By Jeevin Johal
VANCOUVER – We have a sickeningly bloodthirsty fascination with the dark and disturbing world of serial killers. In the comfort and safety of our homes, we pornographically consume countless hours of television shows and documentaries that study the poisoned psyches of the most deranged people to ever slither out of Satan’s sewers. For singer and guitarist Brian Sepanzyk, it was Kevin Gage’s performance as Waingro in Michael Mann’s 1995 film Heat, that not only gave his band a name, but a platform to delve deeper into the mind of a murderer. “It’s fun to explore that shithead’s brain a little bit,” explains Sepanzyk. “You can write about so many things from that dark perspective.”
With a childhood obsession in films, Sepanzyk is a natural storyteller who extracts the darkest parts of Waingro’s personality to place him in settings and situations beyond what we see in Mann’s film. “[Waingro] could have these fucked up stories like about being in Vietnam, or being raised ultra-religious before getting into the LA coke scene,” imagines Sepanzyk. Having been raised Catholic himself, the cult-like nature of organized religion and the idea of being swayed towards the ideals of a single, seemingly powerful individual, is a recurring theme in his writing, and another area of exploration in the Waingro ego. “[Cult leaders] always have that dual quality. They can be empathetic and kind, but their whole objective is to manipulate people,” explains Sepanzyk.
The vivid story telling that shapes the lyrics, is brought to corporeal existence tenfold by equally cinematic instrumentation. The slick riffs that scale Sepanzyk’s guitar exhibit all of the Waingro character’s victories and defeats, while the crunchy basslines and pulsing drums embody his horrific, fluctuating heartbeat during times of both celebration, and sheer terror. On their latest record, Mt. Hood, we hitchhike with the band across multiple landscapes, while Waingro demonically steers the car, with the music cranked, as we cling to our seats hoping not to crash. “If [the songs], were about me they would be about hanging out with Benjie and Nate drinking beer,” confesses Sepanzyk with a devilish smile, “but its fun to put yourself in the shoes of someone else.”
There’s no telling what twisted Odyssey the trio will take us on next, but there remains much to explore in the psychotic Waingro pneuma. As we scarf down every extensive investigation and sensationalized depiction of the most heinous crimes ever committed, Sepanzyk, boisterous and playful in his demeanor, explains that the predators are always “nice to the neighbors, but then burying bodies in the backyard.” With a final swig of his bourbon, that devilish smile returns…trust no one.
Waingro plays at the Cobalt on January 5 with Bat Sabbath and Woe Monger.bat sabbath, Brian Sepanzyk, Cobalt, kevin gage, michael mann, Mt Hood, sludge metal, trio, Waingro, woe monger