When comedy & music collide

The Arrogant Worms have played alongside the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

After 20 years of performing as a group, the Arrogant Worms are still making new music and are talking about a new album.
After 20 years of performing as a group, the Arrogant Worms are still making new music and are talking about a new album.
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Alumni aren’t the only ones coming home this weekend.

The musical comedy trio, the Arrogant Worms, is returning to Queen’s, where they met more than 20 years ago, to play a Homecoming concert on Saturday.

Comprised of Trevor Strong, ArtSci ’91, Ed ’11, MEd ’13; Mike McCormick, Sci ’85, MSci ’93; and Chris Patterson, ArtSci ’96, the band met while performing in Queen’s Players and moved into radio performance on CFRC.

The name, that many wonder about, was born at Clark Hall Pub.

Strong described the process of choosing the name as fairly random.

“We decided that we needed an adjective and a noun for our name, so we wrote a list of adjectives and we wrote a list of nouns side-by-side,” he said.

“We started crossing them off and we came up with Arrogant Worms.”

Funnily enough, Strong said, the pad of paper used in this process of elimination was found 10 years ago with “Arrogant Worms” crossed off the list.

“I’m really not sure how that ended up being the one,” he said. “We crossed off every word on that pad of paper.” According to Strong, the focus of the group changed not long after they started playing shows.

“We very quickly figured out that we weren’t very good at acting and that we seemed to be better at singing,” he said. “It’s much easier to play a song and have not everyone listening than it is to do a sketch and have people not listening.” Elements of their past in sketch comedy still live on as the stage banter between their songs, most of which they make up on the spot. They also try to keep their performances fresh.

“If we know we’re doing a show where people are there to see us then we tend to shake things up more. Mainly just so that we don’t get bored,” Strong said. “I think the audience can tell if you’ve done it too many times in exactly the same order.” Strong said they love playing in Kingston.

Their other favourite performances include orchestral shows they’ve done with groups like the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

It is, Strong said, a strange meeting of genres.

The Muppets, Weird Al, The Nylons and Tom Lehrer are among Strong’s musical inspirations, and after 20 years of performing, the group is still making new music.

The songwriting process is typically a solo endeavour for the Worms. They come together after songs are finished to edit and practice them, but each band member has a different style.

“It’s just such a ridiculous concept for me to think of all of this talent sitting by me playing these three chord songs I wrote in my bathrobe,” he said. “It really deeply amuses me.” The

Arrogant Worms will be at Grant Hall on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door.

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