The death of a bandmate is a tragic struggle for any band, even when said band’s members consist of scumdogs from outer space. However, the almighty GWAR moved forward despite the loss of Flattus Maximus (aka Cory Smoot). And luckily for them, the Maximus clan came to the aid of GWAR to help them through such a difficult time, with Pustulus staying behind to become their new guitarist. Thus came the creation of Battle Maximus, GWAR’s thirteenth studio album coming out on September 17 via Metal Blade Records.
Prior to the album’s release, Oderus Urungus himself took the time to chat with us about the gathering of the Maximus Clan and the legacy Flattus leaves behind. As an added bonus, Oderus gives us the inside scoop behind GWAR’s forthcoming cover of Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” for The A.V. Club.
What proved to be the hardest part of recording the album with new guitarist/scumdog Pustulus Maximus?
Well, it was a lot different. I mean, it was [under] the suckiest situation you can have as a band. Flattus Maximus was the guy who basically through his incredible skills had taken GWAR from… I don’t even want to call it a period of GWAR’s career, I call it the “silly” years. We weren’t sure if we were Frank Zappa or Black Sabbath, or what the hell was going on. And it kind of took Flattus to grab us by our lapels [we don’t really have lapels, but if we had them] it took him to shake us and force us to make the records we started to make, starting with 2001’s Violence Has Arrived, which have been undeniably heavy as fuck. And through these records, GWAR kind of found its way back into the pantheon of metal. I don’t think we really knew what the hell was up with GWAR for a while there, I know I didn’t.
But then to lose this contributor, I’m sure a lot of people were over concerned that GWAR would lose their focus, their vision, their sound, and I am happy to announce to the human race that quite the opposite is true. Drawing on the power of the Maximus clan has enabled us to somehow grow into a new GWAR. We didn’t try to emulate Flattus’ sound, we didn’t try to copy the way the music was with Flattus playing it. Instead, we just let Pustulus be Pustulus, which is one vicious, enraged, blood-mad guitar god. And the results speak for themselves. Battle Maximus is a fucking amazing album, and I’m sure that Flattus is fucking proud of us.
Well you mentioned about the Maximus clan. Other than Pustulus, who were some of the other guitarists/Maximus tribe members that appear on the album?
There was Splattimus Maximus, Farticus Maximus, there were many Maximuses besides Pustulus. And it just so happens that every single Maximus plays guitar! It was just a little thing they had with each other, and they were rivals to a certain extent. When we waged the great “Battle Maximus,” we really didn’t hold an audition process. We pretty much just had to let them fight it out. And that’s exactly what happened. I think our fans are going to fucking love it. Somehow we’ve taken the worst, crappiest, shittiest, most horrible situation to ever occur for a band and find a way to fly above it. And we shall see what the future holds for GWAR, but I think Flattus looks down from his lofty perch and smiles.
You mention about keeping focus despite losing Flattus. How was the mighty GWAR able to maintain such a focus to make this album despite the horrible situation the band found itself in?
Honestly, it’s just something that comes naturally when you are a god-like creature from outer space who is use to performing on the surface of the sun and swimming through anti-gravity, enduring solar plasma bursts and seeing entire civilizations die. I mean, we found strength within ourselves to come out and rock, because the one thing we know how to do better than anyone else is how to rock. When everything else was most black and bleak, we had one choice, and that choice was that we must continue to rock. And we will be continuing to do so, anything less than complete rockery, and I’m not talking about gardening, would displease Flattus. And Flattus would descend from the heavens and kick our fucking asses, and I don’t think anyone wants to see that.
Pustulus essentially made his debut with the band during GWAR’s cover of Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son” for The A.V. Club. Does GWAR have plans to cover more songs?
Actually, we are working on another cover for A.V. Club. We did that damn Kansas song, and people liked the hell out of it for some stupid reason. So we went out of our way to pick a song we knew EVERYBODY would fucking hate. Of course, that song is Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car.” I can hear them [the band] practicing in the other room, and it sounds fucking horrible!
How does GWAR make such a horrid song better?
Well, for The A.V. Club it’s simple. They have a long, long list of songs on its wall, the bands come in and pick which song they want to play. And basically we were the last band in there, so we were stuck with “Carry On My Wayward Son” because nobody else wanted to play it because that song is a motherfucking bitch to play. Now Billy Ocean, don’t know so much about him. Honestly, couldn’t say I ever heard the song, BUT know that it will completely kick ass.
I know that these covers won’t be a part of Battle Maximus and that they’re for The A.V. Club, but any chance that there will be a future release of covers from GWAR? Maybe an EP or something?
Oh I don’t know, other people make those decisions for me. I’m a creative sort, I’ve got other people who are figuring out ways to make money off of me, to sell records and stuff like that. Rest assured, I have nothing to do with that whatsoever, nor do I get any of the money.
You just get all the scraps and leftovers, eh?
I am given whatever I want, whenever I want, period. I don’t really need money. It causes me pleasure to set money on fire in front of people, also wiping my ass with thousand dollar bills. Actually for me, money does not wipe ass so well. The older money was more absorbent.
So when you go to venues, you request more absorbent, older dollar bills for toilet paper.
No, I don’t even really worry about wiping my ass. My turds are so immaculate, so perfectly formed and so clean that they pretty much wipe themselves. The perfect turd. No, I’m not going to waste any of myself. I’m such a gift to humanity, even scrapings of my butthole are things that should be hawked on eBay.