It's a well-known fact that most band names are essentially gobbledygook, but here at Rocks Off we're doing our best to find meaning in the oddest monikers.
My absolute favorite kind of music is stuff that isn't in any way goth, but sounds like it should be. Especially if it leans towards the country or blues end of the spectrum. Part of it is because I really think the next evolution of goth with be a more stripped down, acoustic thing, but it's more because I listened to Garth Brooks' "The Thunder Rolls" on an endless loop as a child and that kind of brain damage doesn't heal no matter how much you drink.
Fight cell death with cell death. I've always said that.
So let's look at my new best friends, We Are Wombat. Someone get the True Blood people on the phone and call their mothers slatterns until they agree to put "Delzo Spells" in Season 6.
It's the kind of tune you just know someone will eventually overdose while listening to, all delta blues guitar lines and talk of falling down the rabbit hole. They say every man can ascend to the arms of the Lord, but I postulate that you can tell the irrevocably damned by the tone of a tune. We Are Wombat is going straight to hell in a blaze of dark glory.
But that name...
We. Are. Wombat... We. Are. Fucking. Wombat. That is one of the most ridiculous names that I have ever come across in the course of this column. Holy McMoly, a wombat is an endangered, fat-bottomed rodent that exists solely to teach kids the letter W. How on Earth am I supposed to make word-love over a band's black majesty when they insist on calling themselves We Are Wombat?
There had to be something deeper behind it than that. I got in touch with keyboardist and singer Ryan Schulze to see if there was something, anything that would help me save face here.
"It all started as a joke," says Schulze, a bit unnecessarily. "I had a rent house three years ago that our friends would all hangout at. One day Zack [Cherry, banjo] came over with a brand-new banjo and Kyle [Clemmons, guitar] said 'Woah....We Are Wombat.'
"And ever since then Wombat has been steady doin' its thang," Schulze continues. "To me We Are Wombat is a blanket for everything, whether everything wants to be blanketed or not. It's under that damn blanket. We are, you are and your mom is Wombat."
By the granny panties of Taylor Swift, I think someone finally inflicted enough pain on my brain to drive Garth out. You don't just walk in and say, "We are wombat." That is not a normal course of action. That's what a crazy person says before they start strangling you for "judging them with your eyes." This story makes me want to randomly start auditioning for bands, walk in and spout a nonsequitur, then just leave and wait to see if they start calling themselves that.
"Hi, here for the audition?"
"They have laid poor Jesse in his grave."
Two months later, "Poor Jesse in His Grave" debuts at Fitz's, and I, the Wandering Name-Nut, move on to inspire another.
No, there had to be more, though I couldn't conceive of what it was and I'm actively hallucinating while I write this, Mr. Tonberry. Let's look at the wombat, and what it symbolizes.
Not much, as it appears no one but Schulze and company have taken the animal as their herald. The most standout fact seems to be the big-butt thing I mentioned. A wombat's ass is like Wu-Tang Clan; Nothin' to fuck with. It's made of tough cartilage so that if, say, a Tasmanian devil tries to follow it into its den they blunt their teeth on the wombat's magnificent J-Lo hindquarters.
If that doesn't work, the wombat with back that ass up under the pursuer's head, and use it to pin their skull to the tunnel ceiling while donkey-kicking it to death.
There's beauty in the stupidest parts of nature, and I asked Schulze how we could be more wombat-like.
"Well wombats poop in cube shape," says Schulze, proving that at least he did his homework. "You could try pooping in cubes, or you could make good vibes and hip-hop. There really isn't enough, of any option, in this world."
What was the name of that song? Something about thunder, wasn't it?
We Are Wombat (n) 1. Goth, but not, but good. 2. Cube-shaped poop. 3. An unbitable ass.
We Are Wombat plays Friday June 14 at Avant Garden with The Manichean, B.E. Godfrey, and Austin Smith.
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