Blood, guts, gore, and—aliens? Meet GWAR, a heavy metal band hailing from Virginia. Or outer space, if you were to ask any of the members. This 1984 heavy metal band takes performing to a higher level, adding gory theatrics, characters, costumes, and props to their nightly shows. However, GWAR takes these theatrics to a whole new level. While many bands use props and get creative with nicknames and costumes, the “aliens” of the group have taken to utilizing built, bulky costumes and interesting names, to put it lightly.
Now that summer is officially here, Vans Warped Tour is in full swing and members The Berserker Blothar (vocals), BalSac the Jaws o’Death (guitar), Beefcake The Mighty (bass), JiZMack da Gusha (drums), Pustulus Maximus (guitar), Bonesnapper (backing vocals), Sawborg Destructo (backing vocals), and Sleezy P. Martini (backing vocals) are on their way to show us earthlings what this world has been missing.
It’s been four years since GWAR have released a new album, but during my interview with Pustulus Maximus himself, we chatted a little bit about their upcoming album, The Blood Of Gods, and what we can expect to hear at Warped Tour. And, of course, he gave me the inside scoop about what it’s like to be an alien on tour.
You guys have Warped Tour coming up. What have you been up to?
Well besides the usual drugs and alcohol, getting somebody to blow into my thing on my car that allows me to drive—because, you know, I got one of those DUI things. It’s just one of those things. I have to tunnel into Canada now, but that’s not a problem. It hasn’t stopped us yet. So things are gonna be alright.
That good to hear, I think? How do you prepare for Warped Tour?
We get a lot of sleep, a lot of not exercising. We’ve got a good pool going to see which one of us passes out on stage for Warped Tour. It’s not gonna be me, I can tell you that much. I don’t really sleep that much anyway. I’m gonna be wide awake, running around. It’s the fat ones you have to worry about. We’ve got a couple fatties in GWAR, I don’t know if you knew that.
Well, judging by the name Beefcake the Mighty…
Yeah, Sleepcake Goodnighty just didn’t have the same ring to it. It’s too soft.
Yeah. Not as hardcore. So after Warped Tour, you aliens are off to Riot Fest in Chicago. What are your feelings about returning to that?
Love it. I’m surprised they continue to have us back after we cover all of the Riot Fest goers in blood. Apparently, they’re used to it in Chicago. They don’t seem to mind when we come into town. But we love Chicago. It’s one of the only places that we don’t despise completely.
Huh. I guess being covered in blood could feel like a warm rain?
Well, sometimes. Sometimes we use old blood and that’s all cold. We strive to give you fresh blood, so that way it is warm, but there are no guarantees, especially when we’re doing Sandusky, Ohio. You’ve just gotta get blood where you can get it.
Good point. Now you guys have been wandering the earth for plenty of centuries and you’ve been a band for 30 years. How would you describe your time here?
Pretty horrific, especially in the last 120 days. But, uhm, it’s not too bad. But still, the earth is the only planet is the universe that has crack. You don’t find that anywhere else. These other carbon-based planets do not have crack. I mean, there’s space heroin, space weed and all that. But no space crack. Only earth crack, so we’ve got that going for us. And coincidentally enough, it’s the only planet where Donald Trump is president. So you’ve gotta take the good with the bad because that’s the bad. But otherwise, it’s been pretty f***ing good until that happened.
Well, that’s good to hear. What does a typical tour day look like for you guys?
Pretty much wake up, immediately, well I immediately take out my anger and frustration on the crew. You know, I blame them for everything: the hangover, not having my slippers ready. Then get drunk at breakfast, accost one of the other bands. Then you have somebody else apologize for you. That’s always the best. Everything’s water under the bridge for a while until you break their equipment, or intimidate their tour manager. Then you’ve gotta sit down and get a talking to by Sleezy. That’s pretty much a typical morning. That’s about up until noon. And then after that, it’s a full-on blackout until show time. I have glimpses of a couple notes and lyrics and then I just go right back to being blacked out again.
But the five of us in a room, there’s all kinds of smells and egos. I just tend to down a bottle and put it on autopilot for a while. But you time travel that way, too. You keep blacking out and it’s kind of like just traveling through time in the exact time that it takes to get to the future. And then you just wake up in the future.
That’s impressive that you guys get all of that done. You guys also wear your planets’ garb for shows. Does that ever get in the way?
No. Our battle armor is ergonomic. It may seem big and bulky, but you know, we possess the strength of—well, I possess the super strength of almost one and a half men. I’m very strong. But my wardrobe did not come from outer space. I attained it from a place from millions of years ago during the times of the mammoth and saber-tooth tiger. But I haven’t had the time to go out shopping for a new one, so I just have to stick with that. And they don’t make jeans in my size. I can’t get them over my big-ass feet. That’s the problem.
But you mentioned before that your slippers were important. How’d you get a pair big enough to fit your feet?
I borrowed some from Shaq. We go way back. He’s got a foot size similar to mine. I just had to cut out the toes. That was very astute of you.
Why thank you! Now, I read somewhere that you guys are skipping a year of your annual GWAR-B-Q to prep for a new album.
Exactly. GWAR-B-Q is fun and we have a good time doing it and didn’t want to stop doing it by any means, but it does need a massive amount of our time and once enough people tell you that you have to finish your record, you eventually have to do it. Especially when they start withholding checks (laughs). Then you’ve gotta just do it. So we just basically invited a bunch of kids from the local Guitar Center and recorded them playing. That’s what we’re gonna put out. We just put our name on it, so… We’ve got a couple of poorly-played Skinner songs, but we just kind of put a bunch of cuss words on, too, so we don’t have to worry about publishing lyrics. That’s what the record’s gonna sound like.
I mean, I didn’t wanna have to do anything. I’ve got enough on my plate as it is. Between doing interviews all day with you and I’m sure something will keep be busy for the rest of the day. I can’t be bothered to actually play music. That’s not what being in a band is about. It’s sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and ignoring your illegitimate children.
(Laughs) I saw you guys have a ton of music already—how will you choose what to play?
That’s a good question. I don’t know yet because Warped Tour is gonna be interesting because we’re gonna be performing to a lot of kids who have never seen us play before. So, it’s almost like, do you just jump out of the van and abduct them, or do you lure them in first with candy? That’s the biggest challenge there. So, I guess, probably just a good mix between old and new songs. I guess a best-of, if you will. But we’re not gonna let anybody down. That’s for sure. At least, not more than normal. So the disappointment will be about standard. I wouldn’t get too excited about it. But we’re actually figuring that out later today—our setlist. But that’s gonna be a mix of old and new. A bunch of songs that don’t suck.
Don’t miss as GWAR pulls into the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ on July 15 as part of the Vans Warped Tour. For more on these rockers, visit their site at gwar.net.