Worm Quartet

Photo by Shoebox's Wife

The Long-Winded History of Worm Quartet

As chronicled in the third person by -=ShoEboX=-
Updated 1/18/2004

Part One - One Boy, Four Worms, No Music (1988-1991)

Worm Quartet was created on a boring hot day in West Virginia by a young upstate NY-born geek whose goal in life was to stop getting his ass repeatedly kicked by seniors in the name of "initiation." It was in a mind-numbingly dull science class taught by a mind-numbingly stupid man that Tim first drew the four worms that would soon become his obsession. He drew them on a small piece of paper, labeled the picture "Here Comes The Worm Quartet," and handed it to his friend Frankie, who with a few deft pencil-strokes transformed the worms into ejaculating penises and returned it to Tim with the caption "Here Comes The Pecker Quartet." Annoyed with the perversion of his inspired creation, Tim retaliated with cartoon after cartoon featuring the four worms (then named Bob, Leon, Rodney, and Celia) in various adventures, singing stupid songs with unbelievably dumb lyrics, and appearing on the covers of albums with names like "Worm Quartet Molests Your Mom" and "Worm Quartet Sings The Songs Of Barry Manilow While Puking And Pissing On Lobsters." Eventually, due to Tim's shoddy memory, Rodney became Elroy. Celia, the only female worm, was eventually replaced with another male worm named Chutney (female worms were obviously out of the question, as Frankie would always without fail draw a dick in her mouth.) Eventually, Tim began passing his Worm Quartet cartoons to people other than Frankie, often annoying the hell out of them. Somewhere along the line Bob grew long hair and something terrible happened to Chutney (involving a jackhammer, a 747, and a giant robotic dog, if I remember correctly,) which mutilated his body and drove him insane.

Left to right: Leon, Elroy, Bob, Chutney

Part Two - One Boy, Four Worms, Shitty Music (1991-1994)

In 1991, Tim moved back north to a little shithole of a town in Massachusetts called Wales. Wales had a Citgo station, a country bar, a video store that went out of business and reopened under different management every month or so, and for some inexplicable reason, a dance studio. After drinking far too much of Wales' semi-irradiated water, Tim got the mind-manglingly stupid idea that since Worm Quartet was a band, they should put out a tape. Since hand-drawn worms do not sing or play instruments well, Tim did this himself. He played his pathetic little Yamaha PSR-6 keyboard and stole background music from whatever the hell he could find, often stringing together a bunch of instrumentals from heavy metal songs in ways that really didn't make sense. After a few days of minimal effort, "Worm Quartet - Pass the Potatoes" was recorded. It contained such songs as "The Laundromat of Sin," "Dancin' on the bone," "People with Haircuts Like Bart Simpson's," "Lick Mommy," and "Exit the Lamp Post." The moment "Pass the Potatoes" was completed was probably the worst moment in the history of music. This tape sounded HORRIBLE. Beyond horrible. Most rational people would rather listen to the Captain and Tenille doing a Wu-Tang Clan tribute album than listen to this tape.

But, Tim was too stupid to give up, and a long stream of equally crappy tapes followed. Tim did all the vocals, attempting to use different voices for each of the four worms, and occasionally stole his ex-girlfriend's keyboard, since it had a sampler. Tim ended up using his pathetic little Yorx stereo to record 10 Worm Quartet tapes, with titles such as "We're Tired Of Taking Your Crap," "Dead Men Sell No Snails" (a title suggested by Paul Neslusan, although I never gave him credit for it,) "Death by Spatula," and "Us: The Self-Titled Album." Now, instead of just drawing his stupid worms during boring classes, Tim found himself writing stupid lyrics during boring classes.

(NOTE: Shoebox now denies the existence of all Worm Quartet tapes recorded before "Urine Sampler." Don't bug him for any. They really suck and you don't want them.)

Some early Worm Quartet tape covers

Somewhere around this time, Tim got a 1200 Baud modem for his Atari 130XE computer and started calling bulletin boards in the 413 area code under the name "Shoebox" (loosely derived from an obscure line from the "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" radio episodes; "He wasn't so much a leopard, more a sort of...well, you know...shoebox. ")  This name later mutated into "ShoEboX" once Tim realized he could make the words "SEX" and "hobo" stand out in his name, then later mutated to "-=ShoEboX=-" when Tim realized that little flags on either side of his name would make him cool.

Part Three - The Three-Man Quartet Years (1994-1995)

Shoebox graduated high school and started college in 1993, and somewhere around this time it hit him that maybe a band should consist of more than one member. To that end, he recruited local weirdo Tony Roche as guitarist and Kevin Morgan as drummer.

