Formed in Kingston in 1991, The Arrogant Worms have toured across Canada, the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia, but have yet to visit their neighbours in Napanee-until Saturday.
The well-known singing comedy troupe, who makes their living performing spoof songs that take a unique look at the Canadian lifestyle, will take the stage at Napanee’s Doghouse Studios, starting at 7 p.m., performing their ‘Christmas-ish Show’.
“We had a Christmas album that we put many year ago,” explains Trevor Strong, who will be joined on stage by Mike McCormick and Chris Patterson. “In fact we put it out during a postal strike, so that feels kind of familiar.”
Strong recalls the memory of having to drive around Toronto, hand delivering the album to fans who were unable to receive it by mail.
“They’re not the kind of traditional Christmas songs,” said Strong. “It’s kind of the other side of Christmas. One of us might wear a Santa hat, or maybe a bad sweater, but we’re not guaranteeing that.”
One need only flip through the song list of Christmas Turkey and see titles such as ‘Santa Got Arrested’, ‘Dad Threw Up On Christmas’ or ‘Christmas Turkey Blues’ to see this won’t be a typical Christmas show. It’s that unique sense of humour that has kept the band going for 27 years while selling over 160,000 copies of their 13 albums.
“I don’t think we meant to be broad appeal,” said Strong, who noted the band actually started as a comedy group that performed skits and mixed in the odd song here and there. “But our songs are broad enough that we do get kids up to parents. A lot of times we’ll get three generations of a family to come and see us.”
Strong says Saturday’s show will feature about 25 per cent Christmas songs, the rest songs from their other albums. And though every one of their songs is just one big joke set to music, Strong says they seem to endure the test of time more so than any stand up routine could.
“That’s the great thing about music, it just gives it that extra zing,” he said. “You can make a joke but you can also make it catchy. When we started out we would play the song, people would come see us and then the next show we thought we had to do a stand up with new material if we were going to play the same audience because people would get tired of the jokes. Then we found out people wanted to hear the songs again. We thought this is awesome, we can use the song again and people actually want to hear it.”
Strong says they also made a conscious effort to focus on a very general topic, not a specific event when writing a song so that it wouldn’t get dated. He attributed that to being ‘too lazy’ to have to keep writing new songs.
Now well into their 27th year of making music, they’re still going strong, releasing about one song per month on their website www.ArrogantWorms.com.
Strong says they’ve always had ‘just enough’ demand to keep going and calls it a blessing in disguise that they were never signed to a major record label or had a breakout year. Instead they’ve turned to avenues such as a KickStarter campaign to fund their 2016 release The First Farewell Album.
“We were fortunate in that we were never at a point where somebody wanted to sign us or do something with us,” said Strong. “That comes with a whole load of machinery that you have to support. That just means you have to work more and more and then when the wheels do fall off, they fall off for good.”
Instead, three arrogant worms from Canada have found a way to stand the test of time in a very difficult music scene.
Tickets for Saturday’s show are $30 and can be purchased at https://www.ticketscene.ca/events/21661/.