For a quarter of a century, GWAR mainstay Oderus Urungus has been corrupting innocent minds and defiling all that is good and holy. Daniel Tucceri speaks to this vile beast of burden in an interview where he takes on everyone from Jerry Springer to Rob Zombie. Australia, be warned; for as long as they are headed to our shores as part of Soundwave 2014 armed with their thirteenth album, Battle Maximus, no one is safe and nothing is sacred
It’s a pleasure to be speaking to you over this shitty device we know as a telephone, Oderus.
Yes, but it is the only way that you can hear my words without your head exploding.
Well, I’ve lost most of my mental abilities since listening to GWAR over the years. I watched the ‘Let It Slay’ video and I thought that was pretty cool, since it reminded me of the time I took acid and went to the planetarium. Then I saw the video for ‘Zombies March’, and that was even cooler because you had a dead baby foetus zombie in it. So are you going to do another video for the new album?
Well, we haven’t had a chance yet and that’s a real shame because we worked so hard on the record and we were out the door immediately on tour. We just didn’t have the chance to get a video together. We have a video for ‘Madness at the Core of Time’, but it’s just a live footage sort of thing and it’s pretty cool but it’s not as theatrical and staged as some of those other ones. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to make one after this leg of the American tour’s over. So keep your fingers crossed.
I will keep my fingers crossed until they get snapped off and served as h’ors d’oeuvres backstage at the next gig. You must have some sicko ideas and fantasies you must want to realise for the next video?
Oh, certainly, an unbelievable amount and that’s reason why we really haven’t made it yet because the sick fantasies of the new video are so involved, so complex and so amazing that it would take considerable effort just to do it justice.
I look forward to it. I can’t imagine what it would be like, since with every one that you’ve put out, I’ve been disgusted beyond belief. It’s a pleasure, you know, a nice little surprise. You’re coming to Australia again for the Soundwave Festival. I’m not sure if you’re aware of an Australian band called Sadistik Exekution, they’re a complete pile of shit. That made me sort of wonder, what is your most favourite sadistic form of execution?
I can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s really horrible. I just laughed, since I don’t really have a word for it. Basically, what you do is you just feed someone nothing but milk and honey for a month, and then you just stake them down in the hot sun and you let insects eat them alive. Then you pour water on them, and then you feed them some more milk and honey. The longest anyone ever survived this form of torture was twenty seven days, so it can get pretty brutal. (note: this torture is known as ‘scaphism’, a Persian method of execution far worse than what Oderus described – look it up).
That sounds like a sort of tasty form of torture as well, though. It’s not without its benefits, it seems.
Yeah, I know, it’s like it’s really messed up and it starts out where you get all the milk and honey you want and then the insects are devouring your genitals!
I guess that adds a whole new dimension to being a glutton for punishment. Maybe that could be the topic for the new video?
If you like Unbelievably Bad things in your Unbelievably Bad zine, then I think you should definitely write about it.
We’re all about base level journalism. Speaking about all things base, Australia was founded by convicts. So why doesn’t GWAR just live here permanently? I always thought of you guys as being from a planet of convicts, so wouldn’t you feel more comfortable in a country full of them?
Well, I’m firmly convinced that after we are done with the Soundwave Festival that Australia will love us so much that they will not let us leave and we are going to dig a tunnel from Australia to Antarctica, because it’s really not that far away and we can just pop in all the time. It does really seem like that of all the countries in the world, GWAR would feel most at home in a nation full of insane convicts. I completely back that and I know that for a fact that this show will leave those that survive GWAR fans for life. The other bands on the bill will be lucky if they are not attacked and brutally murdered by the audience.
If there’s a clash with another band, would you annihilate the other band, or annihilate the audience, or annihilate yourselves?
We’ll do all of those things. What’s important to us is doing what we want to do and if that involves killing the other bands… well, our manager Sleezy P. Martini kind of stopped us, he insists that it’s important that we do not kill the supporting, opening or headlining acts and he’s made me stop killing reporters. That’s why I only do interviews over the phone. Generally speaking, stuff wasn’t getting published because I was shooting the messenger and that was apparently not very smart.
That’s okay, the editor makes me work from a cage anyway and I feel safe here. You’re on the same lineup as Rob Zombie, and he fancies himself as a sort of scary, horror-movie directing sort of guy…
He’s scary? Is he supposed to be scary?
