Posted by: Tony – Dec 15, 2010
St. Louis has an arch. San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. Washington, DC has the federal government and the world’s greatest chili dogs. And Richmond, VA has a heavy metal band from outer space that wants to skull fuck you. Slowly at first, but by the time they’re done, it’s violent.
Grammy nominated, banned in multiple municipalities and states, GWAR is here to offend you. Anyone who hails from Richmond and is a weirdo like me owes something to GWAR, whether they like it and acknowledge it or not. Nobody has been strange in RVA for as long as they have, and after over twenty years, they’re not just going strong, they’re gaining steam; they are producing albums at an alarming rate, and are touring more currently than they have during several periods in the past.
At its core, GWAR is art. Their music, costumes, stage show and presence all smack of a not-very-subtly crafted message of shock and gore; it shows hours of tireless work on their art. The costumes are incredible and the stage presence is ridiculous. Their version of political commentary is ripping the heads off of latex world leaders and, you guessed it, skull-fucking them. If you haven’t seen GWAR live, you have no idea what I’m talking about, so do yourself a favor and check them out on youtube. Better yet, go to their next show, wear a white t-shirt, and get ready to be covered in blood, guts, and green alien jizz.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with both of GWAR’s frontmen: Dave Brockie, and his character, Oderus Urungus.
IAN: It’s safe to say at this point that the Earth has been pretty well conquered by GWAR. Which planet is next?
ODERUS: We have conquered pretty much everything at this point. We did go back to outer space on the last album, checked it out, and when we were getting ready to destroy everything in all of space we realized that Earth is the only place that has crack. So we had to come back and stock up on crack, and we really haven’t left since then. We are planning on re-invading outer space again, after this record is over.We intend to bring our bloody choir to every fucking place we play on this tour. We will zombify them, and then use their zombified bodies to to make our undead shock trooper zombie army that we’re going to invade outer space with. However, the one thing that’s probably not going to work about this is GWAR’s tremendous talent for failing, miserably, over and over again. Every time we have an idea, you can put money on the fact that it really won’t work out the way we thought it would. But that’s okay! Failure is sometimes just as good as victory, as long as things are getting broken and I’m getting my dick sucked.
IAN: As long as you’re high on crack, it’s all good?
ODERUS: I wouldn’t say that I get high, the feeling is just different than not smoking crack. It is better, and if I don’t get it... Well, I was going to say that I get mean and violent, but it’s probably just meaner and violenter [sic]. I try and downplay the whole crack thing, it’s just like, I’m a crackhead! Sue me.
IAN: It’s well known that Flattus Maximus deforested the fertile crescent with his chronic flatulence. What impact does this have on international relations?
ODERUS: It’s a symbol of the impact that GWAR could have on the environment. GWAR could be used by the governments of this planet in a more constructive manner. For instance, during the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, GWAR has, in the band, the largest pumper of nasty organic material in existence.I am talking about Flattus’s butt. We can fuckin’ shovel more shit through that asshole than any supertanker could ever handle. We could have shit that well shut after just a few buffets at Denny’s.Flattus would have performed a fecal top-kill maneuver on it. I could easily irrigate the entire Sahara Desert with my fucking cuttlefish. But no! No! The governments of the world are too fucking concerned that I’m gonna end up butt-raping the pope on national television that they won’t talk to us about these things. Then again, we wouldn’t help them, anyways.
IAN: They’re asshats. If you could only skull-fuck one more human, who would it be, and why?
ODERUS: Which human? Justin Beiber. Everyone’s been begging me to kill that little fuck, and I don’t even know who he is. But yeah, that would be him.
IAN: Nice. So, the entire human race was created when GWAR went on a fuckspree with prehistoric animals. Why is it, then, that humans are such pathetic, puny fleshbags?
ODERUS: I don’t know. When I was fucking various animals, trying to create a new form of life, I was hoping to get some kind of super cross between GWAR and apes, like a war-beast creature. Maybe with wings? But instead I got these pink, hairless wimps. But you know, you guys, one thing we have to give to humans is that they do have some pretty interesting inventions. We gotta give it up to you guys for coming up with heavy metal, squirt cheese, the rubic’s cube... There are a lot of interesting things that the humans do. There’s a flipside: everything else you do completely fucking sucks. So, I’m not really understanding how you guys got to be the way you are. I do have to take a certain amount of credit, being the creator of the race; I am kind of like your father, and you guys are kind of like my kids, except you guys are a retarded disappointment. At least Down Syndrome. At least a serious LD. I guess my penchant for corporal punishment, beating the shit out of children, I heartily approve. It isn’t really helping things, it’s probably causing huge brain growths to expand like cauliflower sacks of pus in your brainstems.
