When I called up Oderus Urungus, evil leader of GWAR, there was no telling what state the warty space monster would be in. Oderus regularly berates and/or murders anyone who irks him, and I was happy to have a speakerphone and several hundred miles separating myself and the bloodthirsty immortal. (Watch video of our last in-person interview here, which concluded with space monster claws around my throat.)
But this week there is a new album and upcoming tour to promote, and Oderus was all business, or at least as all-business as evil space monsters get.
Oderus: NEEEEEWWW YORK!
Examiner: Good afternoon Oderus, how are you today?
Oderus: Fine, how ya doing? Just plowing through about 8 million interviews. Let’s get on with your hopefully not-stupid questions.
Examiner: I guess we can skip the stupider questions. But I was watching the VMAs on Sunday night and-
Oderus: Why were you doing that!?
Examiner: I didn’t know what twerking meant. I thought Miley Cyrus was going to kill herself onstage or something.
Oderus: You know what, I watched twerking and I still don’t know what twerking means. One thing’s for sure, I don’t want to know what twerking means. But what does the Cyrus family have to do to get the rest of the human race to destroy them? You would have thought that Achy Breaky Heart would’ve been bad enough, but now we have to suffer through his f*cking daughter as well. Jesus. Can’t they just make a porno and get it over with?
Examiner: At the music awards it looked like she was halfway there.
Oderus: Oh that wasn’t a porno. That was her acting like a retard with some dude in a Beetlejuice costume.
Examiner: Well it makes me wonder, what does a pop star or celebrity have to do to get noticed and killed onstage by GWAR?
Oderus: Well, you just have to suck really bad. We’ve already got our celebrity murder lined up for the new tour, so we’re not going to change that. Though it’s very tempting to do that and get Miley Cyrus up there, since everyone hates her so much right now. But, basically, you just have to suck as bad as your typical pop star sucks, and then maybe do a couple of extra things that suck even harder. For instance, a guy like Justin Bieber, completely sucks. Has all these hit songs though I couldn’t tell you the name of a single one of them. And does things like hock logies off hotel balconies onto his fans, who gleefully lap up his secretions. Now, that’s my job! That’s what I do, Beiber, don’t be trying to rip off Oderus!
Examiner: So Miley doesn’t suck quite enough to be killed on stage?
Oderus: No she sucks plenty much to be killed on stage, but we’ve already got Justin Bieber lined up so she’ll have to wait until next year. Besides, now that she’s obviously become the biggest trainwreck since that one that wiped out half that village in Canada, I think we should see what her next move is. I can’t wait until the day that her father and her decide the time is right to make a porno movie together. Billy Ray Cyrus: How I F*cked My Daughter With My Mullet.
Examiner: So you and I have something in common. We are both no longer welcome at 1211 6th Avenue. Why are you no longer appearing on Red Eye on Fox News Channel?
Oderus: Well they basically just stopped calling me. I think they finally figured out who was on their show. I was on 14 times. Greg, the host, knew who I was and damn well what I did. He’s a huge GWAR fan so he covered for me. But finally, after a tour where we were chopping off Sarah Palin’s t*tties, the people upstairs at Fox got wind and were “Do you realize who this dude is?” And that’s when Greg had to pretend like he didn’t. “Do they really? They did what? Oh I can’t believe it. Oh how terrible.” And they didn’t fire me as much as they just stopped calling me.
Examiner: Did you ever push to be on O’Reilly instead?
Oderus: (laughs) I’m always trying to get GWAR on every network there is, period.
Examiner: Al Jazeera just launched a new American channel, maybe there’s a place for you there?
Oderus: You’d think they’d have us on immediately, but so far it hasn’t happened.
Examiner: Everyone has been raving about the GWAR-BQ for a week or two, I heard it was a great time.
Oderus: The GWAR-B-Q was the biggest, baddest, most awesome GWAR-B-Q we’ve ever had. The only thing that could possibly be better is the one we’ll have next year.
Examiner: With all the compliments I heard, though, they came along with the complaints of just how fucking far Richmond, VA is from anywhere else. Don’t you aliens have teleportation or warp speed or something?
Oderus: Yeah I know, but that takes considerable power. We don’t have a limitless supply of energy. But who knows, maybe one of these days we’ll actually get this f*cking GWAR-B-Q on the road. It certainly deserves it, it was the greatest musical festival I’ve ever been to!
Examiner: Speaking of travelling to the backwoods, you’re playing the Starland Ballroom in New Jersey next month, on September 15th.
Oderus: Yes, indeed we are. We’re playing with Hatebreed and it’s going to be a completely insane show.
Examiner: That’s going to be such a vicious mosh pit.
Oderus: Oh it’s gonna be a brutal f*cking mosh pit, dude. I’ve always wanted to do more shows with Hatebreed. I always thought GWAR, Hatebreed and Slayer, and Motorhead. That would be the ultimate lineup for me. I don’t think that’s going to happen for some reason, but at least we got Hatebreed. If you’re anywhere within several hundred miles, make sure you’re at that goddamn gig.
Examiner: Which band plays first?
Oderus: I know we’re playing last, I have no idea who plays first. I’m assuming Hatebreed will play directly before us. I think it’s some kind of co-headline deal, though we’re going to be playing last.
Examiner: When bands play after GWAR... I remember when you opened for Lamb of God (my review of that 2009 Wellmont Theater show here), the floor was so slippery after your set that moshers spent more time falling down than they did on their feet.
Oderus: Yeah, it’s one of the biggest reasons that GWAR hasn’t spent a lot of time opening up for larger bands on the coliseum tours. It’s not that we don’t have the reputation or the fans, it’s that the headliners don’t want to look out on the audience and see their entire crowd has been dyed bright red.
