When HTF were landed with the opportunity to interview one of the most decorated figures in metal, to turn it down would be just as controversial as the topics we touched on during the course of what you are about to read, below.
Gwar have been dominating the shock rock metal scene for a near three decades and have just dropped their brand new 13th studio album, Battle Maximus, in memory of their late guitarist, Flattus Maximus.
We picked up the phone just the other day to talk to Gwar’s Oderus Urungus, where we discussed the new album, the NFL, Mr Perfect and Angelina Jolie.
HTF: So, Gwar’s brand new full-length ‘Battle Maximus’ has finally been unleashed upon us. Has the reception from the bands loyal fan base lived up to your expectations?
OU: Yeah, the fans will always love everything we do, they always do, and they support us no matter what. But, I’ll tell you what’s been surprising, is how well the rock journalism community has reacted. Generally speaking Gwar albums are adored by our fans and we’re about 50/50 with the rock press. Not only is it, I think, a great album, we definitely did the best job I think we possibly could. Nothing less than the best would be enough for us. We really, really wanted to honour Flattus and Corey and so we just worked our asses off on this thing and the response from a lot of the critics that normally would not give one flying fuck that there was a new Gwar album out, really seems to have really kind of touched everyone. You know, a band that has felt such a staggering loss, and somehow rising above it and becoming stronger than ever, I think is inspiring. Not for heavy metal fans but for people of metal. I know that the guys I’m working with, that I’m privileged enough to be able to hang out with and make this band happen, they’ve just blown me away like never before. I couldn’t be prouder of these guys and I couldn’t be a luckier son of a bitch for being able to work with them. I’ve been wanting to make that kind of a central theme to the album, you know, in Gwar’s struggle against Mr Perfect. We wanted to create a metaphor for the struggle of a band, that has lost one of their most important members, but somehow found the strength to not only carry on, but get stronger from it. That was the plan, and time will tell if we have succeeded or not, but so far so good.
HTF: Do you reckon the late Fattus Maximus would be proud of the shredding contribution from Gwar’s new guitarist, Putulus Maximus, on the new songs?
OU: Oh my god, he really came in there. I mean he wrote the first song that we had, (‘Madness at the Core of Time’), and he just kind of set the tone right there. It’s a ferocious, ferocious track and he rallied behind that. He didn’t come in there and try to emulate the sound of Flattus, he didn’t come in there and try to copy anything that Corey had ever done, he came in there and just kicked ass and he just really kind of set the tone for the rest of us and soon we found ourselves, you know, like ‘wow we better be on our fucking A game or the new guy is going to blow us away’. I think it elevated heavily because his attitude really kind of made us re-appreciate what we have with Gwar, and everybody, whether the artists, to the management, to the musicians, everybody turned it up a notch. Time will tell how this album goes down in the legacy of all Gwar albums, but so far so good. It’s been given a great reaction, we’re doing tonnes of press all over the world, I really think we’re going to be touring the whole planet for the next year straight, I think we’ve got the best show that we’ve ever done. We’ve been practising our asses of in the dress rehearsal and making this thing happen and you know after going through like the darkest shit that a band can possibly go through we’ve emerged somehow stronger, and now is the time for Gwar to get out there and just start punishing people with this new found power, and people are absolutely going to love it, and anybody out there that’s still, still going to be like ‘Oh Gwar this is cocky man’, well they’re just showing how fucking idiotic they are and what a bunch of humourless fucks (they are). Gwar, once again, will prove it’s mighty power and there is no stopping us, and it will continue on, on and on, and Gwar, being immortal, we’re just going to keep doing it over and over again, until finally the human race just says, ‘Okay, we quit, we give up, you win!’
OU: Well yeah, I mean, with Zach he used to be Flattus. He was Flattus for like three years before Corey got the job, and you know he was a friend of Corey’s and when the tragedy happened he was like one of the first people to get in touch and say, “look anything that I can do to help”, and he wrote several of the songs on the new album, he layed down some absolutely scorching lead tracks, and he really inspired us. He was just like “don’t you dare stop, don’t you dare give up man”, and he really gave us a kick in the ass. I can’t say enough good things about the guy. He’s one of the coolest dudes, one of the best people that we’ll ever, ever meet. He’s had a lot of success in Rise Against, and we remained close friends all these years and he was a big part of making sure that this album went in the right direction, and we really owe him a big one for that.
HTF: We have to Ask by the way, what are you making of the on-line petition over at change.org to have Gwar as the half- time entertainment at the 2015 Super Bowl?
