This article appears in Volume 5 – Issue 5 of SKUNK Magazine.
ONE DAY, a long, long time ago, Richmond, Virginia native Dave Brockie had a realization. There was a void out there in dire need of being filled. Sure there was good music available and enough tapes and LPs to last a lifetime, but what was sorely lacking was a group willing to take the bull by the horns and claim the throne as the greatest rock ‘n roll show in the history of the universe. Having already found success with his previous band, Death Piggy, Brockie devised a rock ‘n roll formula that was absolutely infallible.
It was around this time that Brockie mysteriously disappeared and an intergalactic drifter by the name of Oderus Urungus swiftly took his place. Completely unconcerned with the wellbeing of the person whose persona he stole, Oderus opted to continue Brockie’s dream for rock ‘n roll supremacy and, along with Johnny Slutman, Mr. Magico, Jaws of Death, Balsac and the late Sean Sumners, the first configuration of GWAR was spawned.
Fast-forward 25 years, Brockie is still nowhere to be seen, but more importantly, GWAR have proven that the void Brockie once recognized no longer needed to be filled. There is no denying that GWAR is a “must see” event whenever they privilege your town with their presence. A cosmic debacle of death, dismemberment and destruction mixed with a gallon or two of bodily fluids for good measure– a scene that would make Gene Simmons blush.
Starting in mid-August with the release of their 12th studio album, Lust In Space, GWAR embarked on a two-year trek to celebrate this 25-year milestone that few ever thought would ever be reached.
Despite being around for 25 years some people still consider GWAR to be a gimmick band.
First of all, gimmicks are stupid little jokes that last maybe like 15 minutes and then it’s over. Gimmick bands are like the guy who did, what was that song, “Don’t worry be happy”. Gimmicks are things that have no artistic integrity, they’re things that have no moral backing. They’re superfluous, they’re fluff, and if anyone thinks of GWAR as a gimmick, then they need not only their heads examined, they need to have their heads separated from the rest of their body.
GWAR is really switching things up by having a two-year celebration as opposed to the standard one-year bash.
Yeah. You know, this is the 25th anniversary of GWAR on your planet. We’ve come from being frozen potpies to masters of metal and we decided the more typical one-year celebration is just not enough for us, you know? We need to have a two-year one to officially dominate the entire world. It’s bigger, it’s longer, it’s better, and it also shows my complete disdain for time and indeed all the conventions and limitations that modern society set upon us. You know what? Oderus and Gwar want to have a two-year long celebration. I don’t care if everyone else is having one-year long celebrations. That just shows how closed-minded they are. Ours is two years and if I hear any more shit about it, I’m gonna make it three!
What brought GWAR back to Metal Blade records after eight years?
Well we fucked around with that label DRT. It was nothing except an experiment maybe with another company to see if maybe things could be a little bit better. Let’s face it, GWAR has not broken through the level of commercial and cultural success that we desire. I mean bands like Slipknot and Lordi keep coming along, making billions of dollars and basically sucking. Sure Slipknot’s heavy and they’ve got a great percussion section, but if you look at the visual imagery, it’s a bunch of satan, red and black, almost kind of neo-fascist imagery that to me is incredibly uncreative and boring. GWAR, on the hand, has always been the cutting edge of everything that’s sick, naughty and incredibly creative. So… what was the question?
About coming back to Metal Blade after eight years.
Oh right, yeah so we signed another deal with this DRT records just to see if maybe things will be different as far as that’s concerned because GWAR, as much as we are probably the most influential band in Rock ‘n roll history, the one thing that makes GWAR precious, a cultural treasure if you will, is that we’ve always done it our way. We’ve never compromised and we’ve never been motivated by money. So when we signed the deal with DRT, we actually decided to be motivated by money, just for once. Well, that whole thing turned out to be a complete debacle. They just were fucking up all over. So, it was a complete disaster. It took a little while to get clear of them and when we were, the first phone call that Sleazy P. Martini made was back to the people at Metal Blade. Let’s get Gwar to where they belong.
As much as GWAR hates everything about the human race, we love Metal Blade.
What’s your fascination with Fox News show “Red Eye”?
