An interview with frontman Oderus Urungus/Dave Brockie
GWAR is still in the middle of their 25th Anniversary Tour and recently performed for the first
time on national television as a music guest on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." The theatrical,
shock rock band is well known for their live shows--fans proudly leave GWAR concerts
drenched in fake blood.
GWAR has released a plethora of albums, including last year's Lust in Space and the band
from another planet is back with Bloody Pit of Horror, set for release Nov. 9. You can catch
GWAR as they are currently touring in support of the upcoming album.
I got a chance to catch up with Oderus Urungus (lead killer/singer) before a recent Ohio show
to talk about the new album, current tour and 25 years of GWAR.
OOTB: So you're a week into the Bloody Pit of Horror Tour, how is the killing going?
Oderus: Really good even despite the shitty economy and so many tours out there tanking.
Pre-sales aren't that great, but people are coming out last second 'cause they need their
GWAR. People want to know what the Bloody Pit of Horror is. And I explained the Bloody Pit of
Horror is the same thing that has been happening at every single GWAR show. It's whats going
on in front of the band while we are playing. It's kind of our way of making the crowd part of it.
OOTB: What can your fans expect from this tour? Anything different?
Oderus: Well, we are very aware that we came back at ya very fast. Because this is the 25th
Anniversary and we were so audious as to make it two years long, we decided we just had to
destroy! Just do more than we ever had before and just keep piling on the heavy metal. On this
tour we wanted it to be just as bloody and horrible. We turned up the violence, turned up the
blood and turned up the metal. And turned down the plot just a little bit but it's still in there. More
kind of like a basic GWAR show that concentrated on the music and some really good fight
scenes. Its gone over really well so far. People are saying it's our best set in a long time. The
setlist is brutal! It has everything from "Hell-O" to "Scumdogs" to the new stuff. It really
showcases 25 years of this band.
OOTB: GWAR's new album Bloody Pit of Horror drops Nov. 9th, what can fans expect?
Oderus: It's wickedly sick sounding! We tuned down a whole step I think. If you listened to the
first song "Zombies March," it has this really guttural, dirty, distorted sound. It's the heaviest shit
we've written because you can't make regular scales sound as heavy as these low scales. We
didn't want to abandon the idea of telling stories with our records, but we've done that the last
two records to the full extent that the entire album was a different chapter in the story of
GWAR. This year, about half of the songs are narrative oriented and the rest are a bunch of
slaughter anthems. We had a lot of fun making the record and I think it shows. We got long
time slave faithful Matt Maguire to do the cover art and it looks amazing! It's the perfect windup
for the 25th Anniversary which early next Spring will be coming to a close finally after two years
of nonstop mayhem.
OOTB: So did ya ever think when you started GWAR back in the day that you would
still be doing it 25 years later?
Oderus: No way! Back when we started GWAR we didn't think we would be doing it a month in
the future much less 25 years. It took about the first three years for us to realize that we had
something really special. That was actually going to record albums and tour and go to Europe.
But even after we've been doing that for a few years we still didn't realize just how unique and
how supported GWAR was going to be. I think when we finally hit the 20th Anniversary thats
when we realized that this thing is going to go as long as we want it to. As long as we keep
making good art and music, we're going to want to keep doing it and I think people are going to
keep digging it!
OOTB: What contributes to the success of GWAR?
Oderus: I think first and foremost is the humor. It's a great way to relieve the stress of everyday
life. It's to be able to laugh at it. GWAR takes society's biggest taboos and we provide an
environment where you can aggressively, but safely, kind of engage in a cathartic group ritual
that purges you of all these evil emotions. All the frustration, guilt can be washed away in
waves of blood and satisfaction. Personally, thats what I get out of it. GWAR makes me laugh!
And I think thats the most important thing in life and that is to be able to enjoy yourself. As far as
what other people get out of it, I'm really not sure. It takes all kinds to get into GWAR. I'm not
about to tell people why they should appreciate us, I'm just glad that they do.
OOTB: Do ya think now after 25 years people are taking GWAR seriously?
Oderus: I think they take our music more seriously and people have always given us credit for
having one of the best if not the VERY best show in rock n' roll! Especially considering we've
never worked with major budgets. And we really give more band for your buck! And we keep
our ticket prices reasonable after all these years.
People always took our show seriously. We started out with Hell-O which was basically a punk
rock album. Then Scumdogs of the Universe, which was a pretty solid thrash metal album.
Then America Must Be Destroyed was a half-stilled metal album. Then the next five albums
we played all kinds of weird shit! And so people really didn't know what kind of band we were.
And I don't think we did either. And I think that we played into the criticism of GWAR that the
show is more important than the music. So we worked really hard to bring the level of the
music up to the level of the live show. We achieved that for the first time with Violence Has
Arrived in 2001 and we've been working on that same kind of buzz ever since. People are
definitely taking GWAR a lot more seriously than they used to.
OOTB: Whats in the immediate future for GWAR?
Oderus: We are doing a pay-per-view thing on Halloween, if you go to www.gwar.net you can
sign up and its relatively cheap! We are going to New Zealand and Australia in December,
stoked about that! That takes us to the end of the year and then its anybody's guess. Settling
down in our new studio, rocking our asses off for the rest of the 25th Anniversary and keep
working on all those great things like: a GWAR videogame, a GWAR movie, getting GWAR to
Japan. All those things we haven't been able to do yet, but we know one day we will achieve!