat on their porch, grabbed a beer and watched the police come and go.

IMFA: When I left the party an hour later, I saw you walking out of town with your briefcase in hand as if nothing happened.

SM: We did that at Cha Chas too. We watched the riot from the bar next door, drinking piña coladas.

JT: In the Cha Chas riot, the police tried to arrest me but they just couldn't believe it. Probably not much more needs to be said about that incident. "This guy wrecked our club" and I was sitting at the bar and the officers said: "This guy wrecked your club?". We had played only two songs, I wasn't even sweating, and I was just nicely dressed. So I just sat at the bar and finished my piña colada. It was great.

IMFA: Would you consider yourself a cat person or a dog person?

JT: Well cats I suppose. Dogs... I don't like dogs.

SM: Dogs. I love dogs.

IMFA: Why?

SM: Because I feel like a puppy all of the time. I can relate to them. They might make mistakes here and there but they don't mean any harm. And they're cuddly (laughs)

JT: That's very sweet.

IMFA: Jack, why did you say cats?

JT: Oh because they're independent and they just sit around and stare at you.

IMFA: Tell me your thoughts on Dave Vanian.

JT: Oh I think he's great. I think that's quite obvious. (laughs) That's funny though because it was like, two or three years ago already...we played a show in New Jersey. The old bass player of Sticks and Stones showed up, Larry Martins, who was famous on his own - playing in Agnostic Front and I forget what else... Oh. Warzone. But who wasn't in Warzone? Anyway, I hadn't seen him in a couple of years and he said to me: "How did you go from being Pete in Sticks and Stones to being Jack in this?" and I said "It's pretty obvious that I'm just doing Dave Vanian". He turned to me and said: "Oh yeah, I can kinda see that now." I think he's great. I never want to meet him. And I hope he's doing well.

IMFA: Tell me about how you almost met him.

JT: We played with The Damned on the Warp Tour, and you know how that thing goes on all fucking day long, so we played at like two and they played at like seven or something. I was backstage and his wife Patricia Morrison was back there and she said: "Oh don't YOOOUUU look like my husband." I was just mortified; I could feel my face turn bright red and I just ran away.

SM: awww...

IMFA: How about when you used to see him around town?

JT: Oh! When he was living in New Jersey you mean. Well, before he was married to Patricia Morrison (and I don't have to get into anyone's personal life especially if I don't know them, but) he was married to a girl from Whitehouse New Jersey somehow. He was hanging out in the area and this is almost exactly the same story which makes it funny...Me and all my punk rock friends were too young to get into bars at the time, so hanging out at dinners all night was the thing to do. When you're in New Jersey, and you're nocturnal, what else is there to do? There's this giant Vampire-looking guy hanging out, eating key-lime pie all the time. We'd see him all the time and of course we'd stare at him and.... well anyway, my friend Lamar Vannoy who is famous for Oi Oi Oi went up to him and said: "Don't you look like Captain Sensible". Which is funny because this is almost the same story and thinking this guy is just some poseur and he said: "Oh, have you had the misfortune of seeing my band?". Two of almost the same stories in a ten year increment, how crazy is that?

IMFA: This was at the Felix 9 dinner in Bridgewater?

JT: Felix Number Nine. That's right. Then for about the next five years, all the punk rockers in town ate key-lime pie because it was the cool thing to do. It's true. Trendsetter, Dave Vanian.

IMFA: Not counting your band practice, what was the last song you heard and what are your thoughts on the song?

JT: OK well, Money is the root of all evil by the Andrew Sisters. (singing) "Money is the root of all evil, take it away take it away take it away, what am I thinking"

IMFA: What do you think about that song?

JT: It makes you feel bad about yourself, yet when you don't have it you also feel bad about yourself. There is no answer this question.

IMFA: Tell me about The Great Pumpkin.

JT: The Great Pumpkin. If you just believe in him he will bring you allllllll the presents. You just have to find the most sincere pumpkin patch. Just sit there and he will bring toys to all the good boys and girls. But if you slip up just for one minute, it passes you by. Isn't life like that?

IMFA: Last Tuesday was the anniversary of the 1996 death of Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Tell me what you think about that.

JT: Was it? I'm sorry I missed that. The first time I missed his death, I found an obituary digging through the trash. I think it was in the New York Times. Jeffrey Lee meant a lot to the slightly odd and slightly older punk rockers of the eighties and early nineties because he made punk rock not so boring. He played punk rock and it meant A LOT to a very small amount of people. I really followed him. It's funny hoping someone you never met does really well. It's like wishing your sister did well. We bought every single one of his records and they just got worse and worse and worse unfortunately. It was like having a very intimate relationship with someone you've never met and you just want them to succeed because they had one good idea. It was very sad when he when I found out John Doe and Exene broke up.

IMFA: Where is Atlantis?

JT: Where is Atlantis. We were just talking about this the other day, weren't we?

SM: (laughs) No, I think we were just in Atlantic City.

JT: Atlantis is Atlantic City. Weren't we talking about Plato? Anyway, Atlantis is located in the center of the Mediterranean. Somewhere between Sicily and Israel.

IMFA: Do you think it sank?

JT: Yes I do. It sank.

IMFA: What foreign country has the best response to the World Inferno?

JT: The United States of America.

SM: I knew you would say that.

IMFA: What do you have in store for the future?

JT: Obviously we are touring for the next forever-months. We have an albums worth of material that we are slowly recording over the next six months. I don't know when they will be released... fall would be the earliest. You know the pattern in which records need to be released, so...

IMFA: Do you have a one-liner that you can wrap this up with?

JT: "Don't forget the struggle, don't forget the streets" I do it all the time though (laughs). Up the punks man.

Look forward to the World Inferno radio plays at the public theater every week in December and January.

"WIFS are your friends. We're always thinking about you. Even if we don't see you at the shows, we are going to pretend you are there. Sweating our little bodies to the bone. That's why we have to drink so much - to help us sweat."

Check out for more info.


Unknown said...

Great interview, thank you!

ThreepennyRockOpera said...

Does that list mean that Inferno's going to play let's steal everything!? Also, good interview.

JenniAsh said...

I love this interview. :)