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A nickname originally and accidentally coined by a local DJ that eventually became synonymous with counterculture in the city of Worcester, Massachusetts.

In the spring of 1978, the DJ mentioned above, known by the name of L. B. Worm, was trying to come up with a name for a fanzine which would serve as a means of promoting punk rock in the city. One day, in describing the local music scene to friends, he said, "This scene is so dead, maybe I should call it Wormtown." Soon after that quip, he began work on the fanzine, which he dubbed The Wormtown Punk Press. Though it doesn't require much of a leap of logic to compare the self-effacing nickname to The Big Apple and Beantown (which was probably part of the reason it caught on), the reason Mr. Worm gives was that the lifelessness made him think of a graveyard, and subsequently worms.

The term has been assimilated not only by local musicians and personalities, but also by newspapers as far away as the Boston Globe. When a new American League Hockey team was slated to arrive in the city, one local sportwriter proposed to call them "The Mighty Ice Worms." Fortunately for the team's mascot, they were eventually named the Worcester Ice Cats instead. Looking back, "Mayor" L. B. Worm insists the term was meant as a passing joke, and that he loves Worcester. This should not come as much of a surprise if you believe the message that was once painted in large black lettering on the side of a prominent Worcester furniture store in the early 1980s:

"Wormtown Rocks".

Web Sites cited:

WorcesterMass.com. "Origins of the Phrase Wormtown", by Charles R. Grosvenor, Jr.
Wormtown.org. "Historically Speaking, It's Lenny's Fault", by Paul Della Valle. In "Wormtown - City Officials"
Worcester Public Library. "Frequently Asked Questions - Worcester"

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