Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

New Single From Local Rock Act Terrycloth Mother Speaks to the Coronavirus Crisis

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge RUSTIN MCCANN
  • Rustin McCann
The local post-punk act Terrycloth Mother, a group that features veteran local musicians James Pequignot (bass, vocals), John Panza (drums), Drew Maziasz (guitar) and Tebbs Karney (pedal steel guitar) makes music that evokes “dark and dreamy soundscapes, fashioning lyrical odes to the surrealistic horror of our modern world.”

The band has just released "The Dancing Plague," a new song that speaks to the crisis we're currently in.

“To me this song is about, like many of our songs, the existential horror, and absurdity, of being a working class person in the modern world,” says Pequignot. “This song particularly focuses on substance abuse. I think we have a culture that simultaneously glorifies and condemns substance abuse. At the same time, with many of the people I know working soul crushing jobs that they hate for the privilege of living paycheck to paycheck, we are often looking for a way to dissociate from ourselves while our bodies and minds have a natural reaction to this heavily commoditized and overstimulating existence, where a person’s worth is defined by how profitable they are to someone else. We do it because we want to feel something other than the crushing vice of crass consumerism and its harmful byproducts.”

Pequignot adapted some of the lyrics from a person identified as Brian who appears in a documentary film about a man at a hospital who keeps repeating one phrase over and over again.

“My wife was watching a clip on YouTube, and I heard this person, who is deeply ill, repeat ['nothing works here'] over and over again. These words make sense to me," says Pequignot. "I think we live in a world that doesn’t work for people. His words connected with me deeply. We wrote and recorded the song before COVID-19 was a concern to average people in this country. I think the band realized the implication of the plague metaphor we used in the title, but I think what makes this song most relevant right now is that, since last Tuesday, which is when the current situation started to feel very real to me, the news is constant, it changes hour to hour, it is very inconsistent, and it feels like no one knows what’s happening, what to do, or what happens next.”

Pequignot says the song “brings to light” many problems people deal with on a day-to-day basis and not just during a crisis.

“The government response has been so bizarre,” he says. “They promise to take care of it all and fix it, which seems insane to me. If they can do it now, then they can do it for the people who deal with these issues all the time, and they could have done so at any time. I feel the crushing sense of dread I describe in the song more and more every day. I don’t think I’m alone in that.”

You can listen to the track here.

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation