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Psychedelic Glen Rock Musician Performs Genre-Defying Tunes

Musician, Singer/Songwriter and "Professional Strange Guy" Will Wood Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Will Wood
Wood is known for his ever-changing fashion and make-up. Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Will Wood
Wood with a less extravagant outfit Photo Credit: Maegan Broccoli

GLEN ROCK, N.J. — If music was a brain, then the songs performed by Will Wood and the Tapeworms would be what would happen if all the synapses lit up at once.

Based out of Glen Rock, Singer/Songwriter Will Wood is the eccentric brains of the eclectic band that's performed around Bergen and Passaic Counties including Hackensack, Garfield, Paramus, Ridgewood, Rutherford and Clifton.

His music defies description. Every song constantly merges genres and the amount of instruments or style of vocals keep up with the composition's morphing evolution.

"I’ve always felt genre was a nonsense sort of concept," Wood said. 

"If you’re aiming for a certain type of genre. You’re pigeonholing yourself."

Wood explained that he's always wanted to create music that pushes the boundaries of what people consider traditional music, but he's quick to ground himself when thinking about that lofty goal.

"A lot of musicians try to do that at the expense of fun," Wood said.

At the end of the day, he tries to make music that's listenable. He has his own goals but doesn't take himself very seriously.

Wood mentioned some avant-garde musicians who try to "freak out" listeners by pushing the definition of music, but he thinks some of them take their craft too far.

"If you’re not having a good time freaked out why would you want to get freaked out?" Wood said.

"There are horror movies and there are videos of people getting hacked to death. I don't want to see that, I want a horror movie."

Wood's music manages to blend the freaky with the cerebral.

His wide vocabulary becomes apparent within five minutes of speaking to him and that breadth of knowledge comes across in the lyrics of his songs, which manage to work in "Mahaprajnaparamita" and an excerpt of the Hebrew bible ("I Am that I Am"). 

Wood's interest in the metaphysical is related to his history of hallucinations and psychedelic drug use. 

At 13, Wood experienced hypnagogic hallucinations, a term used to describe the state of one's consciousness just before going to sleep.

Wood was "freaked out" by the hallucinations and his method of coping with them was to write songs depicting the experience. But once he made his first composition, he was hooked.

"Once I wrote my first and worst song it was too late, I was over a precipice and couldn’t go back," Wood said.

"It was like those kids who could turn their eyelids inside out, it’s gross to everyone else, but they keep doing it."

According to Wood, he lives a life of extremes. He describes himself as constantly "overwhelmed," feeling strongly one way or the other. 

This constant state of flux includes his mental health. According to Wood, he's taken tests that suggest high intellectual capabilities, but has also received mental illness concerns from doctors.

Wood is still figuring out where he lies on the spectrum of sanity.

"There are times I have to decide if I'm crazy or enlightened — If I’m really good at having a brain or so bad at it that I can’t tell," Wood said.

For now, he'll keep making music. 

Will Wood and the Tapeworms released their latest album "Self-Ish" is August 2016. It's available on Bandcamp or Spotify.

The band will perform at Teaneck's Mexicali Live on Feb. 3 for Super Snakes album party. Tickets are available through Mexicali Live's website.

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