IAN: Do you know of a good travel agent on Scumdog? I’ve heard the beaches there are nasty.
ODERUS: Oh no, it’s terrible. The only reason they have beaches on Scumdogia is so they can practice amphibious invasions and have a place to shit. I mean, they’re really nice beaches, but there is just so much fecal matter on them that you can’t walk anywhere without stepping in a stinker. And, no travel agents, the only people that go there are either enslaved or kidnapped to be brought there to feed the endless war machine. Really not a place you want to have a vacation on. I would say try Flobcliff Eight.
IAN: If GWAR were to enter the Thunderdome, in a two-bands-enter, one-band-leaves scenario, who would you want the other band to be? Why?
ODERUS: Any other band on the planet would explode immediately. There’s plenty of bands I’d love to see in the ring with GWAR, top of the list would be that Finnish fuck Lordi. The one that apparently hadn’t heard of GWAR while he was busy completely ripping us off and using everything we’ve ever done. He deserves death, certainly, but as far as the other bands are concerned, I really wouldn’t want to slag them too hard or destroy them. Coming from a first person view on the whole thing, I understand how difficult it is, it’s a tough road. People think being a rock star is a big bed of roses, but there’s actually a lot of people doing all of my work for me all day so that I can sit on a phone and yell at people. So I guess, actually, I’ve got it pretty good. I’m pretty well off on the whole thing. A lot of other people have to die before I start killing off bands in the thunderdome. I’d love to take all the members of the United States Congress in there! That would take at least a week.
Alright. The next questions are for Dave Brockie...
ODERUS: Alright, I’ll go get him.
[I hear the phone set down on the table, and, I think, footsteps.]
ODERUS: Here he is.
DAVE BROCKIE: Hey, what’s up?
IAN: Hey, Dave, what it is?
DB: How was Oderus? He give you a hard time?
IAN: Dude, that guy is terrible. I can smell him from here.
DB: Yeah, he’s terrible.
IAN: Awful. How are you?
DB: Good! We’re out in Lincoln, Nebraska today.
IAN: Is there anything out there?
DB: Sure, there’s a whole city out here. It’s called Lincoln fucking Nebraska. Bruce Springsteen wrote an incredibly depressing album about this place. It’s great, it’s completely depressing and horrible. We’re in that weird extension of America, everything from Texas to the West Coast. There’s occasionally a landmark of civilization, and in between those, there’s not a hell of a lot. Everything between The Rockies and the Mississippi is just flat. There’s not a heck of a lot going on there except tornadoes, Indian burial grounds, and broken vehicles.
IAN: Do you ever get the urge to snap into character when you’re getting really shitty customer service? Have you ever flipped the fuck out on someone at a Burger King?
DB: Ha! I’d love to be able to do that, but it doesn’t work at all. People just think you’re absolutely fucking crazy, and then they get mad at you. I wish I could whip out the Cuttlefish of Cthulhu and blast my way through any situation. But I have to remind myself that I do have to be a real human being at the end of the day. It’s a difficult lesson I’ve had to learn: the louder you yell at people, the less they listen to you. It’s one thing when Oderus is yelling at you; people like that. I’m so deaf from years of being in bands that I just yell at people, and they think I’m yelling at them but I hear myself in a normal conversational tone. And then, what makes it even worse is that when you really do yell at someone, it’s mind-numbingly loud.
IAN: Leonard Cohen is, I think, seventy-six years old. Does he still have it?
DB: Sure, definitely he does. Just because you get old doesn’t mean you lose it. You get to the point where you have so much of it that you’ll have it for the rest of your life, and even after you’re dead. For instance, and this might be a little hard, but I was thinking about it last night- Metallica. They still have it. They might have put out ten crappy records in a row, but the shit that they did that was so great is so good and it will still be good. I’m sure if Cohen wanted it, he could have a sixteen year old naked blonde Korean child sucking his nuts. So yeah, he’s got it.
IAN: What’s the biggest gun you’ve ever shot?
DB: I shot an AK. Nothing particularly obscene. Casey [Orr, “Beefcake the Mighty”] shot a fifty caliber one time. He wouldn’t stop pulling the trigger. He shot off a couple hundred rounds, apparently it was like six hundred bucks in ammo. The dude was yelling “Stop! Stop!” but once he started pulling that trigger, rockin’ that ma deuce, he couldn’t stop until the belt was empty.
IAN: Why haven’t you moved into local politics in Richmond?
IAN: If Dee Snider can get a radio show here, you should be on city council by now.
