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NIGHT LIFE THE CLUB SCENE

Warheads : Members of World Entertainment War say they are not the Grateful Dead of the '90s.

July 11, 1991|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Imagine you're the chauffeur of one of those long stretch limousines, and behind you and beside you are all the back-seat drivers that will fit.

If "Stairway to Heaven" or any song by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap comes on the radio for more than three seconds, you consider crashing. But this is worse than even that, because the cacophony of noise is about to make your head blow up and spoil the interior of this nice car. And they are giving you so much "advice" that you would rather be anywhere but here--even being unemployed, alone on a desert island or being a pedestrian in California would be an improvement.

World Entertainment War, a band out of Santa Cruz, is nearly as preachy, except they don't want you to turn left, slow down or watch out for that cop. This band wants you to wise up, pure and simple--to stop what you're doing and just be yourself.

The band, which will headline a Peace Sunday concert at the Ventura Theatre, is fronted by Rob Brezsny, a guy who knows a lot of adjectives. He is author of a nationally syndicated alternative astrology column. The band, which features Brezsny and Darby Gould on vocals, plays a version of rocking metal funk and has songs such as "Apathy and Ignorance" and "Mediapocalypse." In a recent interview, they had this to say:

Describe your music.

We try to change that category each month or so. It's sort of twisted metal folk music or psychedelic funk or pop funk; that's about as realistic as it gets. After that, it gets even weirder.

What do you want people to get out of a World Entertainment War show?

You can approach our music on whatever level you want--we provide many levels. You can just stand there and stare or dance or tune in to the lyrics, whatever you prefer. Your imagination is not starved into paralysis--we want people to see their life in different ways. The demographics haven't sorted themselves out yet, but we attract a lot of the "thirtysomething" crowd to all these little kids in black who think we're the next Sonic Youth. Somebody once said we were the Grateful Dead of the '90s. But our fans are Warheads, not Deadheads.

When your band plays, there's all these televisions on stage showing all sorts of weird stuff--why no "Leave It to Beaver"?

Well, we're a pretty low-budget operation. One time we played and you got in free if you brought a television set. Anyway, we show all sorts of videos that sort of overwhelm you with too much entertainment. Maybe sometime we'll show "The Terminator," "Gone With the Wind" and "Leave It to Beaver" all at once. Democracy is a great neurosis, which has shrunk to a parody of itself by the constant onslaught of the media and its power to shape the imagination. Democracy has become the boobtube-ocracy.

How did you make the switch from astrology to rock 'n' roll?

Well, both began about the same time actually. I was a writer first--I wrote a book of poetry. Than I began doing astrology, which takes long hours of meditation--I'm syndicated in 28 papers now. I was in another band called Tao Chemical which didn't make it. World Entertainment War has been around for 3 1/2 years now.

I've got to ask you--what's your sign?

I'm a Cancer.

How did the band get started?

I was trying to decide if my destiny was as a writer or as a musician. So I meditated and went on a vision quest--a drug-free vision quest, I must say--and fasted for three days in the forest. I had a dream of World Entertainment War and I decided that my desire still lay in music and the passion it allowed me to express. I always wanted to have a strong female energy because the locker-room mentality and extremely sexist lyrics of a lot of rock 'n' roll really turns me off. One day I heard this woman--who was literally singing in a garage--who turned out to be Darby Gould. She has the most incredible female voice I'd ever heard. I thought I had discovered her. Anyway, the band has a real conglomeration of influences. I write the lyrics and the melodies come from jam sessions.

What's the best and worst thing about being in a band?

The best thing is that magic moment that happens every six or seven gigs which creates a pulsating, joyous feeling that's entirely better than sex. When it doesn't work, it's pretty painful and sort of awful.

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