When The Sick Get Serious
Oderus Urungus is a uniter, not a divider: he wants everyone to come together and die. Being the lead singer of an outlandish thrash-metal group, that's his thing. An advocate for chaos, violence and destruction, he's puzzled as to why there isn't more of this in the world.
"You Americans have obviously declared war on the Muslim world!" he barks. "So let's cut to the chase and nuke Mecca! While you're at it, take out Jerusalem and New York!"
Depending on the number of bong rips the person you ask has inhaled, Oderus and his band GWAR (an acronym for God What an Awful Racket) are either lowbrow satire by way of heavy metal and grotesque performance art or the genetic offspring of the lowest filth in the universe, lured into the world of rock by the promise of more cocaine.
Oderus (Dave Brockie by day), whose stage attire is an elaborate costume with a maggot-infested face, balls that dangle to his knees and two-foot shoulder spikes, is—like everybody else these days—weighing in on the election. "I support George Bush. Every vote for George Bush is another dead Iraqi baby or just a dead baby in general. I fully support his neo-fascist, Christian-fundamentalist revolution. It's almost as murderous as the new GWAR tour!" he says and laughs.
Things are very far from good when a band like GWAR—who once wrote a song about having sex with a dead dog—starts to sound more like the daily news than some sick and twisted joke. Yet on their new album, War Party, Oderus and company (the guitar duo of Balsac the Jaws of Death and Flattus Maximus, Beefcake the Mighty on bass, and Jizmak Da Gusha beating the skins) have ditched their trademark, Grammy-nominated (true!), scatological gross-out fest for a record that takes much of its horrible imagery from the headlines. Check these sadly familiar lines from the title track: "The crowd tears apart your corpse/After the flames have gone down/You're dragged through the streets/With a chain round your neck/Hung from a bridge on the outskirts of town." Ten years ago, Oderus would have had to make that up.
He explains the impetus behind War Party—GWAR's 10th record since launching as a University of Virginia marketing project in 1989—as an indictment of our "stupid human" political process. Then his voice goes from gruff and ornery to softer and normal, as Brockie, now completely out of character, admits, "I despise the Republican Party, but look at the Democrats—they just lost to the stupidest man in the world. Pathetic!"
Told he'll be playing in a proudly red county, Oderus roars back to extend an offer to any high-ranking members of what he calls the "stupid human war party" to come to GWAR's show and get their asses flayed. With a frothy vigor, he explains the rest of his grand old plans for the Grand Old Party members: "I would give birth to a snake-head fish. You don't have those on the West Coast, but they're a phenomenon in the East. They're called the Frankenstein fish because they can get out of ponds and flop around on dry land until they get to another pond, where they eat everything. A lot of people think they are fish, but they are actually individual sperm cells of Oderus. What I would do is I would come in [Bush's] flayed ass and let the Franken-fish eat him from the inside out."
Kind of makes the Kerry campaign strategy seem tame. Alas, there are many in the fickle and wasted world of metal fanatics who feel GWAR are better suited for toilet humor and sex jokes than for socio-political commentary. But musically, War Party is a great piece of work for its genre, which often uses violent imagery as a mirror to society. It shreds harder than the anti-Bush Green Day album, that's for sure.
To those who have fallen off the bandwagon, Oderus offers this olive branch of sorts: "A lot of people think GWAR has lost our connection with the fans because we're such omnipresent, multimillionaire, mega-lord rock stars. They don't think we're really into meeting our fans by the garbage dumpsters after the show and raping them with cucumbers. I want to assure you that we are into that, and if you don't believe me, meet me by the dumpster!"
Told you he was a uniter.
GWAR PERFORM WITH DYING FETUS AND ALL THAT REMAINS AT THE GALAXY CONCERT THEATRE, 3503 S. HARBOR BLVD., SANTA ANA, (714) 957-0600. THURS., DEC. 2, 7 P.M. $20. CALL FOR AGE RESTRICTIONS.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.