Return of the Worms

Looks like The Arrogant Worms are happily wriggling their way back to the Yukon after a seven-year hiatus.

In 2005 they performed at Nakai’s Comedy Festival to a theatre packed with appreciative connoisseurs of satire and wit.

Their new “best of” album called Hindsight 20/20 is being promoted with a Canada-wide tour, hence their show at the Yukon Arts Centre on Friday, March 16.

Their self-proclaimed arrogance and worminess has less to do with an obvious talent as musicians/satirists, and more to do with the oxymoron of their catchy name. Which, by the way, was coined over beers at their local pub while playing around with random nouns and adjectives.

Any way you slice it, fans across the country find this troupe hilarious. One reviewer actually recommends wearing Depends to their concerts!

I’m pretty sure if Monty Python’s Eric Idle got the Bare Naked Ladies knocked up with triplets this would explain The Arrogant Worms.

This comedy trio got together 20 some odd years ago in Kingston, Ontario as Queens University students doing a late-night campus radio show. Their on-air antics found a growing audience.

Group members Mike McCormick, Chris Patterson and Trevor Strong were egged on to write ever crazier songs and perform them—a dubious activity which eventually became a full detour away from academia and onto the national stage as touring performers.

They satisfy a need to poke fun at the foibles and contradictions of our world and what it means to be a Canadian—not as burdensome proselytizers, but with the light hand of humour and wit on a foundation of well-played music and tight harmonies.

Arrogant Worms Chris Patterson, Mike McCormick, Chris Patterson and Trevor Strong, from Hamilton, Ontario, will perform at the Yukon Arts Centre on March 16 PHOTO: courtesy of The Arrogant Worms

Their musical arrangements are in themselves parodies of different styles matched up with the lyrics—not an easy task by any stretch.

During their career, The Arrogant Worms recorded 12 albums with sales of more than 150,000 copies along with countless performances across the country both on stage and radio. They justifiably boast about having been on every CBC radio show from here to next Sunday.

Some of their songs likely to be foisted upon an unsuspecting crowd are: “The Last Saskatchewan Pirate”, “I Am Cow”, “Me Like Hockey”, “Jesus’Brother Bob”, and one of my favourites, “Pressure Washer”.

I can really identify with this song about equipment one-upmanship, especially since I actually did buy one of those heavy-duty gas-powered washers last summer with multiple nozzles, etc., which of course beats the heck out of my neighbour’s pathetic little electric model that barely spurts water. The best man toy ever!

Lyrics from “Pressure Washer”:

I got a pressure washer,

I got a pressure washer,

Sure, I may be squirting water,

But in my head

I’m a Sergeant with a flame thrower

Spewing out death.

I’ve got two thousand psi

of awesome killing force!

Another favourite is the reversal of some arguments promoting vegetarianism. This parody suggests that people who eat things grown in the garden are cold-hearted killers insensitive to the feelings of vegetables.

Lyrics from “Carrot Juice Is Murder”:

Listen up brothers and sisters, come hear my desperate tale

I speak of our friends of nature, trapped in the dirt like a jail

Vegetables live in oppression, served on our tables each night

The killing of veggies is madness, I say we take up the fight

Salads are only for murderers, coleslaw’s a fascist regime

Don’t think that they don’t have feelings, just ’cause a radish can’t scream

When I asked band member Trevor Strong if the Worms are looking forward to their return to Whitehorse, he said, “Absolutely.”

“We don’t get a chance to get that far north, and I’m hoping it’ll be a few degrees warmer so I can have a better look around.”

His wish for warmer weather stems from a pretty frigid experience in 2005.

“Well, I remember there it was -45 and that the plane almost didn’t land because it was too cold. And when we did land there was a thing called ‘ice fog’ (which sounds like a 70s metal band, but was more like a low-budget horror movie) and that people were lighting fires under their cars to start them.

“Despite this, all sorts of people still made it out to the show.”

I also wondered if there were plans for The Arrogant Worms to visit other Yukon communities besides Whitehorse.

“Hey, we’ll go wherever we’re wanted!” he replied.

“This tour was a little packed already, but there’s always a tomorrow.”

Do you think there’s good fodder for satirical treatment of some Yukon sacred cows, such as dog mushing, or gold mining, or about men who are men and the sheep who always seem nervous, I asked.

“Absolutely, but I’m a little leery of having angry gold mining dog-sheep coming after me if they don’t appreciate the humour.”

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