It’s rare in today’s music business to come across a band that truly takes live music to a new level. With electronic music producers selling out 100k+ arenas it isn’t uncommon to find a sold out show where the stage and light production is much more of a spectacle than the actual performer, but with GWAR, no such distinction need be made. For 28 years these outer space rock gods have blown other acts out of the water with over the top characters, intricate costumes, and a hilarious, inspired mythos, all while featuring some of the best talent in the industry. After the unexpected death of lead guitarist Cory Smoot (or Flattus Maximus in GWAR lore), GWAR has seen an outpouring of support from both its die hard fan base as well as its peers in the industry, and although it has cast a mournful shadow over their current tour, GWAR has confronted it head on, continuing to tear down venues, behead and dismember fans, and pay proper tribute to their fallen comrade through it all. We were lucky enough to sit down with lead singer and founding member of the Scumdogs of the Universe, Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie), before their sold out show at The Fox Theatre in Boulder.
LMB: How’s the tour going so far?
OU: Very f***ing incredibly awesome. We’ve been pretty much sold out every night and it’s going to be jammed and packed with maniacs again this evening so it has been really good.
LMB: GWAR has been on earth for over 25 years now. How have you seen your fan base change?
OU: Generally speaking if they can survive the shows, GWAR fans will keep coming back again and again, hiding under the corpses of their dead friends to do so, and they will get older and they will have children and they will bring their children to the shows. You’ll see the dad and the child and the child’s child and the grandmother all there covered in blood in a big pile of dead bodies as our slaves root through their corpses for valuables. But no change really, they just get older. And they smell worse when they die.
LMB: But you do a pretty good job of killing off old fans and bringing in new ones?
OU: Yes, there is a turnover. We don’t want to kill all the fans, just enough to keep the dance floor nice and slick and then we’ll leave about half of them so they can go home and spawn so they can fill up the club the next time we’re there.
LMB: What are the plans for the next album?
OU: We are going to try and take it slowly. Everyone knows that Flattus [Cory Smoot] has departed the planet so we’re going to take our time on this next record and explore our musical futures probably using some guest guitar players, some friends of the band. Some buddies of Flattus are going to stop by the planet and lay down some tracks. We’re about three songs into it so far and it’s sounding good. We’re recording it at our own studio, Slave Pit Studios, back in Antarctica via Richmond of course and maybe by the end of the year or early next year we’ll have a new GWAR album.
LMB: It’s been said that Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) will be working of some of Cory’s unrecorded tracks.
OU: It is true he is already doing that. It’s kind of a weird twisted story. The album ‘Bloody Pit of Horror’ was originally a solo project that Cory was working on and he wanted Randy and me do some vocals on it. I was like yeah I’ll do some vocals on it but it should be a GWAR album and so that’s what turned the music and made it into a GWAR album, but Randy had never gotten around to doing his tracks and then Cory took that music and warped it a little more and turned it into the Cory Smoot Experiment and all the while Randy wanted to come in and record but he just never got the chance. He still does have the tracks and he’s out on the road right now with Lamb of God but he’s listening to them and he’s coming up with some ideas and he’s going to come record when he has a chance so maybe we’ll do a little digital EP or something which would be really cool and all the proceeds would go to the Smoot family fund.
LMB: That’s really awesome.
OU: Yeah it’s really cool that Randy would do that. Him just putting his name on it would probably sell more records than GWAR could sell so it would be excellent. Maybe I can find a way to embezzle the money.
LMB: Nick Landendorf, a candidate for Missouri State Legislature, recently said that Rush Limbaugh is the political equivalent to GWAR because he is so over the top. Would you agree?
OU: Yeah I guess I could see that but in the totally opposite way if there are symbols of the right and how disgusting and corpulent they are then the symbols of the left have to be equally extreme. I’ve never considered us left or right. We hate both of them very much… but we hate right people more. For some reason, of all the people we’ve killed on stage we’ve never killed Rush Limbaugh. I’m ashamed of us.
LMB: What do you think about Oderus Urungus as a write in candidate 2012?
OU: Absolutely not! I don’t recognize your political systems. I am already Lord and Master of this planet why should I want the puny title of President of the United States!
LMB: So no political endorsements from GWAR then?
OU: Of course not! Kill them all! Put them to the wheel! Break them! Herd them like cattle!
LMB: From First to Last front man Sonny Moore has recently made international fame as dubstep artist Skrillex. Korn front man Jonathon Davis is also getting involved in electronic music as J.Devil. What does GWAR think about the growing link between metal and electronica?
OU: We don’t know anything about it! We’re a f***ing Rock n’ Roll band! I’m sure there are kids out there that are into this stuff but rest assured it means absolutely nothing to me whatsoever! We will continue to plod our way through our dinosaur like metal compositions and blast everyone’s f***ing eardrums in the process. If it works for Motorhead, it can work for GWAR.
LMB: You recently spoke out against Dave Mustaine. Is there anyone else in the industry you’re particularly pissed off at?
OU: Not this week. If I pick only one person each week to get pissed off at it prevents getting too much attention.
LMB: GWAR has long been known for its theatrics and live performances. How do you keep your shows fresh?
OU: By rocking the f*** out and being talented and awesome. Also getting your dick sucked right before you go on stage. Being really high on drugs when we play is another thing we do that helps. Did I mention the blowjobs? Truly enjoying what we do is very important too…and tits hanging over the barricade. It motivates us. Tits hanging over the barricade are beautiful…unless they’re attached to a man, then they’re not so good… but they are in another horribly grotesque way when we realize it’s a bearded woman covered in tattoos.
LMB: A lot of people have said that your most recent record is a return to roots for GWAR. Are you done experimenting with different sounds and genres?
OU: I don’t know we just write the f***ing thing! Everyone’s like ‘Oh Oderus your new album is this’ or ‘your new album is that’. I didn’t know that! I didn’t know we really made it! I just stumble into rooms there’s microphones I yell and scream I break things and then the albums out. They don’t even tell me anymore unless of course its time to shill it. Schlep it. Plug it. On radio shows and newspaper article and in interviews like this! So yes there is still an album out called Bloody Pit of Horror and we’re still supporting that and I don’t even know what the question was anymore. What’s next?
LMB: That’s actually all I’ve got for you.
OU: THAT’S IT? How mercifully short this was! Well thank you sir for giving me time to blab about GWAR!
LMB: Absolutely! Thanks for sparing my life!