Audience digs ‘Arrogant Worms’

To say “The Arrogant Worms” are an off-the-wall kind of group is a bit of an understatement. Adjectives like zany, wild, even crazy would describe their onstage antics to a T.
But a crowd of almost 400 people fell for their act hook, line and sinker last Wednesday night as the trio performed at the J.A. Mathieu Auditorium as part of the “tour de Fort” concert series.
Comprised of Mike McCormick, Trevor Strong and Chris Patterson, the Worms kept the audience laughing with such tunes as “Carrot Juice is Murder” and “the Last Saskatchewan Pirate,” not to mention their version of our national anthem, “Canada’s Really Big.”
“In general, it’s everyday stuff with a different twist,” said McCormick said as he tried to explain the Worm’s brand of humour.
“Sometimes they come from direct things,” noted Strong, such as the “Mounted Animal Nature Trail,” which the band said actually exists on Manitoulin Island.
The group’s visit to Fort Frances was part of a three-week tour across Northern Ontario. But other than the climate change, Patterson said touring the north has been very easy–and rewarding.
“People here have been very friendly,” he noted. “The community spirit is great because [most of the community] comes out for the show.”
And because of their unique style of music, the reaction an audience has in one town isn’t necessarily going to be the same as another.
McCormick said a song where audience reaction really gets mixed is the sing-a-long portion of “Mounted Animal Nature Trail,” where the audience is supposed to make the sounds of stuffed animals.
The gag? Stuffed animals don’t make any noise. In fact, the only sound effect comes from a wayward crow who happens to be passing through the park.
Often, the Worms said the audience makes animal noises anyway–even after the solemn reminder that the animals are not alive.
“In Red Deer, the audience mooed for everything,” McCormick said. “One audience was really quiet for everything, then they nailed the crow sound as one.”
Audience participation is a big part of the Worm’s act, though sometimes the audience gets a little carried away.
“In North Bay, we were playing in a bar and two big Newfie guys jumped on staged and ‘had their way with me,’” Patterson recalled, noting it took two waitresses and his own efforts to get the guys off stage.
Strong said the Worms try to tailor their shows to the area they’re going to play in, noting some songs they won’t sing in certain towns. But for the most part, the trio doesn’t really worry how well their shows will go over.
“There’s always going to be people who hate you,” McCormick admitted. “It’s a little different every night.”