DB: Well, that’s a national radio show, isn’t it? He’s all over the place with that. I’ve often thought about doing something like that. There’s just not enough time. Like anything in my life, I like to do the best job I possibly can at it. GWAR right now, really the last couple years--I know it sounds weird for a band that’s been as long as GWAR has to be taking off. It’s gotten to the point now where when I wake up in the morning, I can spend every single second working on GWAR stuff. This goes for everyone in the band and all the artists that are supporting us. We’ve never been more intensely busy and challenged by all the things we have coming up right now. It’s a super intense time and I just don’t have time to think about politics right now, other than the fact that I completely loathe politicians. I think it would be one of those things where people, you know, they want to become a cop for all the right reasons but after a couple years they become warped and perverted by the system itself. I don’t know how long I’d be able to handle it. Richmond especially, they have such a reputation for corrupt politics, and I have a reputation for being a sponge for all things naughty. I don’t think I would do too well at it.
IAN: That’s why I think you would do well at it. What dirt could anyone possibly dig up on you?
DB: It could work really well, yeah, and I could see myself doing something like that in the future. We certainly have no plans on leaving Richmond. It has definitely been there as my home, and will be for the rest of my life. There’s a lot that I would like to do for our city. I actually have some really big plans for Richmond, if I could just get some of these rich motherfuckers to step up and get behind GWAR! I have some stuff on the burner here that would do no less than completely revolutionize the way that Richmond is perceived. Not just by our regional rivals, Charlottesville and Virginia Beach, I’m talking about the entire world.
The way I want to do this--and I know I might be tipping my hand a little early here--I think that Richmond’s [an] ideal spot for a museum that’s a museum of countercultural art, underground art. They say a lot of what we do is the low art movement--tattoo art, heavy metal, punk rock, customized bikes, all that cooky, crazy underground shit that’s been coming out for thirty plus years that is trying to make itself into a movement right now and doesn’t really have an outlet. We need a museum that could really get all those different ideas underneath one banner and kind of proclaim it. The idea comes from having a GWAR museum, and it’s kind of grown from there. What you have is a museum with all that crazy art, and then you have the guys from GWAR and the Richmond community as the stewards of the museum.
If you look at Richmond, it’s really the perfect place for it. Look at all the amazing bands that we produce, look at all the talented artists that the place produces. And yet that city has still barely gotten any respect from anyone because we’re just DC’s little bastard butt-boy. We get the trickle down from I-95, and we never get any fucking respect for all the amazing people in Richmond. GWAR should blaze the way and there should be The Museum of the Counterculture Revolution or whatever the fuck you want to call it, we should build it in Richmond fucking Virginia.
And you know what? We’d be doing for the local politicians what they’ve wanted for so long. They want Richmond to be accepted and respected as a city that means something. The problem is, they’re trying to do it in all the wrong ways. Getting us a baseball team! Celebrating our Civil War heritage! Or WHATEVER bullshit thing they’re trying out as a way to get people to visit Richmond. Fuck all that shit. Concentrate on what Richmond is fucking great at--making fucked up art and producing really fucking heavy bands. It’s not just a small stupid little thing, it’s an international movement. These bands go all around the world. GWAR is an international icon. Lamb of God is playing the Philippines in front of eighty thousand people. We have a power in our city that needs to be documented, needs to be developed, and a museum would be the perfect way to do it.
IAN: I’m for it! My next question is unfortunately political. Who makes the best sandwich in Richmond?
DB: Oh! You know, that’s a tough one. I’m not as up on my sandwiches as I used to be. There’s so many new restaurants in Richmond that I haven’t been able to catch up with a lot of them. I’m partial to-- At the old Village, they used to have a thing called an Egg and Anchovy burger. It wasn’t supposed to be the ingredients, they forgot to put a comma in, so I would always order the Egg and Anchovy burger. A burger counts as a sandwich. That was always my favorite one. It was an over easy fried egg with three anchovies on it, just a regular hamburger. That combination of dripping yolk, salty greasy fish, and hamburger is the best thing in the world. Unfortunately, they took it off the menu, so I can no longer have my favorite sandwich. I have to construct them at home. Don’t worry about any cheese, don’t get any lettuce or anything like that on it, maybe just one piece of lettuce and a few onions just for crispness, but when that egg pops and drips hot yolk all over the inside of the burger... Two or three anchovies at the most. It’s that perfect combination of salt and dairy and meat, oh it’s delicious.
IAN: Thanks for your time, Dave, take care and have fun out there!
DB: One more thing! We played the FunFunFunFest in Austin, Texas with Municipal Waste and Strike Anywhere, also on the bill were Bad Religion and The Vandals and all these old school California punk bands. Richmond went up against California in Austin, and let me tell ya- Richmond kicked California’s ass.
by Ian M. Graham