Würm is a band that was formed in the mid-1970s in southern California, and then reformed in the early 1980s, combining elements of punk and metal and hard rock. Composed of Edward Danky on guitar, “Loud” Lou Hinzo on drums, Simon Smallwood on vocals, and Chuck Dukowski on bass, Würm put out an LP titled Feast in 1985. Then in 2018, that record was re-issued along with the band’s EP and some demos as a Record Store Day exclusive double album titled Exhumed. It either reignited an interest in the band, or illuminated an interest that had never really gone away. Certainly part of the interest stems from Chuck Dukowski being a member. Folks know him from his work with Black Flag. At any rate, the interest has led to the band reforming and putting out a new single on vinyl. Ed Danky died back in the early 1990s, and is here replaced by Phil Van Duyne on guitar. Simon Smallwood also died, and here is replaced by German Gonzalez on vocals.
“Poison,” interestingly, has a kind of trippy 1960s thing happening at the start. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me; after all, these guys covered The Chambers Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today” back in the early 1980s. This song has an unusual opening line, “I smell your smile in the sky.” Soon this track kicks in to become a strange and cool hard rock song, sort of like early Black Sabbath. And German Gonzalez is shouting, “Look at what you’ve done/You’ve released the poison.” But it is that instrumental section in the middle that really stands out, featuring some exciting work on guitar and bass. Before the song reaches its end, it returns to that psychedelic-sounding opening. The record’s flip side, “Zero Sum,” comes on hard and strong. “Stupid motherfuckers want to hold me down/Stupid motherfuckers want to wear my crown/Stupid motherfuckers gonna get shot down/All you fucking clowns.” Yeah, this one has a lot of appeal to those of us who have been feeling angry these days. And isn’t that everybody? “You say someone’s got to lose/I say no dice.” That great thumping beat drives everything forward, and the way the line “Zero sum, no fun” is sung reminds me a bit of Jim Carroll. It’s a short song, just over two minutes, but seems to do everything it sets out to do in that time.
Record Track List
- Zero Sum
Poison was released through ORG Music on September 26, 2020, as part of the second Record Store Day Drops. By the way, on the back of the record sleeve, it says, “Hello Human. We Are All One.” A nice message, and a good reminder. Below that is printed “The Universe is music,” which feels just exactly right.