By Isa Jones
By Mary Willson
By Brian Turk
By Drew AIles
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By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
Derek van Westrum had already been living with Novick and Brooks when he was asked to join on second guitar. Having seen a show right before Christmas in which the Pinchers gave away pancakes with red and green sprinkles, he realized that this was not a typical band.
After joining the Pinchers' ranks, Westrum didn't just get to see the Butthole Surfers; he and his bandmates got to plays shows with the acid-damaged Austin rockers. With D-Rok in place and Brian Murphy having moved on to a respectable life, the Pinchers soon signed to Boner Records with the help of their friends in Steel Pole Bathtub. Two more records were released — 1989's Deadly Kung Fu Action and 1991's Circusized Peanuts. The former included two of the group's best-known songs, "Where the Hell Is Crispin Glover" and "Morrissey Rides a Cockhorse."
"It wasn't even so much that we hated Morrissey," Wanush explains, "just the devotion of his fans. It was more to piss off his fans than anything else."
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During this same period, the Pinchers' already impressive array of T-shirts for sale was joined by a plethora of band merchandise that included golf tees, skateboard designs, yo-yos, lighters, water bottles and even a watch bearing the words "The Official Time of Satan," all of which capitalized on the band's tongue-in-cheek embrace of the horned one to scandalize those lacking a healthy sense of humor. "It ended up being what people would talk about," says Novick about the merchandise.
After 1991, though, pressures within and without the band contributed to a quandary the Pinchers found themselves grappling with: whether to continue or to just quit while things were going well. Brooks was already working on a side project called Foreskin 500 that went on to tour farther than the Pinchers ever did; van Westrum was poised to go into a Ph.D. program for nuclear physics; and the momentum to write new music to keep the band viable was more of a priority for some bandmembers than others at times.
But instead of letting internal tensions come to a head, the Pinchers played one final show and sold T-shirts that read "I Saw Warlock Pinchers' last show" on the front and "Now I'm going to kill myself" on the back. Then the band more or less went its separate ways.
In 2009, Wanush — until then having denounced being a former Warlock Pincher — hatched the idea of asking Novick if he wanted to join Murder Ranks on stage to do some Pinchers songs as a way of gauging any interest in the material. The show was a resounding success, and events were set in motion to bring the other former members on board for two reunion shows at the venue the band considered home, the same place it left off in 1992: the Gothic Theatre.
"I realized I'm never going to get away from it," concludes Wanush. "I went back to being King Scratchie, and I'm just going to accept that that's part of my history and live with it."