If you’re an American, you might not have heard of The Arrogant Worms (unless you’re a cool American, like me), but this Canadian band has been making music fun for the last twenty-five years. Their music is catchy, their lyrics outrageously funny. Think of them as a cross between Weird Al (minus the parody songs) and They Might Be Giants; they’re in excellent company. The Worms consist of Trevor Strong, Mike McCormick, and Chris Patterson. The genres they poke fun at are all over the place, including pop, boy bands, power ballads, waltz’, country and most importantly, Celine Dion.
I discovered the Worms with the help of the Dr. Demento Show when he played their song Kill the Dog Next Door. Needing to hear more from this group, I found some of their crazy songs like Log In To You, The Coffee Song, A Man Has Needs, The Mountie Song, and I Am Cow. It didn’t take long before I was hooked on the Worms (yes, yes, I know; fishing references– I’m making them!). If you like Weird Al, if you like TMBG, if you like Mojo Nixon, or if you simply like great music, the Worms deliver in spades.
I was lucky enough to sit down with Trevor Strong and get the dirt on the Worms.
1. You guys have been together a long time. How did the Worms find each other and create a band that some have called a “Canadian National Treasure”, and others have called “Three Loons with Great Tunes”?
We met while attending Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario. We were all part of a group called the Queen’s Players that put on drunken musical reviews in the engineering pub. I knew a guy who had the midnight to 2am slot on the campus radio stations and told me that if we wanted to record something that he’d play it on his show. So a bunch of us started recording stuff and slowly the people who showed up ended up being the bunch that would become the Arrogant Worms.
2. Log In To You is probably the greatest Geek love anthem of all Geek love anthems. Which one of you has the strongest Geek creds?
I would give Mike the strongest geek cred. He follows Doctor Who, goes to the occasional comic-con, and keeps somewhat up to date in the nerd world. When I was younger, however, I had mighty geek cred. I collected comic books, played almost every role-playing game of the era, and even started a role-playing game club at my very non-geek high school. I was also a mall mascot (Eddie the Bear) at the time, which should give me extra points. Ironically, Chris, who wrote the song, has pretty much no Geek cred at all—he was actually popular in high school.
3. Your musical catalogue is an eclectic potpourri of genres, from country to folk to power ballads to pop and more. What are your musical influences?
We all have different influences but, as the least musical member of the group, I’ll admit that my biggest influences were Monty Python, the Muppet Show, and Tom Lehrer. The first record I ever bought was the disco version of the Star Wars theme, which I think speaks volumes of my inherent, and irreparable, lack of taste.
4. In addition to writing music, you’ve also written and published several books, including the brilliant Very Grimm Fairy Tales. How does your process differ when writing fiction vs lyrics?
Well, there’s less rhyming. I also found that after years of writing very short songs that it was really hard for me to expand things, which is why I think the stories in my Fairy Tale book are so short. I did manage to eventually write a novel, Edgar Gets Going, but it was SO MUCH WORK! And it only ended up being 200 pages.
5. Short of kidnapping (and that’s not off the table), what do I have to do to get the Worms to tour Atlanta, GA?
Getting us to tour is surprisingly easy. All we need is money! So if you know any rich folks willing to shell out some cash please let us know! (A teleportation machine would also work, but I’d need to be sure it was safe. I don’t want to be swapping DNA with a fly.)
6. If you could perform a duet with any other artist, who would you choose?
I would choose Cookie Monster.
7. Me like hockey. You like Doctor Who?
When I was younger we got the PBS station from somewhere in upstate New York and we watched Doctor Who every time it was on. We even subscribed to the magazine. I’ve only seen a couple of episodes since the reboot and I couldn’t quite get into it the same way—I think they have too much of a budget now, I liked it when they made monsters from whatever happened to be in the broom closet.
8. Any chance there’s a Worms movie in the future?
That would be great! Although I’d only watch it if we were played by real actors like Cookie Monster.
9. Is Idiot Road based on a real location? Because it seems like it should be Georgia’s national anthem.
One thing I have learned that although it feels like all the idiots in the world have decided to surround you and make your life hell, the even sadder truth is that there are simply oodles of idiots everywhere. They cannot be escaped and most of them drive. So although the song was written about the idiots I encounter while driving around my area it is, depressingly, universal.
10. I’m all out of questions; plug away!
The Arrogant Worms have a somewhat new album out called, The First Farewell Album! Also, we put out a song a month with the help of our Patrons, so anyone who wants to do a good deed should Patronize us. Every dollar we get goes into saving the world through musical comedy.