DATE OF INTERVIEW:
15th August 2010
METAL DISCOVERY: How was the show for you today? Did you enjoy the show?
ODERUS URUNGUS: Great! We had a fucking great fucking show! We fucking got there ten minutes before we were supposed to be on stage; we threw that shit out of the bat-shaped helicopter, we hit the stage hard…we immediately fucked up and completely missed a song! We were all looking at each other but we didn’t bat an eyelid, we just kept bludgeoning forward and, after a flurry of blows, I ripped off Satan’s head and fucked his bloody neck stump, and I blew a huge load on everyone. It was fucking great!
(Oderus Urungus on a GWAR show that never came to fruition)
"He rips his hands off the nails and comes down, and we rebirth Ozzy as the true prince of black metal. But, then, a giant bat comes out and bites off his head. It was gonna be fucking beautiful."
Gwar performing at Bloodstock Open Air, Catton Hall, 15th August 2010
Photograph copyright © 2010 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Official Gwar Website:
Official Gwar MySpace:
Scumdogs of the Universe (1990)
Thanks to Mike Exley at MEPR for offering and arranging the interview.
America Must Be Destroyed (1992)
There is no other band on the planet like GWAR. That's probably fortunate for humankind. Depravity personified in the form of shock rock and theatrical decadence that transcends any other artist or band in the scene attempting a similar show, the American stalwarts have been practicing their bastardized satire for twenty five years as of 2010 and, still going strong, they look set to continue for many more. Releasing what's been hailed as their finest album since seminal work 'Scumdogs of the Universe', last year's idiomatically batty 'Lust In Space', GWAR have re-established themselves as a dominant metal force beyond their onstage histrionics. Due to perform at Bloodstock Open Air last year before cancelling, they finally make it over to the UK in 2010 for an appearance on the festival's final day. Around four hours after their show, as Cannibal Corpse can be heard in the distance blasting out their old school death over on Bloodstock's main stage, I sit with GWAR frontman and founding member, Oderus Urungus, aka Dave Brockie, in the band's dressing room backstage. Offered the opportunity of an interview in or out of character, I tell him however he wants to answer the questions is cool. Clad in only his underwear and with beer in hand, he chats away enthusiastically, seemingly alternating between Dave and his alter-ego, Oderus...
This Toilet Earth (1994)
Carnival of Chaos (1997)
We Kill Everything (1999)
Violence Has Arrived (2001)
War Party (2004)
Beyond Hell (2006)
Lust In Space (2009)
Bloody Pit of Horror (2010)
MD: It doesn’t get much better than that!
OU: It doesn’t get better! We thought we gave people of England, and people here at Bloodstock today, the GWAR show that has been so sadly missed. It’s finally back, and it’s finally where it needs to be, and we’re just gonna keep bringing it.
MD: It brought a lot of life to the festival on the third day when people are a bit tired and flagging.
OU: Yeah, I heard the weather had been a bit shitty before…[burps loudly]…
MD: Yeah, and the show hit ‘em like a sledgehammer.
OU: Yeah, I’m really stoked and the reaction has been super fucking amazing and just nothing but…you know, it’s great when you’re an intergalactic rapist who basically has fucked people’s nations off and they’re going…[adopts Eastern European accent]…“Yes GWAR, please kill my girlfriend, it’s wonderful…We are from Poland, ohhh yes!”
MD: Last year’s album ‘Lust In Space’ entered the Billboard top 200 at number 96 in the States – does such success surprise you in an age of downloads?
OU: Well yeah, it’s surprising, but it’s kind of a chimera in that it’s a creature that’s true nature is hard to perceive. Now, on the surface, it looks like – “ohhh yeah, GWAR’s selling tons of records, they’re in the top 100” – but, what the reality of it is, all bands used to sell a lot more records. We were in the top 200 about ten albums ago and we sold five times as many records so, actually, we’re proportionally selling more records than we ever have but everybody took at least a seventy per cent hit on their sales, and that’s because of the internet. That fucking getting in the fucking…as something as stupid as…“ohhh, the billboard top 200”…really made people pay attention.
