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Monday
Mar142011

GWAR - Oderus Urungus

When I was given the task (although somewhat self-appointed) to conduct a Gwar interview for the site, I must say that I was pretty stoked, considering Gwar has become one of my favorite bands as of late.  Initially, written off by many (including myself) as a 'joke band,' in 2002, Gwar recruited lead guitarist, Cory Smoot, and to an extent, the group was reborn.  Smoot was not only brought in to play guitar (as the new Flattus Maximus character), but to also take over at the production helm.  With their rejuvenated lineup, starting with 2004's "War Party," Gwar have proceeded to put out, arguably, the best work of their career.  Still keeping their sick sense of humor, Gwar's musical integrity is no laughing matter.
 
The trend continues with 2010's "Bloody Pit of Horror," as Gwar keeps on destroying the planet earth, in the truest Scumdog fashion.  Although our interview was scheduled with Gwar frontman Dave Brockie, little did I know that I would also be speaking with the true leader of Gwar, Oderus Urungus, who at times, took over the conversation, threatening my very existence.
 
Without further adieu, from the farthest regions of Antartica...

 
Upon calling the number I was given to reach Dave Brockie, what answered on the other end did not sound like Brockie at all.  In fact, it did not even sound human.  What answered was a intergalactic barbarian (hailing from the planet Scumdogia), none other than Oderus Urungus, himself.  I quickly composed myself and attempted to begin the interview.
 
RockMusicStar:  I'd like to start out by giving you my personal perspective on Gwar..
 
Oderus Urungus:  SHAAA-DUP!!!  Is this interview for me, or is this a faggot Dave Brockie interview??
 
RMS:  I'll talk to whoever feels like speaking, I guess...
 
OU:  This is the part where I tell you to shut up and get on with this... 
 
Dave Brockie: (Interrupts) Which is a completely unreasonable request.
 
RMS:  Well, it kinda is, because if I shut up, then there's no interview. (Laughs)

 
OU:  I'm backing away from that one.  Let's start over again.  HELLO!!!!
 
RMS:  OK.  Well hello Oderus, my name is John Jeffrey and I'm calling on behalf of RockMusicStar.com

 
OU:  Johnny, Johnny.  Johnny Jeff - Jeff, Johnny Jeff John.  How's it going Johnny?
 
RMS:  Good.  Like I was saying before, I didn't begin to truly appreciate Gwar until 2006, when I heard the "Beyond Hell" CD.  I always admired 'the show,' but it wasn't until I heard "Beyond Hell,"that I really connected with the music.
 
OU:  Yes, you are a part of a growing number of people, of the always expanding cult of Gwar.  We've got our loyal fans, that go back many years now, but let's face it, they're old!  They're like your dad.  They don't move around as well.  Some of them have taken a lot of injuries.  Some of them have survived 4, 5, 30, 40 Gwar shows.  You can't live through that much trauma and be right in the head.  Then again, you can't be right in the head to be a Gwar fan to begin with.
 
RMS:  That's why we are called the 'Bohabs.
'
 
OU:  Yes, that's the title that we have thus bestowed upon our loyal fans - the Bohabs. 
 
RMS:  Since really following Gwar hard core since "Beyond Hell," you've released "Lust In Space" in 2009, and "Bloody Pit of Horror" last year.  In my opinion, the band is really on top of it's game, musically.  How does it feel to be peaking at this point in your career?

 
OU:  I'm very glad that you have grasped this, and that you understand this, because it's very fucking true!  This band has never been better, and I'll tell you exactly why.  It took a long time to thaw out.  These guys were frozen solid for over 80 billion years, OK?  You don't just wake up from that, and start up, playing Slayer.  Even though we did have flashes of brilliance the whole way....we were great.  I mean, everything we've ever done is better than the greatest thing that anyone else ever could.  But, as we finally got the fingers completely thawed out, these guys just started ripping it.  Being immortal, indestructible and undefeatable, we learn from our mistakes, and we never fail.  So what you have with Gwar, is a band that just gets better and better and better, as we go along.
 
