Gwar is a band that many of the “too good to give a chance” metal heads and punk rockers seem to overlook and keep under their radar which lead vocalist Oderus Urungus seems to enjoy even more. He embraces the mid sized but loyal fan-base that the group does have. Many lineup changes have occurred since Gwar landed on this planet in the late 80’s but nothing as detrimental as the recent passing of their guitarist Flattus Maximus, played by Cory Smoot, who played a major role in the past eight years that the band has been playing a more heavy metal sound.
Being a fan of Gwar for many of my twenty-three years on planet Earth, I still didn’t know what to expect after scheduling this interview with the bloody frontman, Oderus. Would I get Oderus or his alter, human-like ego, Dave Brockie? What I stumbled upon was a truthful being who at times showed his alien side but more then most decided to answer honestly in a “give no bull shit” attitude. Read on to discover Gwars’ future plans, the life of Oderus and what Dave feels on the passing of his beloved human friend and alien band mate Flattus.
Rock Show Critique: This is Chris from rock show critique based out of Buffalo, how’s it going man?
Oderus Urungus: Hello, how are you?
RSC: Doing good man, Was wondering if you could fill us in on what you are currently up to these days?
Oderus: Well talking to you obviously, spreading the word about all that is good and gwary-ful about the mighty Gwar and the filthy things that we do for fun. Getting ready to come to your town, Buffalo, very soon and tear you the proverbial new one. Right now we’re in Des Moines Iowa , cultural hot spot on the second leg of our big, The Return Of The World Maggot Tour dedicated to the eternal memory of our forsaken fallen scum-dog brother. But, its been going swimmingly. Take the most of the next few minutes you have left as it won’t be long before we bubble out.
RSC: OK, cool man. You’re going to be on the new FEARnet series Holliston, premiering April 3rd, can you inform our readers on what to expect of the show. What was your involvement in it and did you have a chance to kill Mr. Dee Snider at any point?
Oderus: No, they purposely kept us out of the same room with each other because they knew our two titanic egos would do nothing but crash. I don’t know what to expect, except of course it will be great because I’m in it. They lied to me and told me I was the star of the show in order to kind of draw me into the whole Hollywood setting but it wasn’t too bad for hot chicks hanging around and my every fucking need was catered and pampered to. And gigantic cue cards which i couldn’t even fucking read but I went out there and made up my own dialog and they said fine Oderus, do whatever you want. Because basically unless they accepted my rewrites they were all gonna die!
RSC: All right, well with Flattus (Late Gwar Guitarist Cory Smoot) sadly leaving the planet recently, will Gwar ever feel the need to get another second guitar player to accompany Balsac (The Jaws Of Death) or are you trusting him not to fuck it up?
Oderus: Well right now Balzac is doing a municipal job filling in, covering for the missing Flattus, but as far as the future of Gwar and how we’re going to proceed, well we’re really not at that point yet. We’re just going to go ahead and finish this tour with Balsac blazing away, doing an amazing job on guitar and after this tour is over then we will see the larger question of how we will continue on without Flattus. Nothing stops a band from being a band and in a weird way this opened up other doors for us. Certainly the vocals have become a little more important then they ever were and I think Balsac also is very channeled as a guitar player and has risen to the challenge admirably. Gwar, due to the harsh fate that has dealt with us, has kind of recreated itself again as a band and this could be the most interesting transition of Gwar’s career thus far. You know, everyone knows our punk/metal roots and our broader, more experimental period and then to the wrath of the current metal style that we been playing for the past four records or so. A lot of that was due to Flattus of course and it will be very interesting to see which direction the band goes but we are not scared, we’re not intimidated and we know that whatever it is, it’s going to be fucking epic and awesome. That’s just the way that we roll.
RSC: With Flattus being more recent to the Gwar family, and the obvious change in musical style from albums like Scumdogs (Of The Universe) and This Toilet Earth to the more recent material, do you feel there is that big of a change from the more punk stuff to the very heavy and were there any specific influences at the time that help make the style jump?
