by Interviews

I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a shit show. Legendary musicians passed away suddenly. People we knew passed away suddenly. The Presidential election is a disgrace. Things are looking bleak. But, there is some hope.

According to Jack Terricloth of World/Inferno Friendship Society, the year begins anew with Hallowmas. On October 31, at the Warsaw in Brooklyn, World/Inferno will throw their annual big blowout bash in which the nine(?) piece, punk-cabaret-soul group summons the ancient deity, The Great Pumpkin, and asks for boons and demands retribution.

To that end, Features Editor John Gentile spoke to Terricloth about Hallowmas, the ethics of voting, and David Bowie.

As I ask around, a lot of people seem to feel that 2016 was a rough year. How was the year for you?
It’s been a great year for people who already wear Black suits everyday. Did you know that most dry cleaners will dye your clothes Black free of charge if you have a funeral to go to? Airlines will also cut you a break if you need to travel to a funeral. I agree with your assessment, 2016 has been a trying time for the community. Here’s a fun fact I learned this year, it is inappropriate to wear Red to a Chinese funeral, or even drive a Red car in the procession, but many people wear Red underwear if they are happy that the guest of honor has passed. My year ends November First and I am rushing towards it.

Along those lines, David Bowie passed away this year. I believe you once called “Nothing you begin” your “Velvet Goldmine” moment. Are you a Bowie fan?
I think that’s pretty obvious, though Alex of Culture Shock kind of strangely insisted I was more Bryan Ferry, but, yes, of course.

How did you first learn about him?
How did I? Record swapping between the Colossus like legs of my 2 favorite guitar players Dwight Weeks of The Bamboo Kids and Johnny X of being Johnny X. I suppose this was back before we gained our super powers and secret identities. The formative years.

What did his music mean to you?
Aspiration, absolute aspiration. Oh, I can also name drop some more if you like.

I believe you are against voting as a principle. What lead you to develop this stance?
That is a very pertentent question this month and indeed was brought to my mind just yesterday by an article in your very own PUNK!news.org about the Bad Brains being nominated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which was followed by a link to vote. I clicked on it, but not liking to fill out forms I paused to think about the whole homophobia thing. Inferno toured with HR a couple years ago and caught some flack for it. I have never quite been able to justify why I was ok with doing that. I would like the Bad Brains to be in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I would. Not enough to give my email address to Rolling Stone but my feeling of unease about this very long time question in our very tiny community led me to ask around.

The first response I got was “There are bigger fish to fry other than how a clearly troubled man feels about what other people do with their genitals.” The second was: “Rasta’s don’t like poofs. Duh.” The third was the most articulate: “Historically, their importance trumps HR being mentally ill." Bluntly put. "The vast depth of their influence must be acknowledged. Chuck Berry is in The Hall and he’s a sketchy fucking dude. Vote them in.” I didn’t vote, but I will November 8, if just so Germans can’t make fun of me next time I’m there. Color me hypocritical.

I think most people will agree the current election is a shit show. Does that fact that we have the candidates that we have reveal anything about us as people?
There is only one thing which can save us. Giant pumpkins with spider legs… And I believe in them.

Are humans inherently good, inherently bad, or just a collection of primal, chemical urges?
Yes. No. Yes.

John Hinckley was let out of the slammer this year. Those that do a little online research might know that Hinckley is a figure that has factored in your life. Did the relese have any significance for you?
Oh, I took him to dinner about a month ago at Mintwood Place in DC when he got out but we really don’t have that much common anymore. Prison changes a person.

Hallowmas is just around the corner. What will this Hallowmas mean to you, specifically, this year?
That we all will be together.

You are an ardent believer in the great pumpkin. How literally do you take this concept? Do you believe in an actual, ancient deity that manifests around gourds, or do you see the great pumpkin as an abstract expression of a universal force, say, similar to the Buddhist concept of “God?”
I am a member of an actual cult that literally worships a sentient gourd. The gourd rewards sincerity and wants the best for us, and you. Would you like to enter the pumpkin patch?

The great pumpkin seems to draw its power from the “sincerity” of followers. Why is sincerity the prime virtue, as opposed, to say, cynicism, absurdity, or disgust?
Cynical people are boring, absurdity is the ocean we live in. But, I’m not disgusted with you. I think you are ok.

What is the best gift that the great Pumpkin has ever bestowed upon you?
Being in this band. I am blessed and dizzy.

When we will get a new World Inferno live album? < />Just hold your cell phone up on halloween.

Well then, what are your plans for future studio records?
We are recording a new album for Alternative Tentacles. We all smile when we are able to say we are on that label. All our 15 year old selves are stage diving off the amps.

You’ve been doing World/Inferno for 20 years, this year. How is the adventure going?
Well 19, but I grin so much that my jaw hurts.