RMS:  How much of an impact has Cory Smoot made on the band, since joining Gwar in 2002?

 
(Apparently, Oderus had no idea who this human was which I spoke of, so Dave Brockie took over the interview at this point)
 
DB:  Well, I would have to say, he has been a huge impact.  Cory, aka Flattus, the idiot savant of the band, is the one actually more in touch with some of the styles of metal, that maybe some of the boring old farts in the band, aren't quite so up with.  He kinda provided that bridge, to help us mold our metal.  (The change in our style) starts with the "Violence Has Arrived" album, as he joined right after that album was written and recorded.  Cory as Flattus, did all of the touring from there on.  So he toured in support of that record.  And then we were able to take his
songwriting skills into the next record, and rolled with it ever since.  I think this is the most potent lineup we've ever had.  And he's been a huge part of it. 
 
RMS:  I still can't get over how much of a great record "Bloody Pit of Horror" really is.  It just kicks ass on all levels.  Not only is it great musically, but the lyrics are just hilarious.  With songs like "Tick Tits," you just can't get any better than that.
 
DB:  I think it's a stronger record than (our last record) "Lust In Space."  And I think "Lust In Space" is a great fuckin' record.  I think a lot of people were still listening to "Lust In Space" when we put out the new album.  So I think it's taken a little while to catch hold with our fans.  I can feel from the interviews, and hearing what our fans say about it, I know we've written another amazing album.  I'm pretty fuckin' blown away when I listen to that record.  It's the way I alwayswanted Gwar to sound.  When we play in that really fucked up low tuning, it just really gives a really dark feeling to the music, that I just fucking love.  You counterpoint it with hilarious fucking lyrics, and there you go, it's the latest Gwar album.  How many fucking bands just keep putting out so much good music?  It's so hard for people to give Gwar our musical credit, because the show is so fucking amazing.  That's a problem I can live with. (Laughs)
 
RMS:  Yeah.  Being too good, right?  On "Bloody Pit Of Horror," although somewhat similar to the last 2 CDs, I noticed some different musical influences creeping in.  A few of the songs had an almost Overkill feel to them.  Was there anything in particular that you guys were listening to, that had an influence on you, when writing the songs on the last CD?
 
DB:  Well, I didn't write any of the music on the record, and I was fine with that.  I was just concentrating on my vocal arrangements.  As far as my lyrics go, I didn't think about anybody when I was writing them, except for what Oderus and Gwar would be thinking about.  You have to put yourself in a mind set, of a monster from outer space.  It's like writing lyrics for a broad way musical.  You can't even think about it in normal songwriting ways.  It's like writing fiction.  But somehow, you have to make it interesting.  You also have to make it sound good. 
 
Musically, bands like Overkill, I don't know if any one person in this band would say that they were an influence, but they definitely were.  But as far as lyrically, I think my lyrics are pretty unique. 
 
RMS:  What is Gwar up to right now?

 
DB:  We're finishing up the "Bloody Tour of Horror" in the United States, and then we're taking it overseas.  We've got a big tour coming up of Europe, in June.  Bunch of big festivals, including Download.  We're wrapping up the big, 2 year long, '25th Anniversary' tour.  Apparently, it's now the 26th anniversary, and we didn't even realize it.  We're just stopping that fucking toll bridge, because it's just making us feel old. 
 
We're moving into our brand new 'Slave pit.'  We just moved into a brand new studio in Richmond, VA and it's fucking awesome.  We have the Gwar-bq coming up this summer.  We've been throwing Gwar-bq parties in Richmond for years (go to www.gwarbq.com for more info), but now we're finally getting it together.  The goal is to have it like a musical festival thing, that gets bigger and bigger every year.  Last year was huge, this year it's gonna be huge-r.
 