People what been in WQ
Shoebox and Kevin pictures taken sometime in late '95.  "Coffee" picture taken in '98 or '99 or something.  

It took time for the two new members to accept Shoebox's vision ("I'm bored, I write crappy songs, let's perform them") but eventually they realized that they had nothing better to do. Shoebox introduced them to bands like the Meatmen and M.O.D., and together they recorded a few lousy things in Tony's garage and Shoebox's bedroom and ended up with an incredibly crappy semi-demo that Shoebox intended to call "No Talent Implied." Some songs from this session got copied from a tape Tony carelessly left at a friend's house and have made their way from copy to copy all around the Southbridge, MA area, so start ringing doorbells in Southbridge if you want to hear them.

Part Four - Two Men And A Sequencer (1995-1997)

Due to circumcisions beyond the band's control, Tony eventually had to be surgically removed from the band (with no hard feelings.) Kevin took over on guitars, a little box with the word "Yamaha" on it took over on drums, and the band continued. They started working on new versions of some old WQ tunes, and Shoebox wrote some new ones. Eventually, they decided it was time to do a tape, so they enlisted the assitance of Mr. Ben Dean, who is the -MASTER- of the Tascam Portastudio 424. He agreed to mix and record this new Worm Quartet's first tape for a couple of drinks and a copy of the February, 1996 issue of Hustler's Barely Legal. He also helped Shoebox out with the copyrighting stuff.

"Urine Sampler," Worm Quartet's first semi-decent-sounding tape, was completed in early 1996. It featured three punkish keyboard-enhanced songs about deceased puppets, the phallic nature of kitchen utensils, and cereal, and the fourth and final track was a twisted ballad about the joys of having a girlfriend who has been killed by a falling piano.

HISTORIAN'S NOTE: Lots of people ask about this...the cover to Urine Sampler (see below) was set up and photographed by Shoebox. No computer editing was done...that is an ACTUAL DOG in ACTUAL SNOW, and the "urine" is actually water mixed with yellow food coloring. Shoebox got a LOT of strange looks from his neighbors when he set this shot up, but they already thought he was an insane child-eating lunatic.

Cover to "Urine Sampler" featuring Boris, an actual dog.

After recording this demo and selling a few dozen copies to friends, family, and people who were too drunk to realize what they were buying, Shoebox went into a writing frenzy, composing song after stupid song for another demo tape he intended to call "Far Beyond Stupid," which Ben agreed to record. But around this time, Ben dropped off the face of the planet (if you're reading this, Ben, E-MAIL ME!!!)

Part Five - Shoebox Sells Out, Gets Married, And Decides Everyone Sucks (1997-2001)

Time went by, Shoebox graduated from college and got a job as a Software Engineer in Syracuse, NY (home of snow, rain, and boredom.) Many people would call this selling out, but then again, many people watch "The View" for some reason, so it's safe to assume that people's opinions are STUPID. Rather than becoming absorbed into the Dilbertesque world of cubicles and water coolers he now inhabited, Shoebox watched this world, laughed at it, and wrote songs about it. Despite this enlightened attitude, however, Shoebox's job took up way too much of his time, and although he still made trips home to work on new music with Kevin, they weren't frequent. Shoebox found a woman who was as twisted as he was and actually liked Gwar, Bad Religion, M.O.D., Stratovarius, All, and Pop Will Eat Itself, and therefore had no choice but to fall in love with and marry her. Around this time, due to about 17 million issues, Kevin became an ex-member, leaving Shoebox once again as the only guy in the band.  After attempting half-heartedly to hook up with other musicians, Shoebox realized that he was far too big of an asshole to ever be able to work well with other people. He adopted the "ALL MUSICIANS SUCK" philosophy and began devising ways to avoid working with them. Despondance gave way to psychotic inspiration and Shoebox once again became a whirlwind of maniacal and egotistic creativity.  He had been playing with tracking programs for several years, but finally got a halfway decent one (which was free) and a digital studio program (which was in the bargain bin for $19.99.)  Using these, in addition to a few keyboards and effects pedals and his own stupid voice, Shoebox began recording what would be the first full-length Worm Quartet CD, "Sumophobia."

