Columns » Livelong Days

The Church of Wirtz

The reverend of rockabilly comedy returns to the FAC


Reverend Billy C. Wirtz has explicitly stated that he does not appreciate comparisons to Weird Al Yankovic.

Well, too bad.

Because if Weird Al were Southern and/or capable of singing about something other than junk food and television, he and Wirtz might have so much in common -- bad hair just for starters -- that one would be required to destroy the other.

As much as I love Al, my money's on the Reverend. (He's a burly 6 feet 5 inches and wears cowboy boots.)

Wirtz, who will be hustling his brand of high-energy fire and brimstone rockabilly soul to the Fine Arts Center next Saturday, likens himself to the following scenario: "Jerry Lee Lewis discovers his inner child, buys it a sex change, and then marries it."

Not surprisingly, it's quite possible to enjoy this mulleted South Carolina-born singer and mail-order clergyman without even pressing play on your stereo. Just take a gander at some of the track titles from any of his eight albums. Notables include "I'm Not Too Old for You," "Mennonite Surf Party," "Inbred" and "Get Off My Lawn!" And then there's satirical ditties like "Baby Got Dot" ( a rappin' riff on Deepak Chopra) and "Right Wing Round Up" (political skewering in the form of a square dance call).

Wirtz has been something of a puppet, a poet, a pauper, a pawn and a king during his 14-year career. Past gigs have included a stint as a special education teacher, a manager for professional "rasslers" and a columnist for Keyboard Magazine. Needless to say, he's served plenty of time as a traveling, boogie-woogie pianist. As his favorite targets for ridicule include both his fellow religionists and rednecks, he's sure to feel at home here in the Springs.

-- John Dicker

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