For more than 25 years, GWAR has been rocking stages and spraying audiences with various alien fluids.
Soon GWAR will attack Syracuse in a return visit to the Westcott Theater on Monday, Feb. 21.
Although this metal band formed in Richmond, Va. in 1984, members who go by names like Bonesnapper, Flattus Maximus and Beefcake the Mighty stand by the fact that they are actually alien monsters who were banished from Earth millions of years ago. They were frozen in Antarctica to wait for the cosmic summons that would result in their return to space but the effects of global warming prematurely thawed them. Ever since, they have been releasing their “shock rock” blood and guts to audiences throughout the world as they perform in full costume, complete with alien masks and armor.
And, no, we’re not making any of this up. Throughout their global travels, Syracuse stands out in the mind of Oderus Urungus, GWAR’s interplanetary correspondent; they last played at the Westcott in June 2010. “I do remember Syracuse,” he said in a phone interview from the band’s Antarctic fortress. “There were 800 people crammed into that tiny place and it was about 3,000 degrees. GWAR can play shows in zero gravity, but if the air conditioning doesn’t work, we can overheat rather easily.”
Urungus explained where GWAR has been in the past year during their 25th “slayabration,” marking their quarter-century of head-banging glory. He also discussed where they’re headed during their latest tour to promote Bloody Pit of Horror (Metal Blade), released Nov. 9.
“Right now we are chilling in Antarctica,” Urungus said. “Get it? We don’t believe in practicing and pride ourselves in doing absolutely nothing to prepare for our gigs. If we did, we might be even better than we already are! And then I just don’t think people could handle it!” However, audiences have not only embraced GWAR’s unabashedly ridiculous lyrics and savage metal music, they’ve thrived on it. With 12 studio albums to date, GWAR remains unbridled and unstoppable. But for a band whose ultimate goal is to destroy humans, they have shown some consideration for the fans who have adored them for so many years.
“We decided to do something nice for the human race and record Bloody Pit of Horror,” Urungus said. “I know it’s ridiculous to put out another record so soon, but we decided to say thank you for the 25 years of completely mindless adulation that they wreaked upon us.”
Bloody Pit of Horror is a departure from the style of their 2009 album Lust in Space (Metal Blade), a concept album telling the story of GWAR’s trip to outer space and return to Earth because they found no crack cocaine. “This record is not quite a gigantic story like that,” Urungus said, shifting creepily into the third person. “Just the first song with Oderus’ insane obsession with slaughtering the human race, turning them into zombies and then reinvading the stars with GWAR’s zombie-shock army. And then the rest of the songs are just random killing and mayhem.”
GWAR prides itself on the destruction it has already caused the human race and the lives they have already claimed. They make it a point to regularly slaughter a public figure during shows. “We basically turn on the news or open a paper and see who’s getting a lot of publicity and we drag them up on stage and kill ’em,” said Urungus. “I mean, we’ve killed Obama at least 30 times and there he was giving the State of the Union address. He’s a very durable president.”
Urungus was also proud to report killing Dana Carvey when GWAR appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last October. “Dana Carvey was actually very, very friendly,” Urungus remembered. “He came and met the band and we ran a sword through his gut. We kinda felt bad. I was like, ‘I wouldn’t have killed you, Dana, except you made that movie Master of Disguise and it was terrible! Just stick with Wayne’s World, brother!’ That was funny.”
When GWAR isn’t killing people or causing other disasters, like the creation of the Sahara desert or the disappearance of Atlantis, for which Urungus claims responsibility, they keep a busy schedule touring and recording. They have performed at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany, Bonnaroo, The Sounds of the Underground Tour, the Brutal Assault festival in the Czech Republic and others.
Urungus noted his favorite tour was the first they ever did, The Sounds of the Underground, with Opeth and Lamb of God. He also admitted to enjoying several bands including those that begin with the letter “B,” but could only remember Black Sabbath and the Butthole Surfers. Other than that, he listed Motorhead, but noted, “Not really because of the music so much, but the warts on the lead singer’s face. Motorhead is a perfect combination of warts and music.”
GWAR will be touring from Vermont to Virginia and Urungus urged Syracuse fans to come out to the Westcott. “If you are game to stand in the presence of the greatest rock’n’roll band in the history of this stinking planet,” Urungus shouted, “then get your hairy butts down to the GWAR show and witness, undoubtedly, the biggest entertainment apocalypse since Judy Garland!” Judy Garland? “Yes, that’s very important.
She was quite a train wreck and I think we do her one better.”
Opening for GWAR at the Westcott Theater, 524 Westcott St., will be Mobile Deathcamp, Mansrea and Ruination. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the show kicking off at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20 to $25 and are available at www.thewestcotttheater.com or at Sound Garden, 310 W. Jefferson St.