MD: Definitely, yeah, yeah.
OU: It fucking made people like – “What?! GWAR?!”
MD: Back on the map.
OU: Yeah, exactly. We worked hard for that. It was very gratifying.
MD: Marvellous. You have a forthcoming new album later this year, ‘Bloody Pit of Horror’. Has that title been stolen from the old sixties horror movie?
OU: Oh yeah, completely, I admit it! That’s why we’re calling it ‘GWAR’s Bloody Pit of Horror’, just in case we get sued or something. I just thought it was a beautiful name to steal. In fact, like a lot of GWAR things, I stole it without even realising I stole it! For a while I thought I’d pretty much made it up, then people actually showed me the movie and they were like “Oderus, there is a movie and everything”; I’m like “oh, okay, well, it’s so old that people won’t care”. But yeah, in a way, this album is kind of our nod towards horror. This is like our take on what horror is and every song is a different interpretation of what the ‘Bloody Pit of Horror’ could be, whether it’s the inside of my twisted mind, whether it’s the slam pit in front of a fucking GWAR set, or whether it’s a…
MD: …a masturbating zombie Hitler…
OU: Sure, or something as broad as life itself. You know, so it’s all over the place. Every song is kind of like a different definition of what the ‘Bloody Pit…’ could be. So the new album’s darker, maybe heavier – it’s not so much ‘Lust In Space’, outerspacey characters. You know, we went and had our space adventure and that was awesome but we kind of got back to our bloody fucking roots on this one.
MD: You often use satire in your live shows to lampoon various celebrities and people – has that ever got you into trouble in that someone might have taken offence…
OU: Well, no, no…even as my dick is being rammed into their fucking mouths, they are still like “this is so cool!” You know, and just ask Marilyn Manson. It’s kind of a cultural award that you win when we are finally so obnoxious that GWAR gets around to killing you on stage. When we ripped off Sharon Osbourne’s tits a lot of people were really happy about that!
MD: Particularly Iron Maiden!
OU: Especially after the bullshit, and we did that right after that Maiden shit went down.
MD: Fucking good on ya!
OU: This is our way of saying “fuck you”, you know. We would never rip Ozzy.
MD: Oh no, nobody would do that.
OU: Actually, I’ll give you a total inside scoop. We had a whole story where what we were going to do, we were gonna do this thing where we brought out all the Osbournes – Jack, Kelly then, finally, Sharon – and kill them all horribly. And Sharon is just…[adopts English dialect]…“I’ll suck your dick, whatever”. We kill her, then we bring out Ozzy – he’s crucified on this fucking cross, right. He rips his hands off the nails and comes down, and we rebirth Ozzy as the true prince of black metal. But, then, a giant bat comes out and bites off his head. It was gonna be fucking beautiful.
MD: A bat bites off his head?! You have to do that show! There’s the ‘Bloody Pit of Horror’ right there!
OU: We just didn’t have the budget for it at the time. We couldn’t get Ozzy to agree to have a bat bite off his head. Jack, and Kelly, and Sharon were all like “oh yeah, we’ll do that”; Ozzy was like…[adopts English dialect]…“do I have to have my head bit off?” We’re like “yeah, that’s part of it”; he’s like “ughh, I’m gonna pass this time Oderus but get back to me in a few years.”
MD: Fucking brilliant! Obviously the front rows at a GWAR show are the target for getting a bit messy, but what’s the most random thing that somebody’s thrown at you onstage?
OU: Oh god…for some reason, people like to throw dead animals at us! Cats, pigs, sharks, chickens, fucking weevils, er…dogs. The worse thing though, for some reason people in fucking Norway thought it’d be cool if they saved up a giant vat of dog vomit to throw on us…and it made us all projectile vomit immediately. That was bad. Please don’t throw dog vomit on us!
MD: Not nice. Obviously the costumes have always been a big part of the show and band identity but have you ever lost them in transit on the way to a show, and do you have a contingency plan should that happen?
