The World/Inferno Friendship Society is a Brooklyn-based cult/gang/circus/punk band. It started in the mid-1990s in New Brunswick, New Jersey as a "surrealist prankster organization" semi-led by Scott Hollingsworth and Pete Ventantonio (aka Jack Terricloth) of the punk band Sticks & Stones. Eventually the pair started writing songs and by 1997 they'd roped in enough musicians to record and release The True Story of the Bridgewater Astral League, a bizarre concept album about a group of New Jersey kids who steal cars through astral projection. Since then the band has released five albums with songs about Dante Alighieri, Philip K. Dick, Paul Robeson, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, shoplifting, outrunning angry mobs, stage diving, a temporary autonomous zone, and the Weimar Republic. Also, a musical about Peter Lorre.
The band is known almost as much for their live performance antics as their music, and on at least one occasion were accused of starting a riot in Coney Island. Every year they put on a Halloween show, Hallowmas, which is full of bizarre surprises and always ends with the band and audience attempting to summon the Great Pumpkin. He always comes. Yes, really.
Although not well-known, World/Inferno has managed to attract a group of dedicated fans known as "Infernites" who jokingly refer to themselves as a cult. Whether this is true or not is up to the authorities to decide.
Provides examples of:
- Audience Participation Song - all of the songs become this at concerts
- Awesome Mc Coolname - Lucky Strano, former guitarist
- Badass Boast - "We can fly!"
- "I shot President Ronald Reagan, AND I'M GONNA DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!"note
- Concept Album - The True Story of the Bridgewater Astral League, Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century, and This Packed Funeral.
- Don't Try This at Home - Averted in one entry of the "What Would Jack Do?" column. Somebody wrote in saying that they taught themself how to breathe fire, had recently set the ceiling of a venue on fire doing so, and were carried off screaming "I learned it from watching Jack Terricloth!" Jack replied that he "couldn't be prouder."
- The Eleven O'Clock Number
- "Tarot Americaine" in The True Story of the Bridgewater Astral League
- "Addicted to Bad Ideas" in Addicted to Bad Ideas
- Joisey - the Bridgewater Astral League album takes place in Bridgewater, NJ (Jack's hometown); it's also mentioned in "My Ancestral Homeland, New Jersey"
- Literary Allusion Title The Anarchy and the Ecstasy is taken from a William Butler Yeats poem. Or a biography of Vincent van Gogh.
- Mega Neko - the mysterious Giant Talking Cat
- Mind Screw - the band's History page includes somebody blacking out for a year, a Giant Talking Cat enhancing/ruining several people's lives, ghosts appearing at the first Halloween show, and the band burning down somebody's house.
- Motor Mouth - Jack in some of the songs, to the point where the lyrics become nigh-indecipherable
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly - their style has been variously described as circus punk, dark cabaret, klezmer, jazz, soul, ska, and general insanity
- Noodle Incident - Cha-Cha'snote
- Persona Non Grata - Cha-Cha's bar in Coney Island. Supposedly they even call other venues the band is playing to warn the owners.
- Promoted Fanboy - Matthew Landis, current pianist.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning Intentionally evoked, especially with the red contacts Terricloth sometimes wears to shows
- Revolving Door Band - Over three dozen people have been members at some point over the years
- Sharp-Dressed Man - Everyone, but especially Jack. Apparently they've used their appearance to get out of trouble more than once.
- Shout-Out Many, both in the songs and out.
- The History page (above) contains several references to The Master and Margarita, especially the giant talking cat and the Devils Ball. The cat also takes on aspects of The Cat in the Hat.
- "The Models and the Mannequins" is taken from the final scene of The Threepenny Opera.
- "Ich Erinnere Mich an die Weimarer Republik" references Pirate Jenny, Sally Bowles, and Triumph of the Will.
- The leader of the Bridgewater Astral League is named Jon Gilch, who was an early member of the band and the drummer for Sticks & Stones. The cover of the album is a reworked version of art from a Flip Wilson comedy album, and Jon Gilchs astral guide is named Nosliw Pilf.
- The tarot cards named in "Tarot Americaine" come from a passage in Steve Ericksons Amnesiascope.
- Addicted to Bad Ideas is loaded with direct quotes from Peter Lorres films and the biography The Lost One: The Life of Peter Lorre.
- "All of California and Everyone Who Lives There Stinks", "Secret Service Freedom Fighting USA", "Your Younger Man", "Me vs. Angry Mob", "Me & The Mad Monkettes", and "Jake and Eggers" are all based on events from Jacks life.
- "Me & The Mad Monkettes" also has a few to different people including Rod Serling and Edward R. Murrow.
- Single Stanza Song - "Please My Favorite Don't Be Sad"
- Stage Names - Jack Terricloth (formerly Pete Ventantonio); he claims to have initially tried to get people to call him "Jack Velvet", and they called him Terricloth instead to piss him off.
- Take That! "All the World is a Stage (Dive)", to then-departing band member Scott Hollingsworth, and "Sick of People Being Sick of my Shit" to the people who departed before The Anarchy and the Ecstasy was finished. Also, possibly Franz Nicolay's "World/Inferno vs. The End of the Evening" for a Take That! to them
- Tarot Motifs - "Tarot Americaine"