Jack Terricloth (World/Inferno Friendship Society)
by Interviews

Jack Terricloth of The World/Inferno Friendship Society is contemplating death. You see, when he first moved to New York he became infatuated with the band-du-jour, The Paranoid Style. Fronted by the lovely Grace Talicious, The Paranoid Style perfected the difficult combination of sophisticated elegance and radical art.

Terricloth pined after Talicious for years, only building up the courage to finally contact her last year, just before World/Inferno’s annual Hallowmas concert. But, just as Terricloth was about to reach out to Talicious, she was struck dead. Instead of Hallowmas being a celebration, it was quickly converted to a wake for Talicious (although, it was still a big party).

Now World/Inferno is on the verge of releasing This Packed Funeral out November 11 via Alternative Tentacles Records. The album features Terricloth and the rest of the band, speaking at Talicious’ wake, reflecting on what was, and what could have been. Days before the band’s annual Hallowmas show (the details of which the band is keeping hush-hush, though surely, it will play into the album somehow) features editor John Gentile spoke to Terricloth about life, death, and pagan gods.

Who was Grace Talicious?
Grace Talicious was in this band called the Paranoid Style, who was popular when I first moved to New York. You know how people judge a place by the popular band of the time is? Well, that band was the Paranoid Style. Of course, they broke up before they got big outside of New York. That’s what most New York bands do. Can you really name the first New York band that got huge?

Well, Ramones really never got big until they broke up. Velvet Underground didn’t get big until they broke up. Do you feel that World/Inferno is suffering the same fate?
I think we’re very respectable. But, you must remember that I was in Sticks N Stones and we were very unpopular. So, this is all gravy for me. I’m just glad people showed. I loved Stick N Stones, but really, there was no one at those shows other than people that we were dating. I believe in your diaries you put online last year, you were chasing after Grace Talicious?
She was a pop star. She was the belle of the lower East side ball. Of course, I was kind of frightened of her, so I never went beyond glances and pining.

What was it that made Grace Talicious so special? Was it charisma? Style?
She definitely had a lot of charisma. But, I never really knew her that well because I was so taken with her. Then, she disappeared when the band broke up. She had a great fashion sense. She always seemed to know what to do.

But, quite tragically, she as hit by a bus last year, just before Hallowmas. What did her death mean to you?
Oh… you know, it’s silly, but it’s so sad. I wished that I called her but I never did. I had her number for four years and I never called her. It’s so sad.

Is there a bigger comment about the human condition in that?
I’m taking from it that you should call your old friends even if you have nothing to say. Now, you can even text, which makes it much easier.

What’s interesting about text messaging is that there’s almost no fear of rejection. If someone doesn’t answer you back, then, they just don’t answer you back. But, Jack, I never took you for a shy person. Are you shy?
I was in my early 20’s. She was a pretty girl. But, I’ve gotten over it.

The album is centered around death and most of the songs are set at Grace’s wake. Jack, what does death mean to you? Is it a paradise? In the Babylonian view, does everyone go to a form of hell?
It means that you live in hell and once a year at Halloween you get to come out and dance. The year is a lot longer, but Halloween is that much more special.

So, you have a bleak view of the afterlife, like the Babylonians?
Oh, I don’t know. Hell might be a lot of fun. Here’s probably a lot of venereal diseases and hangovers. But, you look good getting there.

Should you go to hell, whom do you hope to see there?
Peter Lorre, of course. I just watched that Mad Monster Party film from 1967. It’s a clay animation thing. Peter Lorre was supposed to be in it, and some guy was supposed to be Peter Lorre and I would have done such a better job than that guy. But, of course, I was unavailable in 1967. Still, I was outraged. But, I recommend the film anyway.

Isn’t Peter Lorre sort of a dangerous character to want to emulate? He had a difficult life.
Oh, I don’t know. I thought he enjoyed himself. Though, he did have some rough experiences. He went through things you and I will never know. The country that he was born in, doesn’t exist anymore. Talk about being homeless. But, he made the best of it and had fun along the way.

Does struggle, does strife, build one’s personality and character?
It certainly does. Though, one shouldn’t indulge in it too often, because that would make one bitter and mean. Just having to get up and do stuff makes one more attractive.

It seems to me that in some aspects of your life, you invite strife into your life.
No, I don’t invite it, but I don’t shy away from it either. There are things that I wish didn’t happen. But, inviting it would be literally wishing for bad luck, which I would not do. I strive for perfection.

Let’s talk about the Great Pumpkin. At Hallowmas lat year, Grace Talicious was seen in her coffin. I expected her to rise from the coffin at the stroke of midnight. But, she did not! I realize, perhaps it was rude of me to ask for something from the Great Pumpkin on his day. The Great Pumpkin, is he selfish, is he giving, is he vengeful?
Well, he is fickle. He is our god, so, a god is allowed to be fickle. He doesn’t always bring you want you want, but he usually brings you something. It is often something that you need.

Along those lines, is it rude for me to ask for something from the Great Pumpkin - either something material or for something in my life?
It’s definitely not rude to ask for something in your life, but he’s not materialistic. If it’s not candy or something that he likes, he might be a little angry. So, ask for something in your life.

On the new album, you do some very daring things, but you seem to be completely in control the whole time. It seems that despite the great amount of planning and risk taking in this release, you are very comfortable.
Well, thank you! You also have to thank the band for that. They came up with a lot of ideas and they are top-notch players. Plus, having Mr. Hollingsworth around to press the buttons is a huge help. We did take some risks. We did work hard on it because it is our debut album on Alternative Tentacles.

Was there any conflict in the band about how the album itself?
Yeah, there always is. We fight for two weeks and we finish a song and then we don’t speak to each other for a week and then we record a new song. We all care about it so much, of course. At the end of the day, the band is still on tour.

In your decision process, do you act as the judge and say, “This is what we’re going to do!” Or, do the conflicts just work themselves out?
I say this is what we’re going to do, and then they change it, and then the songs comes out. They actually do that. That’s real. I think sometimes they are just making fun of my guitar playing.

Tell me about “Dr. Dracula gets you high.”
Francis from our band wrote a lot of that. The title is actually from when our former keyboard player Raja said that phrase out loud in his sleep. It’s about living off the grid. I’m a fictional character. I don’t vote. I don’t pay taxes. Someone pointed out that someone might start looking for me, because of these lyrics. But, I’m not worried. I don’t exist.

Along those lines, you often put very, very personal things into your lyrics, but we, the fans, know almost nothing of your personal life. Is that by design?
Oh, it’s definitely by design. When I write about Peter Lorre or Grace Talicious, I write about them doing things that I would never do in my personal life…

Do people in your personal life know about Jack Terricloth or do you have a double life?
No, I don’t have a double life. I did have a girlfriend once that got really mad when she found out that Jack wasn’t really my first name…