The Wesley Willis Fiasco: Live E.P.

Rating: A-

Cornerstone RAS Records

Vying for a prominent spot in the “Incredibly Strange Music Hall of Fame” comes The Wesley Willis Fiasco. This homeboy from Chicago is just keepin’ it surreal. But gone are the days of Wesley doing it solo on a Casio keyboard. He now has his hard rocking back-up band, which he likes to call “Fiasco”. A fitting name for a band that tours but sounds as if they are still just jamming in a garage for the first time. Wesley is a rock star in the most extreme sense and it kind of scares me.

Not because he is a schizophrenic, though he has garnered many a fan for that reason, but because he performs from a twisted array of subjects. Boasting a back catalog of some 40 releases he can pull material that ranges in subject matter as diverse as preaching about Jesus, praising Alanis Morrisette or hollering about how he’s going to kill you.

That’s what scares me, plus the facts that he performs these songs with a bizarre yet seemingly legitimate intensity. And that’s just it…Wesley is such an enigma that you can only guess what is real, what is surreal and what are his the other voices making suggestions.

This live E.P. captures Wesley live in Chicago and it offers a very accurate account of the full Wesley Willis experience, complete with in-between song ranting and raving. I need to point out that you should play the last song through. There is a long pause after the song ends, about five minutes, then surprise…it’s Wesley prostilatizing while his band plays Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” then followed by an additional five minutes of Wesley banter.