Incredibly Strange Wrestling was the bastard offspring of post-punk garage rock and masked Mexican lucha libre. Fielding a cast of crazed characters with names like El Homo Loco, Macho Sasquatcho and El Pollo Diablo, the show lived up to its name. Christians fought lions, Ku Klux Klowns squared off against Hasidic Jews and Bigfoots and bears mauled hapless hippies in some of the most surreal grappling bouts ever staged. And if that wasnt enough, cult bands such as NOFX, The Dickies and The Donnas provided the raucous rock and roll in between the highflying mayhem.
ISW emerged from the back alleys and seedy clubs of San Franciscos South of Market scene to headline the historic Fillmore and barnstorm North America on the Vans Warped Tour. At the height of its popularity, Green Days Billy Joe Armstrong and Metallicas James Hetfield could be seen tossing tortillas (which the promoters supplied) at ringside with the rest of the hell heads, boozehounds and tattooed party girls that made up ISWs rabid following.
Bob Calhoun broke into ISW as an untrained grappler and rose through the ranks to become one of the creative forces behind the subversive carnival. In his new memoir, Beer, Blood & Cornmeal, Calhoun delves into the ISWs organized insanity with all of the dark humor that it deserves. Its a story of urban misfits risking their necks for local celebrity in one of Americas most famous cities all told against the backdrop of the dot com boom and bust and an increasingly corporate entertainment industry.
Beer, Blood & Cornmeal takes the highest tier of the music industry and sends it on a collision course with the lowest rung of the professional wrestling ladder. The threat of real violence is always lurking at the fringes of the fake fights as shows end in riots and wrestlers disturbingly become their squared circle alter egos.