OU: No, we’ve just lost ourselves! I mean, we don’t read any map so well. Everyone’s like “just Google it Oderus”, I’m like “I don’t understand what you’re talking about.” Er, yeah, there have been instances where I’ve had to perform in the nude but always, even when these things happen, we just fucking rock on and, at the end of the day, it really is about the music. And I always have my dick with me so there will be spew no matter what. Even GWAR in its naked form is still one of the most powerful forces in music history!
MD: You can’t argue with that! 2010 marks twenty years since the release of ‘Scumdogs of the Universe’ which was a seminal, ground-breaking album for you – any plans to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of that at all?
OU: Well, we kind of skipped it and went straight to twenty five because we were actually de-thawed in 1985 so we’re on the twenty fifth anniversary right now. We are gonna celebrate the twenty fifth anniversary for two years because it’s such a fucking amazing anniversary that we figured we should just do twenty five for two years, and then go straight to fifty because, you know, we thought fuck it. And then we’ll do fifty for the next twenty years or so.
MD: Marvellous! You’ve hinted there might be a new Dave Brockie Experience album in the future?
OU: There are rumours.
MD: People want to see that I think.
OU: I don’t know if they do or not but the guys, the artists and musicians in the Slave Pit which is the production company that rules GWAR that does everything, that makes all the props, all the costumes, all the music, all the albums, we are always coming up with weird little side projects because the rubber monster thing is the greatest and we love it and it’s the thing we do the best, but we also feel the desire to get out there just like normal humans sometimes. So we have all kinds of side projects and there is talk of a new side project burbling sometime in the future. We banged out two fucking GWAR albums pretty fast, like ‘Lust In Space’ and ‘Bloody Pit…’…that’s two fucking kick ass albums…no-one’s heard ‘Bloody Pit…’ yet but it is, I know, because I already finished the fucking vocals and they’re fucking awesome. I think after that we’ll do a little side project but the whole time we’ll be working on new GWAR so, yeah, you never know. It’s just out of control and, now, we are a lot smarter by the way we do our business. We don’t sell our music to people anymore; we licence people the right to sell our music which is amazing because we own our shit and we just end up…and now, especially with all the download shit, you can write a track and have it out on the internet and make money almost instantaneously. So it’s given us a lot more avenues for our side projects whereas the GWAR album will be maybe more of a production, you’ll actually have physical CDs, and posters, and magazines. Also, you can release these side projects straight to the internet and, boom, you’re there and people are gonna support it and they’re gonna pay for it.
MD: Definitely. Finally, for people who’ll be reading this and have never checked out GWAR before – there must be a few people out there somewhere – what have they been missing all these years?
OU: They’ve been missing, undoubtedly, one of the most, definitely, without a doubt, the wildest show in rock ‘n’ roll history, and I’ll go up against Alice Cooper, fucking KISS, Lordi, Rob Zombie, and any of those other G-rated kiddie horror shows. I would say that GWAR is definitely the wildest show in rock ‘n’ roll history and it’s prepared for by the most dedicated, talented group of underground punk rock minded, but fucking metal…I mean, we really combine…we’re just the most revolutionary band that ever fucking existed! Every lesson from punk rock, and metal, and the circus, and every bit of the society gone made that we live in, and we created what we figured we would be interested in if we were going to bigger out what band we wanted to support. We were just like – let’s do it ourselves and see what happens and, you know, I defy anyone to stand in the presence of GWAR and be unchanged.
MD: Final good words. Thank you so much for your time.
OU: Fucking great, it’s been a pleasure.
MD: And an absolutely awesome, awesome show.
OU: [Enthusiastically shouting]…Thank you very much! Thank you sir! For us, it was our best show ever in England. We did a couple of shows in London back in the day in the ‘Scumdogs…’ era that were just like really over the top, at the Forum in front of a couple of thousand people, but this was the best show ever in the UK.
OU: Thank you so much for your support.
MD: Have a good journey back to the States.
OU: Yeah, and we’ll be back out on tour in the early part of next year so we’ll see you then.
MD: Will definitely check you out again.
OU: Alright Mark, have a good one.