It's the time of year when the thoughts of all twisted, rock-inclined boys and girls turn to Evil Wiener. The area's pre-eminent holiday rockers, Evil Wiener is as integral to Triangle occasions (such as Independence Day, Halloween and Christmas) as malfeasance is to unchecked power. Led by singer/guitarist Billy Sugarfix, Evil Wiener shows are an area Halloween institution whose full-on productions are as well-considered and disturbing as the fear induced by the idea of four more years of Dubya.
This year's Hallo-Wiener show is hosted by Nightlight, and begins early.
"We get in there by 6 o'clock and start decorating," says the irrepressible Sugarfix. "Groves (Willer, the bass player) is a DJ, so he plays all Halloween-themed music, starting at 6 until the opening band Bringerer plays. Then in the meantime, I have a collection of film strips--including a bunch of Halloween ones--and I usually show some of those. It's a big production."
Formed during "not the most recent turn of the century, but the one before that," according to Sugarfix, the spooky rock trio began as a support group for drummers.
"I had been kicked out of a band as the drummer, so had Chuck Garrison," recalls Sugarfix. "Groves' band had just broken up. The idea was originally that we were going to rotate and take turns playing the different instruments. But it just so happened that I took to the guitar, Groves took to the bass, and Chuck really didn't mind staying on the drums."
The show commemorates the release of Evil Wiener's third album, Halloween Record, a nakedly ambitious attempt to become to this day of pagan worship what SCOTS are to banana pudding. But more than a simple 6-song EP (is anything simple with Wiener?), the new album also features the Evil Wiener audio book, "The Case of the Haunted Recording Studio," as an additional track, which reprises the EP's six songs within the narrative of the story.
"It was Groves' idea. He wanted to add sound effects [to the record] and I was kinda pushing him in that direction. So he's like, 'Well, it would be easier for me to fit sound effects if there were a story.' So we did that. I pretty much wrote the story--skeletal little bits like 'talk about this,' and then whoever happened to be reading would kind of elaborate when they did their lines," Sugarfix explains. "It's like an old time radio show."
The album--which was recorded with Jesse Olley at Ultra Fin Riz--marks the group's third release keyed to the holiday, and Sugarfix suggests it's their best to date.
"I think this is the most legit Evil Wiener record yet. I mean it really reflects what we're like live and what we are like as people," he says. "We've got our share of nice pop songs and that's what's gotten the most attention for it, but in reality we are Evil Wiener--a very playful, dark band."
Sugarfix offers further encouragement for fans to pick up the album--if they manage to recoup the costs from putting out Halloween Record, he is intending to turn right around and re-release the band's out-of-print Christmas album.