I’m not really fascinated with it other than that I’m on it. They called me up, I was actually in New York doing the Fangoria convention and they’re like, “Hey Oderus, you wanna come over and do the show?” and I’m like, “Fuck yeah,” they’re like, “when’s the next time you’re in New York?” I was like, “I’m in New York right now. In fact, I’m standing outside of the studio.” So I burst through the wall, walked onto the set, knocked them dead, next thing you know, Oderus Urungus is Fox News’ official interplanetary correspondent. I know, I’m as confused as anyone, but fuck it, it’s a great opportunity. Greg Gutfeld is a wonderful dude, a delightfully miniature person. He’s always got hot chicks on the show and it’s a great platform for me to mouth off my contradictory and often confusing demands. So we’re really stoked about it. I’ve done three segments now and moving onto a fourth one and who knows what’s next? Maybe Gwar will get that TV show that we’ve so sorely deserved for so fucking long.
Speaking of Red Eye, does GWAR have any kind of official statement on marijuana and whether it should be legalized?
Well of course it should be legal! It needs to be free! I mean, God, they let you drink yourself into a blurbering heap, drive your car and smash it into a bus full of cripples! They’ll sell you cigarettes that’ll rot your lungs out and fill you with cancer leaving families without fathers. It is just ridiculous the double standards that exist in your society. And then they say that you can’t smoke pot? It’s absolutely fucking ridiculous. I think drugs should be legal. Regulated by the Government, of course. We don’t need babies smoking crack, at least not quite yet. They should be at least four.
There’s one thing we know about the human race – they love to party! Be more like the Europeans; they let you smoke pot, they let you fuck prostitutes, and as a result, the crime rate is a lot lower! They don’t let you buy .24 caliber, easily concealable handguns or even machine guns, and guess what? Not as many people get shot over there! You might get stabbed, you might get smacked upside the head with a baseball bat, but ya won’t get shot.
Do you recommend to anyone that before witnessing GWAR live, smoking a bowl would be the greatest thing they could ever do?
Oh yeah, definitely. Smoke a bowl, take a bunch of acid and shrooms, drink like a motherfucker, or, here’s something even stranger, don’t do drugs at all! Just do whatever the fuck you want! I’m not here to ram drugs down other people’s throats. I’m here to ram drugs down MY throat. And if that means you want to donate your drugs to GWAR, that’s fine by me. I mean GWAR is all about freedom. People should do what the fuck they want and let GWAR take care of killing everybody. I can tell you for a fact, you can go see a GWAR show completely sober and still feel like you’re on drugs.
Shockingly, there are actually some people who have never had the pleasure of witnessing a GWAR extravaganza.
Yeah, I know and that’s very disturbing.
What else do you have to do to convince them?
I don’t know! If people are still going to refuse to come to our shows, there’s really not much else I can do other than showing up at their household, putting a giant spike through their head, chaining them to the bumper of my flaming pig-drawn, brazen chariot and dragging them down to the show myself, you know? But I really don’t have time to show up at everyone’s house and do that.
What inspires GWAR?
I would have to say GWAR itself inspires GWAR. The mere fact that when I wake up in the morning, look at myself in all my grandeur and beauty, realize that I am the closest thing there is out there to the perfect life form and that you humans actually have the opportunity to share in the existence of GWAR on this planet, that’s inspiring to me, or at least should be inspiring to you.
The departed list is like a cast reading for a Jim Henson on Meth musical. What becomes of the ex members of GWAR?
They’re killed. They’re ground up. They’re turned into GWAR dogfood. Or sometimes they just wander off into the night. The Sexecutioner, for instance, I believe you’ll find him in the bowels of the sewers of Paris, hanging out with his good buddy the Demon from France, also know as Prince Ray Pierre.
They go their separate ways sometimes, but the core of the band has always stayed the same, and the slaves are as dedicated, or at least as intimidated as ever. And this simply will not change, my friend. GWAR will conquer on. GWAR will continue its relentless assault until GWAR has everything that GWAR wants.
Two Grammy nominations, no wins. What does the academy have against GWAR?
I don’t know! Why are they trying to give us these idiotic awards? It’s like a retarded child trying to give you a piece of poorly constructed macramé. Grammys? Shmammys. Who gives a fuck? I swear to god, the first time they had a Grammy for metal, they gave it to Jethro Tull! That should tell you something about how retarded the fucking Grammys are. But then again, as a celebrity, I can’t deny that it sure would be sweet to get one.