He has a cowboy hat.
I didn’t get that with the cowboy hat! Or the regurgitated Dracula imagery. I thought he was a comedy act?
Well, if someone was still convinced he was scary, how would prove to them you’re actually a lot scarier and give them something to remember?
I guess the best thing to do is go to the show. Witness both of the shows and make up your own minds. GWAR puts on some of the sickest, most twisted, fucked up and spectacular horror shows ever and I don’t think anyone thinks it’s funny since we’re obviously very serious about what we do. I can’t believe that you would even put us in the same sentence as this Rob Zombie character, this vaudeville comedian!
My apologies, I just thought it would be good to inform the uninitiated and slap some common sense into them. Just off topic, in the song ‘Madness at the Core of Time’, you kept saying the words ‘Attack Ships on Fire’. That’s a Revolting Cocks song. Is that a nod to that band?
Oh, I love the Revolting Cocks! I’m happy, since you’re the first person that’s got that. The thing is they took that, as I did, from the movie Blade Runner.
Oh shit, yeah!
That’s where it comes from. ‘I’ve things you can’t imagine’ and ‘Attack ships on fire off the shores of Orion’. We’re not afraid to plagiarise, when necessary.
Speaking of revolting cocks, who is the most revolting cock in the band? Or, who has the most revolting cock?
Well, it’s gotta be me. I mean, c’mon, the Cuttlefish of Cthulu? It’s world famous for its girth, its weight and the shoot of its spew. It’s made more people pregnant than anyone else. You can get pregnant just looking at my dick.
That time you were on Jerry Springer and you met the mother of the boy you’d allegedly corrupted; she was kind of hot. Did you feel that you won her over in the end?
Oh yeah, she blew me in the bathroom afterwards. She liked me, yeah.
Yeah, she did seem angry at first, but I guess it was just passion directed back into love.
She wasn’t even the mother of that child! That whole thing was a set up and complete bullshit. There was a stage in American television where they actually interviewed real people who did real things, then they figured out it was a whole lot more entertaining if they lied about everything and it pretty much started with GWAR on the Jerry Springer Show. It was complete bullshit. That kid wasn’t even a GWAR fan. Black lipstick? What kind of GWAR fan wears black lipstick, except a hot chick maybe? If you see a dude wearing black lipstick at a GWAR concert, please punch him in the face.
The music you’re doing now is like a punch to the face. The direction seems to be more of a straight out thrash metal direction. You’ve experimented with rock and punk, so what’s been the main reason for the push towards this style?
We started out kind of as a punk rock band because that was basically all we were capable of. We started getting a little more metal with the second record and the third record was heavy as hell. Then we started diddling around with all kinds of musical styles until basically we didn’t know what kind of band we were any more. In 2001 with ‘Violence has Arrived’, we took on the form of music that pleased us the most and that was a kind of thrash metal punk collision. The albums have stayed consistent since then and have been getting heavier and heavier. The lastest, ‘Battle Maximus’, is the heaviest and most awesome one out there that we have ever done.
Did it help having people like Casey Orr (bass) from Rigor Mortis jump on and add their skills?
Yeah, maybe. I can see that. It’s kind of been a reflection of the musician’s mood at the time. The mood of GWAR over the years has been getting surlier and more ugly. I believe we inflict more damage and fuck up more shit that ever, so the albums have been progressively getting more reflective of that mindset.
Before I finish, I don’t know if you’ve heard of a guy called Chopper Read…
He passed away, I know!
…and he was the only one hanging around shocking and horrifying good citizens in Australia. Now he’s dead. Australia needs something to be shocked by. Like Jerry Springer, would you be so kind as to give us a final thought that we can all reflect on and consider before your shows?
Well, I want you think of nothing other than GWAR for every single minute of your life. I want you to deprive yourself of sleep, I want you to deprive yourself of work, I want you to stop loving people. All I want you to do is to get ‘Battle Maximus’ and listen to it over and over again whilst staring mindlessly at GWAR imagery to prepare yourself for the brutal GWAR invasion of Australia! As for you, I hope you can maintain your fine standard of being Unbelievably Bad.
For GWAR’s Australian dates, go to soundwavefestival.com