This coming Saturday, September 17, fans will be heading down to Richmond, VA for what guarantees to be the craziest, filthiest, and most unholy event in the entire galaxy: the GWAR-B-Q. Unlike last year and earlier incarnations in 90s, GWAR is stepping it up big time for their second annual festival. Not only will this year’s GWAR-B-Q feature more bands (including performances from Darkest Hour, Kepone, Mensrea, DBX and many others in addition to a set from GWAR), but also promises more food, more beer, more crazy events, and more cocktails of semen and blood than you could ever imagine. In other words, it’s what every GWAR fan desires from a festival.
While you may know him best as Jizmak da Gusha, the monstrous drummer of GWAR, Brad Roberts is also the band member most involved with organizing this year’s GWAR-B-Q. Roberts took a moment to chat with Metal Insider about the GWAR-B-Q’s growth and their aim to make it even larger each year, their open-door policy with past band members, and how the characters of GWAR will never die.
The second annual GWAR-B-Q is just around the corner. How would you say the GWAR-B-Q has evolved or grown since last year?
Oh it’s leaps and bounds. I mean, this year is going to be the wildest party of this or any Summer. From last year, it was just word of mouth. We had it in a place where couldn’t sell tickets. 700 or 800 people showed up, which was really the capacity of the place we had. GWAR didn’t play. We just played some songs out of costume with some local bands. This year, it’s a huge ass festival. GWAR is for the first time going to play its own GWAR-B-Q in costume. The lineup of bands is excellent, the barbeque food is excellent, there’s a bunch of vendors, and it’s being held at the Hadad’s Lake, an old water park from the 70’s. [Editors’ note: shortly after this interview took place, the festival’s venue changed to the National Theater] And on top of all that, we’ve got guest celebrity appearances, contests, the Spew-O-Lympics, and we’re going to be ramping skateboards and bikes into the lake. It’s just going to be crazy.
What special events are you looking forward to the most? You’ve mentioned a few just now, but is there one you’re looking forward to the most?
I love the Slaughterama guys. They’re a b.m.x. bike club called the Cutthroats and they do a joust on bicycles. So we’re going to donate some of the GWAR rubber swords and various weapons for the bike joust. And these guys are crazy. They’ll jump their bikes off roofs and run them into each other. So I’m looking forward to seeing them because I know they’re going to get completely filthy and totally try to destroy each other with GWAR weapons.
That sounds like something every GWAR fan would love to see, jousting with the GWAR weapons!
Yeah, though some might say that the Bloody t-shirt contest might be one of the favorites.
You were very much involved with organizing this year’s GWAR-B-Q . What would you say is the biggest difficulty of putting together an event on such a large scale as this?
Well we certainly wanted to step it up. And in order to do that, it costs a ton to put on a live music show that a real professional band like GWAR can play. You need more space and a better PA system. The other GWAR-B-Qs were just back yard parties that we use to have in the 90’s. And the one last year at the Bike Lot was with a very small PA, and none of the instruments were mic’d. It was just a microphone and two speakers. So this will be like a full PA and real show with lights, even though we won’t need them since it’s a day time event.
But I guess the biggest undertaking is the fact that we’re a band and not event promoters. So there’s a lot of R&D at this point, which hopefully we can just copy and paste for next year’s event, there’s the learning curve and realizing how long it really takes to organize something of this size. And our first mission statement really for the GWAR-B-Q is not only to make it bigger with the food, the music and arts in the mid-Atlantic where GWAR is from, but to first and foremost make it the most fun for the attendees, for all the fans and whoever is coming to it. And as long as that happens then the fans will just keep coming back year after year, and we can grow it from there.
So it’s safe to say then that the plan is to keep the GWAR-B-Q on a larger scale for the foreseeable future.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is as big as we can make it and still keep it DIY, and still make it about our fans where we give them something special that they can only see at the GWAR-B-Q. We’re going to have a host of characters that were in GWAR that are going to come up and make guest appearances onstage with GWAR, like the original Beefcake The Mighty and Sleazy P. Martini. These are only things you’re going to see at GWAR-B-Q. You won’t get that stuff on tour.
