Interview conducted by Steve Centanni and borrowed / reprinted with permission from Volume Entertainment Mag - Vol. 1 Issue #8. Thanks Stace!
All live pictures by Mike Coles © The Outcast Magazine / ADKOI - Shots taken from my GWARchive - Feb. 1990, Nov. 2004 and Oct. 2005. More photos in the live photography section on the main page
(Does anyone have any GWAR demos that they would like to share?)
Why I Support GWAR
by Michael F. Coles
GWAR are definitely a band that have lasted the test of time and a band that have definitely paid their dues. Seeing them perform for the 8th time (and counting) this past Halloween, my first experience with Oderus and crew was during their Hell-O tour at the tender age of 14. When my mom picked me back up from Numbers, located in Houston, TX.., I honestly didnít know what I was in for, and neither did she, climbing into the front seat, while carefully trying not to stain anything in the vehicle. Covered in fake blood, sperm, and getting lucky enough to catch Oderusí brain after Techno-Destructo smashed his head in, I quickly smeared his remains onto my pants and shirt, wanting something to hold on to from my first experience (although I did take some pictures of the show with my 110 camera). For some reason, about a year ago I actually gave my original GWAR pants (I never washed them) to my friend Aaron in California. Why I sent the pants to him and why he would want them still somewhat baffles me.
Due to their unique artistic visions, both with costumes and live shows, there are plenty of closed-minded critics (Lieff, Lieff, Lieff ), and the like, that claim if GWAR knew how to play their instruments, that they wouldnít need costumes (I would personally still go and see a GWAR show if they did not wear the costumes), which is totally absurd!! You CAN NOT have GWAR without it! If these critics just closed their eyes, put on some headphones and truly listened to the MUSIC on the other end, they would see / hear what kind of musical geniuses they truly are. Although the first album (Hell-O) in my opinion is total punk-rock, and you can hear the metal influence (and a little punk) on all of the releases thereafter, in my opinion one can not simply put GWAR into one musical category / genre. But in the same breath, with the most recent albums; War Party and Violence has Arrived, metal is pretty much dominant, but yet again, a different kind of metal by some VERY UNIQUE MUSICIANS.
Being a Christian, some people question (even me at times) how I could listen to and support such "filth." Well, I guess to a degree it is filth, but thatís kind of the point. Dave / Oderus, call me if Iím wrong, but GWAR to me is a representation of the world and the worldís state, which is as filthy as can be. The final message to the fans at the bottom of this interview is the reason why I wanted to use this interview with The Outcast; "Oderus is trying to set an example of how not to live. So, please donít try to be like Oderus."
Dave Brockie to me is an artistic "child" trapped in an adult maleís body who is hurting just like the rest of us for living in such a fallen world, and he/they use GWAR for this release. Killing, decapitating, and mutilating (of course it is all fake) "victims" such as; Michael Jackson (supposed pedophile), George W. Bush (complete idiot and U.S. "president"), Dick C. (for being a dick), the newest Pope (supposedly affiliated with the Nazis in his youth), Gor-Gor (Um, yeah....), Arnold S. (do not really know why they "hurt" him), Nazi skin-heads (for being blind), and many other folks that GWAR, these artists, all despise. Can we all see the pattern here? Who exactly are they destroying? People who in their eyes spread negativity in the world and people who piss Dave and crew off, using GWAR, not only once again for release, but also to entertain some of us folks who UNDERSTAND where they are coming from. "Destroying" these people on stage, although maybe not the most positive thing in the world for us fans to watch, it really isnít any different than what the media shows the world on the news and in the paper. GWAR just presents it in their own way and the fans know (I hope) that GWAR is also for our release as well from this world and that us fans would never go and kill anyone in the name of GWAR. Well, I hope not anyway. But the bottom line; fantasy, music, and art, nothing more, nothing less. Maybe not the most "normal" and maybe even not the most positive art form, but as always, and as I always say, to each their own.