Well, Metallica lost out to Jethro Tull at those Grammys. And since Metallica beat you guys for one of your nominations, I guess Jethro Tull is kinda two up on Gwar at this point.
Aw Jeez. Did you do this interview just to insult me or what?
I’m just looking at the facts, man!
Alright, well, you know, facts are only facts as far as the way you present them. So let’s just pretend that Gwar has won eight Grammys already.
Ok, let’s look at another fact. Bjork has been nominated 13 times, but has yet to win.
Bjork has not won? Nominated 13 times and has not won yet? Poor Bjork! Well if it’s any condolence, she has to live everyday with being Bjork, and that can’t be a lot of fun.
So no chance of her joining the band, making GWAR 0 for 15?
Yeah, maybe if Bjork and GWAR joined forces we could probably win that fucking Grammy. It only would be fair. Between the two of us, that’d be 15 different losing attempts at a Grammy, and that just shows you how full of shit the Grammys really are. Bjork is a brilliant artist; you nominate her 13 times and don’t even give her one? That’s just fucking asinine. Celebrity award shows are the most retarded thing. These people have enough stuff. If I had my way, I would saw Hollywood off from the rest of the country and sink it. The only celebrities that would suffice to live in the new GWAR order of things would be the metal bands, because quite frankly, it’s all I really give a shit about.
So if asked to show up and perform, would you?
Oh yeah, we’d get in there, we’d set up, and then we’d kill every motherfucker in the place. One thing I can tell you, if GWAR was ever nominated and won a Grammy or an Academy award, that would be the last time anybody would ever get one.
Jethro Tull’s better off not showing up.
Yeah, well Jethro Tull I think they’ve just gone off to some old folks home now, so I don’t think they’re gonna be showing anyway. What’s his face is like dithering around on his flute and we’re out here playing electric guitars. You tell me which one is more metal.
What can you tell us about the genealogy of Oderus Urungus?
Well, everyone knows that GWAR is from outer space or something like that. I come from various planets, only the naughtiest bits, whatever the grossest thing that could come off of each planet, was wired together in the world of Scumdogia in order to create the most bestial, destructive and, let’s face it, sexy creature that was ever created. And that is me, Oderus Urungus. That’s about all I can tell you from my early days. My mother was a petri dish, my father was a super computer. I was already eight feet tall at the age of three. I dropped out of most schools. They gave me a sword. I joined the Scumdogs Of The Universe and the rest is bloody history.
You appeared on both Jerry Springer and the Joan Rivers Show. Neither time were you well received only to have the audience eating out of the palm of your hand by the time the credits rolled. People seem eager to underestimate your intelligence.
I’m not gonna deny that at all. I’m energized, I’m intelligent, I can fucking talk with the best of them, debate, spar, whatever. I can even fucking do jeopardy pretty well if I need to… Look at the stars that are produced, look at the bands that are coming out. It’s all just a bunch of fucking shit. And here’s GWAR still fighting for our little piece of pie. But I do believe with every fiber of my being that this 25th anniversary, and now that GWAR is realigned with Metal Blade records, GWAR is gonna attain that international level of recognition that we have sorely deserved for all these years. And then maybe finally, I can get the slaves hooked up with a life insurance plan.
When not fine-tuning the GWAR sound, what does Oderus do in his spare time?
I don’t have any spare time. Every fucking second of my life is spent acting violently, smashing heads, playing ear-splitting metal. I don’t sleep; do you know how much time it takes to smoke nine tons of crack? At least 30 minutes!
There’s never downtime in GWAR. It’s always constant. You know, I don’t think Sammy Davis Jr. ever had to deal with the fact that he’s trying to perform with a goddamn 20-foot tall Tyrannosaurus Rex chewing on his false teeth. These are things we deal with on a nightly basis. We don’t have time off. Every single second of our lives is dedicated to your destruction.
When GWAR gets inducted into the rock n roll hall of fame, who would you want inducting you?
Hmmm… Maybe Bono, because he’s probably the most insufferable twit in music out there. If he could induct us, then maybe I can induct him into the netherworld.