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  Aug 6, 1998



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Body-slammin', head-bangin' fun


By KIERAN GRANT -- Toronto Sun

The Lineup
Date: August 7, 1998, 8 pm
Place: The Opera House, 735 Queen Street East, $10
For more info call the RWA at (905) 637-5525
RING 'N' EARS: WrestleMusicFest -- Live music by Trigger Happy, Bad Blood, Twin Fold, ADF, Blank Stare, Random Killing
20 Man Battle Royal; Pete Rokk vs Sexy Baby; Total Lee Awesome vs The Mercenary (Chain Match); vs Hollywood Hunks; Lartiste vs Danger Boy; Dane Garris vs Seattle Kidd
Rock and wrestling: Sounds like a marriage made in hell. And the organizers of the Ring 'N' Ears Wrestlemusicfest like it that way.

The body-slammin' extravaganza, which hits the ring and the stage tomorrow night at the Opera House, features grudge matches, chain matches, and an all-round battle royale among personalities from Burlington's fledgling Renegade Wrestling Alliance.

Heavy-hitting local bands Trigger Happy, Bad Blood, Twin Fold, ADF, Blank Stare, and Random Killing provide musical interludes.

"It's heavy independent bands and independent wrestling all rolled into one," says Wrestlemusicfest co-organizer F, who also plays bass with hard-rockers Bad Blood.

Even non-wrestlemaniacs -- myself included -- know that "independent wrestling" is not a popular notion.

F -- real name: Jesse Mackowycz -- says there are grass-roots wrestling alternatives to those expensive, big-ticket WWF events that draw rabid fans by the tens of thousands.

Clubs, he says, are as good a venue as any.

"There are lots of indie-wrestling federations in Ontario. Wrestling fans can dig deep down into the wrestling world and find this out. It's just like indie bands: If you push it long enough in the right direction, more people are going to come out and see you. This is a perfect link-up because it pools the audiences of both the bands and the wrestlers. Normally the RWA get about 200 people at their events, and we're expecting about 900."

There is a cross-over fanbase, too. F says that the show was inspired by Bad Blood's own love of wrestling. That, and a little promotional savvy.

"As more competition to do shows comes along in this city, you have to come up with bigger ideas," he says. "You have to come up with an event rather than just, y'know, playing The Cameron on a Thursday night. We've been planning to do this ever since the band formed."

Out of respect for the sport of pro wrestling -- which F dryly insists is "all real" -- Ring 'N' Ears is keeping the fights and the musical sets separate.

And wrestlers must be licensed through the Ontario Sports Commission, so no bands will be meeting in the event's specially-added, 16 ft. x 16 ft. ring.

"We want to keep it legitimate," says F. "It's not meant to just be some goofs bringing a ring in and throwing each other around. This is an actual federation, with full-on gold belts, and the whole deal."

As for future plans for Wrestlemusicfest, organizers are already mulling over the idea of a national tour.

"Why not?" F says. "Everybody else is doing stupid tours. Every time you turn around there's a new festival. Wrestling and music. Sounds good to me."

Tickets for the Ring 'N' Ears Wrestlemusicfest, $10, are available in advance at Rotate This, the Record Peddler and Sonic Temple. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show is all-ages.