So it’s a tribute to the place that made us. And maybe it’ll put a little national spotlight on a town like Richmond, VA that we feel easily should have more musical and art recognition just cause of the type of musicians and bands that have come out of here. Huge bands, like us, Lamb Of God, Municipal Waste, and that’s only in the hard rock genre. Richmond could have easily been a Seattle, Atlanta, New York, or whatever as far as music goes, but it hasn’t because they just think “Oh, Richmond is in the South. It’s just a bunch of hillbillies.” Our deal is to make the GWAR-B-Q a national, recognized music festival every year.
As you mentioned before, one of the original members making an appearance at the GWAR-B-Q is the original Beefcake The Mighty, Mike Bishop. How did this particular “mini-reunion” come about?
Actually, all of the GWAR-B-Q’s have also had some [of the band members’] spin-offs. So his first band Kepone, which is the band he left GWAR to do, is having their reunion show at the GWAR-B-Q. It’s the first time they’ve played in I don’t know how long, maybe a decade. He’s there, so it was obvious that he should come up and do some GWAR songs.
So I take that you all are still friends despite parting ways, and with so many different lineups.
Absolutely, all amicable splits. People just decided that they were at a point when they wanted to do something else. So they do, and they’re always welcomed back. We’ve actually brought Mike back in the past to record an album and tour with us as just a one off thing.
Now is Mike’s performance a one-off thing, or will he be playing with GWAR a lot more? I ask because Casey Orr, the most recent Beefcake The Mighty, just recently left the group.
We have a current gentleman playing the bass. He will be playing the GWAR-B-Q and the upcoming Return Of The Maggot tour this Fall in the U.S. and Canada. He’s working out quite well.
I imagine this new bassist will still portray Beefcake The Mighty.
Absolutely! The GWAR characters never die. You can put anyone in the suits. At some point we’ll be too old to do this and we’ll stick other people, younger kids in the suits and GWAR will live on forever.
Have a GWAR in each continent!
There you go! We can franchise, right? I don’t see that happening yet, but it might get to the point where the GWAR-B-Q is the only place you can see GWAR, maybe in a decade from now. I’d imagine that we would tour so rigorously like we have been, so when we’re old men we’d concentrate on this one event and culminate all of GWAR’s cool stuff into one annual thing.
Are you permitted to reveal the identity of the new Beekcake, or will that come out in due time?
That’ll be more of a question for Oderus Urungus, who is the press promotions mogul. I’m sure there’ll be some sort of official press release from GWAR regarding the bass players and all that good stuff. I’m more behind the GWAR-B-Q scenes.
Fair enough. So you mentioned before about some of the celebrity appearances at GWAR-B-Q. I know Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God will be judging a cook-off, and comedian/That Metal Show co-host Don Jamieson will be performing. Are there any other appearances scheduled that you can reveal to us?
There’s not too much more as far as guest or celebrity performers other than that. The only other bone I can throw you would be Candace, the host of Attack Of The Show on the G4 Network. She’ll be going out to cover the event, and I’m sure since she’s out there Oderus is going to want to get on her. Something horrible will probably happen to her, not sure what.
As you mentioned, you’ll be on the road with Every Time I Die for the Return Of The Maggots tour following the Return Of The Maggots Tour. Any plans after that?
Yeah, absolutely. GWAR has a Winter European tour in the UK, Scandinavia, and closer countries on the continent. Probably around late January/February we’ll be in Europe. And then we’re going to be coming back and working on the new record. We’re already writing songs for it now. The GWAR-B-Q and touring are coming up. So the production/recording scheduled will probably happen after these two tours are done.
Tickets are still available for the GWAR-B-Q, being held this Saturday, September 17 at the National Theater in Richmond, VA. To find out more information, head over to GWAR.net.