Once again, how can a Christian support such a band? Well, the greatest gift in my opinion that God gave us (which is also a curse) is free-will. I CHOOSE to support this band due to also being an artist. I know where they are coming from and Iím just as pissed off as them. GWAR (their music, not really them) was with me in the car not too long ago when I was on my way up to see a psychiatrist (a story all in its own and a waste of money/time). I canít recall all of the songs that "really hit my heart" or that triggered my inner childhood rage that morning, but GWARís music, Daveís lyrics, they have helped me release many tears as of late. Although some of his words are sarcastic (Sick of You, etc.), yet humorous (The Reaganotor, etc.), while others are just down-right absurd and pointless (Iím in Love With a Dead Dog, and a few others), most of the time they speak about reality and the things that happen in this screwed up world and Dave expresses it in his own way: GWAR's way. This is why I CHOOSE to support this act.
What about Daveís opinion on God/Christ, how can I support them with what they think about Them/Him? Well, Iím not too sure where Dave stands on this subject, but judging by one of their videos (Christ and Oderus playing basketball), and then the lyrics taken from the Ragnarock album and from the song Meat Sandwich - "In the name of GWAR - In the name of Love - In the name of the blood - dripping out of the sun - I call out your God - Till before me he stands - but donít send me Jesus - Heís only a man.", Iím going to assume that he isnít much into the Christ-Like philosophy. A lot of humans have issues with Jesus and the claim that Jesus is God in the flesh. I was also one of these people, but due to the things I have experienced in my life, in the name of Jesus, my opinion changed drastically (read Finding Mikey in issue #3/4 if you want to read more about this change). Bottom line with that is OPINION. I know my heart and I know where I stand now. Yes, bands like Slayer, Mercyful Fate/King Diamond, Burzum, etc. did indeed influence me on how I viewed God/Christ back in the day when I first got into metal, but I know who I am inside, what my heart desires, and who I strive to be, which isnít easy at all with my past and my "condition."
Anywayz, I guess this is long enough for an introduction to such a rather simple subject; "Why I support GWAR." The bottom line folks, GWAR ROCKS!! God bless GWAR!!
Peace, Love, Mike
Interview with Dave Brockie of GWAR
The human psyche is a strange thing. Sometimes it develops new personalities with which to deal with certain situations that present themselves. One personality remains dominant while the other is hidden until conjured up through personal experience. However sometime the recessive personality may take control for a time. Such is the case with GWAR front man Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus). When I first spoke with him, he was tearing into that first post-show beer immediately after destroying an audience in Manchester, England. I found Dave to be one of the nicest, most educated individuals I had ever interviewed. However, I found that he couldnít hold back his raging alter ego from interjecting in our conversation. Without further adieu, I present the strange case of Oderus Urungus, I mean, Dave Brockie.
Volume: What do you think has kept GWAR on top of their game for all this time? Yíall are still going strong after all these years.
Dave: Probably the biggest thing that has kept GWAR going is that weíre not afraid to not take ourselves seriously. Weíre dead serious about having fun, making art, and putting on the sickest show in the history of not just heavy metal, not just rock and roll but entertainment period. The very idea of a world with out GWAR is so disturbing that people would rather come into our houses and shoot us dead than let us not do GWAR anymore. They donít have to worry about murdering us, though. We love doing GWAR more than they love getting GWAR. GWAR still hasnít reached its apex yet. GWAR is going to last thousands of years. By then, cloning technology will be functional and fully operable, so when we die, we can have clones made.
Volume: When you started GWAR, where did you guys think you would be by now?
Dave: Over! I had no idea this shit would go on for as long as it had. We started doing it for fun, and when we got our first record deal, we were blown away. I had never even been to New York City before, and then there I was in New York recording an album. We recorded the first record in five days and slept underneath the mixing console. We had to find a way to feed ourselves for five days and get drunk, and we thought we were in Heaven. Here it is almost 20 years later, and it hasnít stopped. We have the respect of millions of people. Even though we have a lot of posturing about destroying the world, GWAR is really a force that brings people together.
Volume: I know you like to change up the theme or story of the live show. Whatís going to be the theme or story for the Sounds of the Underground tour?