Examiner: The Starland Ballroom was wrecked by Hurricane Sandy last year, and you’re going to be one of the first bands to play the rebuilt building. Do have any memories of pre-Sandy Starland?
Oderus: Oh yeah it’s a great place, we loved playing out there. With all the abandoned boats and weird sh*t all over the place. Oh and the tank across the street! I love that thing. Supposedly it was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, but it seemed pretty destroyed anyway. And this is a club that has GWAR playing at it on a regular basis. I’m not really sure what they needed to do in order for GWAR to come back and just f*ck the whole place up again. Oh, and they decided to get Hatebreed to play as well. I guess they didn’t really work too hard getting the place back together again, because whatever damage Hurricane Sandy did to the place, whatever happens at the GWAR/Hatebreed show will probably be 20 times worse.
Examiner: There was going to be a conflict for New Yorkers that day, because Eyehategod was booked to play a boat show.
Oderus: Didn’t their drummer just drop dead?
Examiner: I believe the band phrased it as Joey passed away. I imagine the show is cancelled of course.
Oderus: Wow, that really sucks, because they were one of my favorite bands. It completely sucks and it’s sad to hear that another musician has bit the dust. But what can I say? It’s a rough gig. A lot of people think being in a band is all “ohh being a rock star is sooo cool.” Let me tell you, it’s the toughest f*cking gig in the world. And it’s considerable wear and tear on the human body, and the only reason we’re able to pull it off is because we’re GWAR. We’re immortal, indestructible, and pretty tough motherf*ckers with some pretty high tolerances for toxic substances. Human beings in this kind of position, it wears them out pretty quick. Especially if you have a taste for, shall we say, certain intoxicants, you can wind up dead pretty quick. All you guys out there playing, gigging, touring, try to stay alive please!
Examiner: GWAR obviously has some experience with losing a band member. What would you say to Eyehategod about carrying on?
Oderus: I would say do it. Joey wouldn’t want the band to stop just because he’s gone, and the fans certainly don’t. You’ve got to try to use GWAR as an example, and this is a strange thing to wrap your head around, but use GWAR as an example of the way to be. Take this experience and grow stronger from it. When we lost Flattus we immediately set about the task of not only honoring his legacy, but somehow taking GWAR musically to the next level that we were getting ready to do with Flattus.
I mean, sure, it’s a tragedy. It completely sucks. But it also is an opportunity to show your fans not only your dedication to your craft, but your dedication to your fans. So don’t let it be a band ender. Let it be something that you honor and pay homage to with the rest of your career, and continue on with your band.
For GWAR, it was never a question. We knew immediately that we would continue. And with the addition of Pustulus Maximus, GWAR has found a whole new musical direction to go in. We didn’t want to try to replace Flattus, we didn’t want to emulate his style of guitar playing with someone who plays like him, we wanted to find a guitar player that stood on his own two feet and does his own thing and brings something to the band that we haven’t heard yet. I believe Battle Maximus tells the next chapter in the story of GWAR, but also pays considerable homage to Flattus.
Examiner: Well let’s talk about the new album, Battle Maximus. It’s your 13th record. Megadeth and Black Sabbath both released records this year called 13. Was it tempting to jump on that bandwagon?
Oderus: They both called it 13? How amazingly uncreative! That’s absolutely pathetic. As far as I’m concerned, Black Sabbath without Bill Ward isn’t Black Sabbath. I gave up on both those acts quite some time ago. I mean, Mustaine, he’s a shredder. He’s a hell of a guitar player. It’s just when he opens up that mouth of his and starts spewing off those asinine, right wing f*cking Republican Party lines of bullsh*t that I lose interest.
Examiner: Maybe he’s a better fit for Fox News than you were.
Oderus: I didn’t know I was working for the evil empire at the time!
Examiner: One of your new songs is called “Raped at Birth.” Isn’t the process of giving birth kind of just a reverse rape of the mother?
Oderus: Unless you’re a scumdog like me, who was born fully grown in battle armor and then lowered onto a giant penis, in front of thousands of screaming midgets. I was handed a sword, and basically had to hack my way out of a gladiatorial arena. This is not a typical birth process for any creature, and I just wanted to do the song to tell the humans that no matter what kind of hideous position in life that you’re born into, whether you’re born with no arms or legs, or perhaps come up in some hideous ghetto neighborhood, dirt roads and janitors teaching classes. You can overcome. If I can overcome being raped at birth AND appear on Fox TV, then goddammit there’s nothing you can’t do.
Examiner: There’s a bitching guitar solo in that song too.
Oderus: Well that is the work of Pustulus. Several of the Maximus clan members did participate on the record, and laid down some amazing riffs. You can hear them all playing on Battle Maximus, but for the most part those leads are Pustulus’s, and he is one f*cking incredible guitar player.
Examiner: What’s your favorite song on the new record?
Oderus: Hmmm. I’m far too self-indulgent, but just picking randomly... there’s a lot of really good songs on there. I’ll take the album’s finale, Fly Now. That song more than others is dedicated to Flattus.
Examiner: Final question: Metallica has their 3D movie coming out later this month. What would a GWAR 3D movie be like?
Oderus: Well, unlike a Metallica movie, a GWAR movie would be good.
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GWAR and Hatebreed play the newly rebuilt Starland Ballroom on Sunday, September 15th and Battle Maximus drops on September 17th. As always, get monthly previews of New York concerts delivered right to your inbox by subscribing to the New York Hard Rock Examiner at the top of this page, or follow me at twitter.com/NYROCKEXAMINER.