Actually this year, we won't be touring as much as usual.  We're all happy as clams about that.  I wouldn't be surprised if we did a little Halloween tour in the US.  Not these giant three and a half fucking month things we've been doing the past few years.  Probably something not too huge.  Hopefully, we'll go to Australia.  A lot of international shit going on for Gwar now.  We spent a lot of time in Europe and Australia last year, and hopefully, this year is going to be more of the same.  THE UNDISPUTED, HARDEST WORKING BAND IN SHOW BUSINESS, will continue to fucking wage our unrelenting gwar, until we beat the world into a bloody submission.  That's what Gwar's up to!!
 
RMS:  Considering Gwar is so over the top visually, I'm surprised that you haven't gone the KISS route, in terms of the real heavy merchandising.
 
DB:  Well, a lot of what KISS puts out, is really expensive to produce.  When you're KISS, yeah, it's not a big deal to make some KISS pinball machines, and sell them for 10 grand.  That's not a big deal for them.  We're close to the bone (financially), every month.  There's months when the whole business is down to nothing, and we're moving on.  This is a big dragon that eats it's own tail to survive.  We don't have the resources that these other fucking bands do, which drives us crazy.  But then again, we're not just eternal whore bags, like these other fucking bands.  Every time you turn around. it's the latest KISS merchandising thing.  It's like, "Ick!!"  I was sick of it 20 years ago.  Those characters have never done anything.  How dare they say that they are the masters of character driven rock.  Look at the stupid comic(s) and the movie.  Those characters were completely retarded, one dimensional, and didn't really do anything.  They did the bare minimum they needed to do, in order to sell millions and millions of records.  That was the motivation of doing it, making money.  That's just not an exciting motive for me to make art, and it shouldn't be.  It's a fringe benefit.  I love the fact that I'm able to pay my bills with my art.  It would be great to fucking have a lot of money.  You start thinking about that, when you get older of course.  But I don't wanna be some rich ass rock star, who's gonna lie to his audience every year, and say, "It's our big Farewell Tour."  Then they're back next year, again, jacking you, with a $100 ticket.  I can't believe that people just open up their butt holes for that kind of reaming.  That's why we've often run afoul of the very industry that gives us life. I'm always very critical of that shit.  And I'm the first one to admit that it's driven by jealousy. (Laughs)
 
RMS:  Speaking of characters, you can't deny the strength of the Gwar characters.  Could you see Gwar continuing, with other people replacing even you, and having Gwar go on eternally?

 
DB:  Gwar is already going to continue eternally.  Unless we write a chapter where we kill off the characters, and even then, I don't think that would stop it.  Gwar is like "Grease" or "Beatlemania" or Spinal Tap.  But even better than Spinal Tap, when those guys are dead, and when they die, you can never do it again.
 
In the future, they'll probably have crazy, holographically projected bands.  I think all entertainment will be live, computer, 3-D animations.  You're already seeing it happen to a small extent in movies.  Sooner or later, it (the technology) will be perfect.  There will be a new Marilyn Monroe movie.  Sean Connery will be James Bond again.  And you will not be able to tell the difference.  Instead of going to see a new band at a club, you'll be able to go see Jimi Hendrix play.
 
So, it's good to here, while we're still in the physical world, before we all turn into some kind of Matrix-esque hell.  But it will be nice, when I'm like 70, 80 years old, they'll probably just have completely perfect, virtual porn.  You'll be able to fuck anyone you ever wanted to.  I'll start with Sophia Loren, and I'll work my way to Jaclyn Bissett, all the chicks from my youth.  Then I'll start banging the young ones.  Ah, it's horrible...
 
RMS:  Then you could bang Oderus too! (Laughs)

 
DB:  You could.  You could dial up the "Go Fuck Yourself" program.  I think I'd like to be raped by myself.  That would be great.
 
RMS:  To wrap things up, could you leave a message for our readers here at RockMusicStar.com?

 
DB:  Well, it's been wonderful speaking with you, thank you for your support of Gwar.  To everyone out there, even though our 25th anniversary has turned into our 26th anniversary, and is almost over, now we plan to go straight to the 50th anniversary, and just keep it there forever.  Live the rest of your life as a fucking party, as long as Gwar is around!