Dave: Weíre designing the show right now; itís going to be a different kind of thing for us. First, all the bands are playing shorter sets. Even though we have "Special Guest" status, weíre still kind of like the halftime show. We only have 30 minutes to play. So, we have to cram as much as we possibly can into there. Weíre going to be playing in front of seven to eight thousand people a night and a lot of people havenít ever seen or heard GWAR before. Theyíve heard the hideous legends, but theyíve never seen GWAR before. We have to understand that the stage is a lot bigger, so itís a whole new ballgame. Weíre trying to figure out how to adapt the show and step it up to the next level where we can play arenas. We want to prove to everyone that not only does our show rule, but we can do it without destroying the PA, messing up the monitors, pissing the other bands off. Thatís just not the way we roll. People see us and see how tight our crew is because we are the crew. We donít trust anybody else with our stuff. We donít want to give away any secrets, but we have a lot of ideas. We see this as a golden opportunity to fuck with people.
Volume: Youíre releasing your first live album Live from Mount Fuji. What made you release a live album after all these years?
Dave: Well, weíve always wanted to do a live album, and we had a lot of tapes of the last tour, which sounded really good. We didnít want to just put out an album like (game show voice), "GWAR: War Party the Live Album!" We wanted to make it more fucked up. We never played in Japan, so we were like, "Why donít we make up a concert?" GWAR is from Antarctica anyway...NOT! Why canít we have a show at Mount Fuji? So, we totally lied about it.
Volume: Speaking of Live from Mount Fuji, I was introduced to you guys with the video Live from Antarctica. I bought the CDís as well as the videos Phallus in Wonderland and Rendezvous at Ragnarok. Do you have any movies or DVDís for the future?
Dave: Weíve been doing the anti-movies and DVDís. They used to give us gobs of money to make these elaborate movies and videos like Phallus in Wonderland. It was wonderful until the end of the day. We ended up working so hard on them and owing the label so much money for them. It was just really important to do it in order to establish the legend of GWAR. Now weíre at the point in our career that instead of blowing our own money on this, we rather spend it on new smoke machines or production for the show. Weíd really like to see someone come along and give US some money for making a GWAR movie. (Burps) I donít understand why some fucking producer doesnít have the balls or the vision to see the fact that a GWAR movie would be a cult classic that has to be made, but Iím not going to bust my nuts to do it. Iíve got the band, the talent, the scripts, and I got the crew. You, Mr. Hollywood Producer-asshole, step up to the plate and make a fucking GWAR movie. Itís just like this Sounds of the Underground tour, they didnít want to put us on this tour, not because they didnít like GWAR, they love GWAR, they just had this misconception that it would just fuck everything up, and maybe it will. I donít think so; I think it will be the greatest thing ever.
Volume: You guys have been at the base of controversy several times. I remember you were on Springer once, and they were trying to blame you for all the evils of the world. The irony is that if you actually read your lyrics, youíre always bringing to light the worldís problems. How does it make you feel when you have people dogging you out like that and just not getting the concept?
Dave: I would feel sorry for them if I gave a shit, but I donít. GWAR is an intellectual experience as well as a primal experience. For people who slag our music are stupid. They donít understand our politics. They rather hear (Cookie Monster voice) rah, rah, rah. Itís a crock that punk/metal bands sing ballads. To me, it sounds like fucking shit! The reason they donít include lyric sheets is because they ainít got nothing to say. It sounds all wicked, but when you get down to the ideas that the bands are presenting - besides the fact they are musically adept - they got nothing to offer me. They're all like, "Our songs are our aggression felt toward society." Well, why do you feel that way? "Uh, I donít know." Well, shut the fuck up then! Being hard and full of anger isnít enough. You have to articulate what you want to do with that anger. Anger for the sake of entertainment is about as exciting to me as The Oprah Winfrey Show. Itís the easiest thing in the world for a band to criticize religion. When they say that Satan is great, thatís just as asinine as worshipping God. Fuck that, and fuck you too. Take your fucking opinion and shove it up your ass, you fat pimply fuck! When your band is over, GWAR will still just be starting. Weíre going to crush this world by the time weíre done. I feel contempt, hatred, and pity, but Iím just delighted that GWAR is coming back to take a lot of these young pups who doubt or talk shit about GWAR and grind their faces into pulp. Anybody whoís ever talked shit about GWARís music, this is their last chance to back away from that statement and admit that GWAR rules!
Volume: Do you have a message for the fans?
Dave: I love you guys! Thanks for all the support from you guys and gals. Oderus is trying to set an example of how not to live. So, please donít try to be like Oderus.