When I think of the metal band GWAR, a million and one things come to mind. Original, fun, crazy, heavy and theatrical are just a few adjectives to describe them. I recently had the honor and privilege of interviewing Oderus Urungus, the lead vocalist. We chatted about everything such as their new record, Battle Maximus, the annual GWAR-B-Q, their new beer, the future, and so much more. Check it out below and let the fun begin:
Oderus, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. You guys are about to release a new record, Battle Maximus, available Sept. 17. I know you spent about a year and a half working on this record. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
Well we certainly took our time. After [guitarist Cory Smoot, aka Flattus Maximus, who passed away in 2011] left, we didn’t have much of a choice. Flattus had laid down the law, and the law was metal. As much as we will always be hilarious, we decided the nature of the times left us no choice other than embracing on the only sound that makes us truly happy—the sound of metal.
He led us out of silly-band-land and made us heavy as fuck again; I am not sure if we were ever really as heavy as we could be until Flattus showed us the way. It was the only way for us to go and then our guide was snatched away from us. So we had to proceed with considerable caution.
Some people have said that this may be the heaviest thing you guys have ever done. Would you agree?
Hard to say. As an artist, it is always hard to judge your own work; you are too close to it to really say what it sounds like. Of course, we like it! But we really like ourselves. It certainly doesn’t sound like ballet or symphony music. It does sound like a bunch of puppies being strangled; I guess it does sound like a new GWAR album!
As everyone knows, you guys all went through a rough time as a band losing a brother. I imagine recording this album must have been very therapeutic for you guys.
It’s about the toughest thing a band can go through, especially in the midst of a tour. But as they say, what does not kill us makes us stronger. Somehow we took what had happened to us and made positive come out of it. Not quite sure how we pulled it off, but after all, we are the mighty GWAR!
I’m so glad to hear something positive came out of that situation. I also saw that the new record has 12 tracks on it. Are there a lot of songs that didn’t make the cut?
I think there are two or three that didn’t make the cut, which will be on foreign releases, etc.: That Kansas cover [“Carry On Wayward Son”]… “The Wheel Of Punishment” song that we did for Dan Patrick, plus there are a couple of other gems. We wrote a lot of material for this new album and only used the very best tracks!
Awesome, I cannot wait to hear it all. GWAR also announced a solid fall tour lineup to go along with the album! Will there be any bells and whistles that fans can expect on the tour, other than your normal chaotic amazingness?
Ha, I don’t want to give away any surprises and there are so many people that deserve death. It will be your typical bloody mess of a GWAR show and I am sure people will be very happy with our choice of victims!
And of course, we have to chat about the GWAR-B-Q you guys just had. The lineup looked awesome. Do you ever think that this could become big enough to be somewhat of an institution of music, like a traveling thing if you will?
Maybe one day, but for right now, we have our hands full just getting it together here in Richmond!
And you have a new beer!
Yes we do. GWAR’s Brutal Brew, brewed especially for the GWAR-B-Q. I think we drank every last drop.
Aside from the beer, you guys have done so much with music, touring, videos, action figures, comic books and more. Is there anything at all that you haven’t done that you still want to do?
We haven’t made a Hollywood-style action movie, a really disgusting videogame, or gone to Japan yet. We haven’t played on the moon either!
GWAR have been at it for so long and I truly feel like you guys can last forever, perhaps because you guys are characters that are constantly changing. Do you think GWAR will continue this for a little while longer?
A little while? How about an eternity? After all, we are immortal!
You can catch GWAR at the Starland Ballroom on Sunday, Sept. 15. Their new album, Battle Maximus, will be available Sept. 17. For more information, go to gwar.net.