Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Dead Schembechlers


Earlier this year, while working on a story for Wired, I came across a punk band known as the Dead Schembechlers. The only band spawned from a college football rivalry-- OSU vs. Michigan-- the quartet claims to have emerged from Columbus' "Wolverine hatecore" scene. All four are named Bo, after the hated Schembechler, but dress like their hero, Woody Hayes. The reason, front man Bo Biafra told me, is to "represent the inner conflict in all of mankind because we all have a bit of good and a bit of evil in us." Performing annually on the weekend of the big game in Columbus, the Schembechlers rally the Buckeye faithful with songs like "I Wipe My Ass With Wolverine Fur" and "Bomb Ann Arbor Now." They claim to have been injured almost every year, in post game riots and on stage, as when Biafra bit off the head of a live wolverine during one show and it bit him back. They have inspired loyalty in Columbus and hatred in Ohio with their rants about "the International Wolverine Conspiracy to enslave mankind." Biafra claims that that the Wolverines have never actually beaten the Buckeyes and that those who believe otherwise were placed under mind control. After Maurice Clarett was arrested this summer, he left me a message stating that the former RB, under mind control, had been sent to assassinate the band.

As the band's rants and rage have increased every year, so has their following. This year, they'll be playing at the Newport Music Hall, where luminaries like Elvis Costello have performed. The show will feature a Woody Hayes look-a-like contest. Check out their site for more details about their show and the International Wolverine Conspiracy.

Some people think the Schembechlers are joking, others take them seriously. But, one thing is for sure, in Columbus, when it comes to the Buckeyes, there is no room for kidding. I love the Schembechlers because, whether intentionally or not (I'll let you be the judge), they hold up a fun house mirror to the rabid excesses of the world of college football fandom.

Recently, I interviewed Biafra for Penthouse (on newsstands now). Unfortunately, the piece is not online accessible, but maybe I'll be able to post a pdf on this blog. Yesterday, I saw an interview that Pat Forde did with Biafra for espn.com. I wanted to jump up and down and shout that they had gotten the idea from, but that's unlikely. Really, I'm just happy to see the band get national pub.

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