This weekend, a music festival will take place that people will be traveling to from all around. A diverse group of bands will play, and this resurrected annual event will be a gathering point for many. No, of course we’re not talking about Lollapalooza, we’re talking about the GWAR-B-Q! Sure, the indie rock staple in Chicago might have Soundgarden, but does it have Little Ozzy? GWAR mastermind Dave Brockie caught up with Metal Insider to talk about this weekend’s festivities, their forthcoming album (and second in a year) and what the future holds for the band.
So tell me a little bit about the new album.
Well, we’re working hard on our new album, slaving ceaselessly for our masters GWAR. The new album is called GWAR’S Bloody Pit Of Horror. Yeah, we’re fully aware that there’s a weird Italian horror movie from the 60’s called Bloody Pit Of Horror, but it’s not called GWAR’S Bloody Pit Of Horror, so we changed it just enough to not get sued. After Lust In Space was over, we still had a whole ton of awesome songs and we just dove right into it as soon as that tour was over. Being the mightiest band in the universe, we decided to make our 25th anniversary two years long and release two brand new albums in that space of time whereas most metal bands you’d see out there, I don’t know, even the most prolific ones are lucky to get a new album out every two years. Here we are dropping two kick ass records over the course of just over a year after Lust In Space, this one will probably be out before the year is up. We’re just going as hard as we possibly can to show GWAR all the hopeless adulation and the incredible respect and love that they deserve. Yeah, it’s pretty weird how I speak about myself in a third person (laughing).
(Laughing) It’s kind of cool though. You have to turn it on and off I guess.
Yeah, the line has become so blurred that it’s pretty much indistinguishable at this point.
Was Metal Blade (your new/old label) surprised to hear that you were already going to come out with a new album so quickly?
I mean if they were surprised it was a pleasant one. Even with all the huge touring schedule we have this year and all the other cool stuff we have going on we were just like ‘We never want to forget what really got us here.’ Everyone knows GWAR for the crazy show, but I think a lot of people have taken our music for granted just because our show is just so over the top. You could be playing Tchaikovski up there perfectly and people would still say ‘Ah, the show was better.’ So we’ve always had, not really a chip on our shoulders, but that makes us try all the harder to make the music as awesome as possible. We just keep hammering people over the head with it, just over and over and over the head with it, and sooner or later they’re going to finally knuckle under and fall to their knees and let GWAR ream them for every drop of soul that they have.
What kind of growth can we expect from the album?
Well you know, we really have our own sound as a band. It’s really a mosh up of so many different types of music. Probably the best label you can put on it is thrash metal, but we have classic rock elements, psychedelic elements, I mean just pretty much anything that we want to get in the music that turns us on. I tell you, this record has got a very kind of dry, very live sound to it. We kind of wanted to make it the opposite of Lust In Space. Where Lust In Space was an epic, it told a story, there was a lot of visual imagery that went with it, we wanted to take GWAR’s Bloody Pit Of Horror in another direction. The last two records actually, Beyond Hell and Lust In Space, had full on stories behind them. So we decided to go in a little bit of a direction, even thought there is kind of a story to the Bloody Pit Of Horror, it’s a little more vague, it’s a little more abstract, it’s a little bit trying to be more evocative than maybe just banging people upside the head with it. It definitley will tell another chapter in GWAR’s continuing epic though.
How is the stage show changing if at all for the new record?
Well we’ve pretty much at this point have figured out that if we try to go out and build an entirely brand new show every single year it just kills us. So pretty much now what we have and what we’ve been doing, really since Violence Has Arrived, is pretty much the same show and then we just kind of plug and place skits into certain slots that we’ve got. Kind of like what KISS does. So we do the Lust In Space show and we have the space ship set, and we can bring it back a year after that and just change the songs, and in the slots where there was action, slide new actions into those slots, take out the old characters and just paint around that. To the fans, it appears to be a completely different brand new show, but to us we’re trying to be smart and save some money (laughs).
It seems like to me, and this is just outsider perspective-ish, that by appearing on Sounds Of The Undground for a couple of years you kind of ushered in a whole new audience that maybe had never heard of GWAR before. Do you feel that your audience has changed at all in the past few years?
Yeah, I mean it’s definitely grown. GWAR has been on a tear really ever since Sounds Of The Underground. I mean, it really was just perfect. We put out Violence Has Arrived, where we just decided that the band was getting a little too goofy. We really wanted to toughen it up, and on Violence Has Arrived we really went back to that full on metal sound, and once we accomplished that we started getting interest from some metal tours, and Sounds Of The Underground was the one we ended up going with. A lot of people thought we couldn’t even play that. Not only were they wondering what people would think of us, but they didn’t even know that we could physically manage doing a festival show night after night. Well, we did and we completely kicked ass, and went on to be on that tour three years in a row. Yeah, it opened up GWAR to TONS of people that had heard GWAR was kind of goofy, kind of a joke rock band, and then they finally saw us live and were like “holy shit! These guys are hilarious! They’re a joke band and are kind of goofy, but are also completely sick and awesome, and their music is bone-crushing!” So that was the perfect platform to announce our retooling before we set it loose on the world, and since then we’ve continued to see it grow and grow because after that was over then we started getting offers from Europe again, which had pretty much forgotten about GWAR. The next thing I knew, we had done Sounds Of The Underground, we were blowing up over in the States again, and then we started going back to Europe. We played the Wacken Festival over there and that really got us back in there, and now this year we’ve gone there twice, played huge festivals all over Europe. So Europe is totally back in our pocket. Then for further proof that the Scumdog cult is growing, now we’re going to be going over to Australia and New Zealand in December, and that marks the first time that we’ve made it to Asia which is absolutley amazing. So maybe that GWAR world tour isn’t that far away.
