Interview: World/Inferno Friendship Society’s Jack Terricloth on the origin of Hallowmass

All Photos By Jeff Schaer-Moses Photography
Mr. Terricloth giving his all at Hallowmas 19.

It’s been 20-years since The World/Inferno Friendship Society put on their first “official” Hallowmas at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey and it was a spectacle to behold. The group had only been together a short while, they’d released three-singles, and they even managed to get some love from the Village Voice. Not a bad kick off party for a new band’s new event. However, according to Jack Terricloth W/IFS has been celebrating Hallowmas since well before 1997.

“In a very real way, Inferno had been celebrating Hallowmas long before we were making music. Back in Jersey, we were a mischief gang long before our musical ambitions usurped the name.A lot of the gang members could play something, the ones who couldn’t we gave a drum. So instead of having a private bacchanal, we had a public one. Worked out.” said Terriclcoth.

From those humble Garden State roots sprang what has become one of New York City’s best Halloween celebrations. It’s not just a celebration of a fun holiday, but one of New York’s last standing cult phenom’s The World/Inferno Friendship Society.

“It is our holiday, It is the way we mark time, it is the holiday unmarked by a patriarchal tyrant and if you ask people for candy they give it to you. A gift!” Says the eccentric Terricloth.

He has been the proprietor of Hallowmas for its entire two-decade run, and even after running the show for so long Terricloth remains the central force behind the growth of Hallowmas from a little show in Jersey to one of New York Cities best Halloween events.

“It is still very DIY. I’m over at Warsaw twice a week checking out the projections, up all night writing Hallowmissives and filling out postcards and in clubs every weekend ducking and a weaving your shot glasses. Like life this job does not get any easier, just different,” said the Pumpkin King.

The main difference from year one to year 20 has to be the growth in the venue. While Maxwell’s is no hole in the wall the northern New Jersey launching pad is nowhere near the size of W/IFS current Hallowmas venue, The Warsaw in Green point which is cavernous in comparison. Also presumably the good folks over at Scenic Presents like ‘ole Jack Terricloth and the World/Inferno a little better than the promoter at Maxwell’s did back in the late 90’s.

“The booker at Maxwell’s really didn’t like my previous band Sticks and Stones but I had changed my name and band so I don’t think he cared enough to care (there are knowns and known unknowns). His name was Todd Abramson, I used to call him every other day in SAS to get a gig! He finally gave in and gave us a Thursday night. Todd called a couple days before the show and said ‘The Hoodoo Gurus are playing Thursday’ and I said ‘Oh cool, I’d love to play with the Hoodoo Gurus! ‘mars needs guitars!’ to which he replied ‘No, you don’t understand. The Hoodoo Gurus are playing. You’re not’ and hung up. I had to tell this to the band who of course blamed me and not The Hoodoo Gurus. Decades later I told this story doing the acoustic thing in support of Kevin Second’s acoustic thing at Maxwell’s and was promptly told I was banned from Maxwell’s again,” said Terricloth.

Hallowmas is going down on Oct. 31 at The Warsaw and tickets are still very much available.


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