Cover to "Sumophobia" with art by Robbie Allen a.k.a. Yamcha Hibiki

"Sumophobia" was released in May of 2000 through mp3.com.  It contained such songs as the angry geek anthem "I Don't Give A Sh*t About Your Website" (which climbed pretty high on mp3.com's "General Comedy" charts on several occasions,) the cubicle-life-inspired "Coffee," the bizarre one-man barbershop quartet piece "I Bit William Shatner" (which received the inexplicably cool honor of being played Dr. Demento a handful of times, even making it to the Funny Top Five one week,) the toilet techno masterpiece "Hair On The Soap," and the bizarre employment-hunting song "I Can't Get A Job."   A few radio stations (such as the wonderful indie Syracuse station WXXE-FM and Syracuse University's *TRUE* college station, WERW-FM,) did actually lower their standards enough to allow WQ on their airwaves.

Part Five - Shoebox Moves To Rochester, Gets On Stage, And Releases Another CD (2001-Now)

Shoebox kept working on recording and writing new stuff and figuring out new mixing techniques while working full-time, helping to put his wife through college, and juggling flaming poodles while whistling the star-spangled banner.  In mid-2001, he moved his 300-lb. mass to Rochester,NY, causing a minor shift in the earth's center of gravity which will ultimately save us from plunging into a huge asteroid shaped like Joan Rivers' left ass cheek (you're welcome.)  He got a place with a bitchin' basement that he could make noise in, practiced a bit, and finally played his first live show at the OPL in Syracuse, NY in late 2001 as part of "TorpedoFest," armed with only a CD of his music and a "Fear The Mullet" shirt.

Shoebox making an evil gesture of some sort at the OPL in Syracuse, NY
Worm Quartet Live at the OPL - August 18, 2001

The next Worm Quartet CD, "Stupid Video Game Music" (featuring art by his lovely wife, Mrs. Shoebox,) was released on December 19, 2001.  It was released as a full-on silver pressed CD and was a joint release on Rydas Records (a very independent label featuring mostly rap) and Shoebox's very own itty bitty record label, Flaming Mayo Records. It featured such mostly-ignored classics as Worm Quartet's best-known song to date; the anti-drummer anthem "Frank's Not In The Band Anymore," the paranoid perverse prayer "Dear God," and several versions of "Mommy's Broken."

Stupid Video Game Music
Worm Quartet - Stupid Video Game Music

 This was the album that saw Shoebox finally getting off his fat ass and playing shows, sending CDs to radio stations, and all the other various things he should've been doing before. "Frank's Not In The Band Anymore" became the second most requested song of the year in 2002 on the Dr. Demento show, which Shoebox has described as "the best and most nippliest moment of my life, although marrying my wife was pretty bitchin' too." Shoebox played a whole buttload of shows, mostly in the Syracuse and Ithaca, NY areas but venturing as far as Indiana (with such bands as Dufus, The Flashing Astonishers, Coffee Inc., The Pietasters, Voodoo Glow Skulls, River City Rebels, The Great Luke Ski, Tony Goldmark, Sudden Death, I Farm, The Sutras, Crappy the Clown, Plan 607, Shock Nagasaki, El Boxeo, Fat Day, The Plankboys, and a bunch of other friggin' people) and received the diarrhea-inducing honor of performing two years in a row at the Wilmington Exchange Festival (also known as "WEFest,") in Wilmington, NC, where he shared a stage before an audience of incredibly energetic and open-minded people with an incredibly diverse bunch of indie rock geniuses, geeks, and weirdos (he hopes with every molecule in his butt that he can return in 2004!)

Worm Quartet at WEFest 2003
Worm Quartet at WEFest 2003

  Anxious to follow up Stupid Video Game Music's minor success immediately, Shoebox nonetheless took over two years to complete his next CD, the superior-in-every-way "Faster Than A Speeding Mullet," which was finally released, after months of delays, in January of 2004. New production techniques, new software, new equipment, a strangely personal style of storytelling, and Shoebox's ever-present urge to make his audience cock their heads to the side, narrow their eyes in concern, and say to each other "what the hell is this crap?" fuel this hyperspeed exploration of weirdness.

Faster Than A Speeding Mullet - buy it now, weenbag!
Worm Quartet - Faster Than A Speeding Mullet

 "This will be the album that finally catapults me into superstardom," says Shoebox of this album. "Or you'll all pay," he adds, crushing the head of a Cabbage Patch Kid in his hand. It's off to a rousing start...the ex-girlfriend revenge tune "Great Idea For A Song" started off the year at the #2 spot on Dr. Demento's Funny Five!

Worm Quartet plans on playing a whole elkload of shows any place where such things have any chance of being appreciated, and sending his CD to any college/indie radio station in the flippin' world that has a working CD player. Anything else that's gonna happen hasn't happened yet, and therefore isn't history, and thus shouldn't be discussed here.

The Illegitimate Son Of Mr. Whipple


© 2000-2004 Shoebox