9 Questions with Webb Chapel

Strangemonorecords · Webb Chapel – 9 Questions Interview

“Every man has inside himself a parasitic being who is acting not at all to his advantage.” -William S. Burroughs

I think about this Burroughs quote a lot. I always miss-remember or simplify it to “There’s a little man in all of us, trying to kill us”. Neurosis or self-doubt for sure, addiction of course. But I think this instinct is present at birth. I think that we are all driven to destroy ourselves in some way, its just how that drive manifests that’s important. Some people are able to harness that motivation and channel it into positivity, while others remain under its thumb. The homonyms raised and razed are especially interesting to me. They reflect in no uncertain terms the duality of human society. Are we meant to be building or destroying?

I invited Zack (Webb Chapel) over to eat some noodles and sit down in my basement to talk like minded people, enjoying the process, being shoe-horned, and being purposely evasive. Zack is one of the most emotionally articulate people that I have met in a long time. I think that fact is pretty apparent in his music, maybe not at first, but once you dive underneath the surface level; and listen with intent, the music becomes a portrait of inner reconciliation. Understated at times for sure, sometimes the message may be obscured , or it may take a few listens to grasp, but well worth the effort. Zack’s music is a puzzle for the ears. Earnest melodies and an intimate, sometimes uneasy, feeling. It’s my opinion that Webb Chapel is a whole-hearted endeavor that is so worthy and deserving of your time. 

Following the dissolution of Austin-based experimental band Beth Israel, Claxton began drawing in the margins, putting down sketches of ideas and song fragments that would eventually become the basis for Webb Chapel’s first two releases, Moverama and Like the Country. “I like the idea of dismantling songs as you’re listening to them. Sort of taking them apart and putting them back together.” When the lens focuses, however, you get a sense that this record comes from an altogether intentional, yet eerily chaotic time and place. As Claxton explains, “I’m kind of never in the same place for very long.” Dalmatians is a testament to the beauty in uncertainty. 

Webb Chapel‘s Dalmatians is available 9/16/22 on Strange Mono.

All proceeds from this album are being donated to Prevention Point to aid their mission of Harm Reduction and community support in the Philadelphia area.

Hana Sands – Webb Chapel || Video By Vince Alvare

Worshiper 9 Questions

“How do we know this is everything, just because we can’t think of anything else?” –RA Lafferty

The concept of a Brain-Weave was explained to me as “the collected unconscious of a group of people, in variable states of sensory arousal, connecting and in that connection a new reality blossoms”. A psychiatrist might call this “Folie à deux” or “mass hysteria”. 

While I agree that in some instances the negative connotations of this diagnosis is warranted, I differ in interpreting the Brain-Weave as wholly negative. Are not the members of any given punk band intertwined in a Brain-Weave of sorts? Does their passion for the subject of their songs, and the visceral sensory experience of blaring drums and amplifiers not produce the arousal needed? Does the hypnotic act of rehearsing and performing as a collective not hint at the subconscious connection? 

To the Brain-Weave there is no difference between the sporadic improvised movements of a Jazz ensemble and the rigidly rehearsed pop of any top 40 artist. The connection exists in a state uncontrolled by us. Sure we can feed it and try to mold the circumstances to be advantageous for producing the weave but In the end it’s not ours to choose. We can no more choose to participate in the weave than we can choose to participate in the beating of our hearts. 

When I lost my friend Mike last year I could tangibly see the effects of his absence in my life. I could see the box with his ashes, I could read all the nice things everyone had to say about him. I could commiserate with buds about him never playing his guitar again or fixing that amplifier or microphone. But I couldn’t feel that he was gone. I could not feel that he was no longer a part of my life. Mike and I had a complicated relationship but I know our friendship is alive because unlike an animal the Brain-Weave can never die.

During the mid 2000’s Worshiper was quickly gaining a reputation as one of Philly’s loudest bands in the underground scene. Worshiper, made up of lifelong friends Mike Parry, Curt Howard, and Benji Davis, had a tumultuous few years; self-releasing their debut To Binge And Purge In LA and embarking on their first and only tour with Boston’s Bad History Month. Though they had a rowdy and devoted cult following, their first release never quite received the accolades it deserved. That being said, they carved out their place in Philly history with their intense live performances and heavy raw sound. They disbanded soon after in part due to songwriter and frontman Mike Parry’s battle with opioid addiction. On June 16th 2021, after years of progress, Mike relapsed and sadly lost his life. The impact of his death permeated the music scene leaving many friends and fans stunned. 

Strange Mono has been working with Curt and Benji to try and breathe a second wind into the criminally underrated album that Worshiper produced in 2010. We are announcing a reissue of this tape and are donating 100% of the proceeds to benefit Prevention Point in their mission of harm reduction in the city of Philadelphia. 

Recorded at Philly’s legendary Sex Dungeon Studios in one afternoon, Worshiper is sludgy post-hardcore at its pinnacle. This fully remastered cassette reissue features a previously unreleased song and includes the original recordings as well. We hope that this release can raise awareness about one of Philly’s best bands and help

Check out this full interview with Worshiper. We talk about the past, Faux Fetus Collective, dumb cops, trauma responses, pigs blood, and top 5 metal bands.