You’ve kind of blown up on TV via the show Red Eye on Fox News. How’d that come about, and what had it brought to you?
Red Eye totally came out of nowhere, and we had no idea that it was going to happen. They called me up and were like “Do you want to be on the show?” and I was like ‘Sure.’ They asked when I’d be in New York, and I just so happened to be in New York that night. So I was like ‘Well, I’m here right now.’ So they set it up the next day, and we did it, and Oderus just absolutely kicked ass. He was immediately charming and didn’t kill any of the guests, and they asked him/me back and just continued to knock them out of the park. So before I knew it, I had my own computer graphic and they were calling me their inner-planetary correspondent. Basically I just go on there once a month and mouth off about a bunch of stuff. I’m tickled pink that I’m on Fox News. I think it’s hilarious. Certainly a sign of the chaotic times we live in when Fox News is letting Oderus on television. It’s pretty funny that out of all the networks out there it would be Fox that finally gave GWAR major television exposure that we deserve.
Well you do kill Obama onstage.
Yeah, well they like that part I guess, too. But we killed Rush Limbaugh and all those other guys. They just kind of ignore that part. Every time I’m on that show, I’m pretty sure that it’s my last time, but they keep calling me back.
That’s awesome. Have you or Oderus gotten anymore TV appearance requests from it?
Not so much. Not yet. Yeah, I deluded myself into thinking that they were going to put me on like How To Marry A Millionaire or Bad Girls Club or something. It hasn’t happened yet. Right now, I’m still stuck with doing it solo on Fox News and that’s fine. That’s a great platform, and I’ve been on the show eleven times now, tonight will be my twelfth appearance. So that’s awesome. I’m pretty stoked about it. We’ve talked to Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and everyone who has a god damn talk show has been approached by GWAR at one point in time or another, but still they’re just a little bit weary about having us on the show. It’s just going to take a while, but you just got to keep plugging away. Sooner or later they’re going to cave. Maybe Jimmy Fallon can explain to me how the hell he ended up in Band Of Brothers!
He was in that fucking, I mean that show was one of the best World War II shows that I’ve seen. Very gritty, violent, very real, and then all of a sudden here’s Jimmy Fallon driving a driving a jeep around! It’s about as ridiculous as Ted Danson showing up in Saving Private Ryan.
Yeah you’re like ‘What the hell’s he doing here?!’ (laughing)
What the fuck is he doing in there?! I half expected to see him sitting there with black face painted on him, impersonating Whoopi Goldberg with a machine gun in his hand.
Talk to me a little bit about the GWAR-B-Q.
The GWAR-beque is an old tradition back when we had the Slave Pit over on Chamberlain Ave. over here in Richmand, VA. We’ve had lots of different Slave Pits in lots of different places, the Slave Pit being whatever the studio we would do all of our shit in. We moved out of that place and we never really had a yard that we could do the parties in anymore, so it kind of languished and kind of just stopped happening, and this year we decided to bring it back. As I’ve been saying, it’s the 25th anniversary, we’re pushing everything to the complete utter maximum, and it gave us a great opportunity to, we have some friends over on South Side who have a really cool place called The Bike Lot where they do shows and stuff all the time, and we originally got quite a reputation for being a party band anyway since we’ve done Best Friends Day here and Slaughterama, they’re pretty big cultural events. So we decided to bring it back. We got bands, we got broads, we got booze, we got flaming testicles, we have Spew Olympics, it’s just going to be a cultural event.
And little Ozzy!
We have Little Ozzy as well! So, it’s going to be amazing.
That’s great! What did you learn/raise from the Crack-A-Thon earlier this year?
Well we actually made enough money to get GWAR TV on its feet, get the equipment we needed, get some cameras and tripods. You really don’t need a lot to have your web-based television station. You just need a decent computer, a few cameras, and some people with some good ideas. So that was the whole point of that, just to get that thing going, and now we have GWAR.TV cranking 24/7. We do lots of live podcasts, I mean not podcasts but just web streaming events. We’ll be streaming the whole GWAR-B-Q live, and we’re cranking out extra footage when we can, cranking out Oderus’ investigative reports and weird little shorts and stuff like that. We’re just going to keep adding to it throughout the year, and hopefully by the end of the year it will be fully running 24/7 with a schedule and movies. It’s basically our own little make believe television network, and we all get to pretend like we’re television executives. It’s pretty fun!
Very cool! Lastly, 3D movies and TV are all the rage. Is GWAR taking advantage of that?
We actually have got a person who works for a very huge company, that I probably can’t mention their names, but we are planning very soon on doing some GWAR filming in complete 3D. Yes, we’re going to film a song, have it in complete 3D, and then webcast it live. I’m not really quite sure how that fucking works, if I have to send everybody a pair of glasses, but goddamn it that’s just got to be one of those things on the GWAR bucket list of things to do. There must be a 3D GWAR movie!
You know, I guess I’ll just ask this to end on a really strange and bizarre note. You’re celebrating 25 years, how do you think you’re going to ring in your 50th year as GWAR?
I hope that we will ring in the 50th by looking out over the world from our penthouse suites somewhere in downtown Manhattan knowing that there are five franchised GWAR bands made up of twenty year olds out there performing simultaneously in different countries making us tons of money.