Oderus: No, no. I don’t think there is that much of a difference. I think what has changed in the years Gwar has been recording music is the way that its recorded and the way that the songs are mixed. I think a lot of the metal today, ya know, even though a lot of it is digital clap trap, ya know, shit that people who have no business releasing records… we’re all for DIY but it use to be a hell of a lot harder for bands to make records and therefore it seems like, generally speaking, mostly only the good ones would do it, though certainly that wasn’t true all the time. Gwar’s musical connection has always been from the band members influence and the last 12 years, Flattus and his love for metal was so great and the whole way Gwar was looking at music and honestly I’m a huge metal fan and I know that beefcake is a big metal fan. Balsac is more of a punk rocker kind of guy and Jizmak, he just listens to many things so honestly I really don’t know what the fuck is going to happen but I’m sure it will be interesting and it will be unique.
RSC: I know you get huge “pops” at your shows when you do early album medleys like The Hell-O medley or the more rare songs like Vlad The Impaler like you did a couple years ago, would you ever be interested in playing a whole album, which seems like a trend now, but playing a whole early album for your more loyal fans?
Oderus: Oh, we been wanting to do that for a while, in fact that’s kind of what we wanted to do last year at the Gwar-B-Q but it didn’t quite work out that way. But sure, we can do stuff like that. We just haven’t gotten to that point yet. We’re still making new music, we are still making new records. That would mean we’re at the point where we gotta go back and learn all the old ones and play them all together. That’s a band I think that cares more about its past then its future and honestly I really don’t want to be that band. That project is not that interesting to me. I know Gwar fans would love that but as an artist it’s not something I can get super duperly excited about. That is, until, I get out on stage in front of the fans. I must say, as sick to death as I am of playing “Sick Of You”, when we play it live every fucking night, people go ape shit and that is a feeling that I will never, never seize to enjoy.
RSC: I know you’re a huge misfit fan and you got to tour with them in the past, is there any other band that you would be really pump to tour with and willingly try to make a run happen with?
Oderus: Well.. hmm.. most bands that I respect, I would never want to take on tour with us due to the provisions they may suffer on a Gwar tour. And that may be a reason no one wants to tour with us anyway. I would love to go on tour with fucking Motorhead. I’ve always loved Motorhead, Lemmy’s one of my favorite people. I’ve always thought a huge Slayer and Gwar show would be amazing. Gwar, Motorhead and Slayer. That pretty much would be the ultimate tour for me.
RSC: Whats your favorite Gwar Album? Your favorite one to work on, tour behind, the most fun you had with the group since the beginning
Oderus: Well that’s impossible, they were all fun. You know the first one was probably funnest as far as…. we were just babes in the woods. I suppose as far as feeling satisfied about our work, really know what we were doing and kicking ass in the studio, the first time we ever really did that was America must be destroyed which is still right up there with me, in my opinion, as the best Gwar record ever. But as far as fun, the last ten years have been really fun. The shows have been really fun. Gwar have been re adopted by the metal community. After years of un-equal chilliness, we branched out on our metal roots and the last one was just great. Its been great to be apart of that disgusting family again and we will continue to set the example of stinkiness that you goons enjoy.
RSC: Thanks Dave for taking the time to do this even though tragedy has recently struck you and the band hard. Thanks for still touring and doing this for the fans and for the memory of Cory. Oderus lives. Gwar lives.
Oderus: Well we have more reason to do it more then ever. We’re pushing on and nothing’s gonna stop Gwar man. We have too much shit to do still, there’s still no Gwar video game, There is still no Gwar gigantic full length movie, there is no Gwar TV show and all these things that we know that should happen for Gwar still haven’t happened yet but the whole time Gwar just keeps getting bigger so therefore they’re going to happen and when they do its gonna be the biggest thing ever.
Special Thanks to Jon Freemam for setting up this interview