Why Play Around?

Wargasm - Why Play Around? ©1988 Profile Records
1. Wasteland
2. Revenge
3. Bullets & Blades
4. Undead
5. Merritt's Girlfriend
6. Sudden Death
7. Wargasm
8. Le Cou Cou
9. Humanoid

This may be a little known fact, but Wargasm is indirectly responsible for how this site got its name. I first heard of Wargasm in 1989 when I read a great interview with them in some long-forgotten metal magazine. The band seemed as though they had a great sense of humor, particularly in their demos. One of them was titled "Satan Stole My Lunch Money" and the other "Rainbows, Kittens, Flowers and Puppies", which very well may be the coolest demo title ever for a thrash metal band. Somewhere along the line, I wrote my own "song" called "Satan Stole My Teddybear". Years later, the phrase popped into my mind when I was trying to think of a title for my new website. So you essentially can call up any member of Wargasm and blame them for this site.

As far as second tier thrash bands go - and there were a lot of them in the late 80s - Wargasm was quite enjoyable. Why Play Around?, their debut on the apparently horrible Rock Hotel Records, was one of those albums that you picked up based on a fun interview and played every so often for kicks. The trio specialized in riffology and were able to throw a few good ones at you over the course of their nine song debut. Vocalist/bassist Bob Mayo had a voice that sounded as though he was clenching his teeth and not entirely thrilled to be the frontman, but it worked. Guitarist Rich Spillberg was the main focal point, as his riffs were entirely what the band worked around. If I remember right, his drummer brother, Barry, actually wrote them all, but on this CD, it is Rich's work that stands out. "Revenge" is probably their best tune, with a somewhat repetitive, but catchy main riff grabbing one's attention.

On a whole, Why Play Around? is meant mostly for thrash denizens who simply can't get enough of the style. There's a certain amount of nostalgic appeal that forces me to hang onto this album. It's not the kind of thing you put on a lot or would even want to, but it does stand up well against many of the lesser bands of their era.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2003

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