OU: It’s really funny! It just shows that Gwar creeps at all kinds of levels of surprising, you know. You’re never quite sure where Gwar is going to show up again, and it’s just like, it kind of blows my mind. I don’t know if they can force the NFL into getting Gwar to play the half-time show, but people are signing the petition. If nothing else it’s just a big middle finger to, you know what a lot of people perceive as just the complete lameness of the NFL, and the hypocrisy of the business that surrounds it. There are a lot of shady characters involved, there are a lot of thuggish scum bag people in sport who probably get away with murder just because they’re famous football players and then they have the audacity to make us fucking suffer through the horrible studio manufactured, you know, pathetic pop stars like the Black Eyed Peas and fucking Bruno Mars. I mean if nothing else it’s just a big fuck you from the music community and, you know.
HTF: So you definitely feel as though a performance from Gwar is something that all American football fans need to bear witness to?
OU: Well Oderus has already said that he’d love to do the gig, Gwar would love to play in the super bowl, but they would actually like to play in the superbowl! They want to take on every other team in the NFL, slaughter them all and win the god-damn Super Bowl trophy for themselves, and we could make a game that we’d truly be proud of. Fuck all these football fans, you know! Let’s make sure everyone plays naked and let’s throw in battle axes whilst we’re at it. From the mouth of Oderus, sometimes these things actually make sense.
HTF: With Halloween just around the corner, what is your best tip for fancy dress on this particularly epic day of the year?
OU: Oh, on Halloween with Gwar I would like to see all the men in formal ware, I’m talking tuxedos and top hats, and the women, yes I want to see them all in American civil war era pope shirts, much like Scarlett O’hara in Gone with the Wind. So square dancing and parlour games and then they will all be ground in our meat grinder and turned into Gwar dog food.
HTF: You were talking earlier about Gwar’s struggles in battling Mr Perfect. Just wondering if you could perhaps elaborate a little further on this character and the threat he poses to Gwar?
OU: Mr Perfect is from the future and he’s the leader of basically the elite humans. In the future, there are two types of humans, there’s the humans that can afford to get replacement organs, double sets of skin cells and have all of the drugs they want, and then there’s basically the humans who have become their slaves. Mr Perfect, the one thing that he lacks is the secret of eternal life. So looking through time he looks into the past and he see’s Gwar and realises that Gwar is immortal, so his quest becomes to travel backwards through time and destroy Gwar and feel the power of eternal life, which happens to be located in Oderus’ nut sack.
So at first he tries seduction. He opens a hole through time and sends us this thing called the ‘Jizzmocobler’, which is basically the perfect sex partner and basically all the important parts of a women such as the brain and the vocal chords have been removed, and basically all there is, is clit and pussy. When that doesn’t work he’s forced to send hideous creatures against us, and then finally, at the climax of the show, he confronts Gwar himself, and that’s basically the story behind the new album and it’s the whole new live show that we’re getting ready to do.
We’ll be touring here in America for the next several months, then it’s off to Australia, and then hopefully if people up their demand for Gwar, then hopefully we’ll return to the UK and to Europe in 2015. We love playing over there. England and Germany and Holland seem to be the only countries that really, you know, get it. France as well. People in Paris really seem to dig Gwar but a lot of people in Europe, you know, they take their metal very fucking seriously and they’re not sure if we’re making fun of them or not, you know. We are but it’s like you’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself because guess what? Everybody else is. Gwar are sincere enough in their personalities to be able to laugh at themselves, we’re not trying to insult anybody, we’re just trying to poke fun at what we see as overly serious attitudes and, you know, sometimes people will take it the wrong way, and that’s ridiculous because comedy and metal have always gone together really well. There isn’t a lot of metal bands that embrace comedy, and that’s because it’s not an easy thing to do, you know. Comedy isn’t an easy thing to pull off. First of all, you’ve got to be funny, you know, a lot of people think they’re funny and they’re not, so it’s just like easier to be a serious metal band than it is to be a funny metal band; especially when you’re trying to be a funny metal band and still kick ass musically. Despite that challenge I really believe that, that’s what Gwar is. We’re fucking hilarious, we’re cool as hell looking, we got great costumes and at the end of the day, we are in a kick ass fucking metal band. I would take these guys and I would put them up against the best bands in the business, and I think we could hold our own against those guys. We’ve been doing this for 28 years, and I think it’s pretty safe to say we know how to fucking play our instruments.
HTF: You talk about Gwar’s new live show featuring Mr. Perfect ‘eating his own ass’, and ‘copious amounts of torture on some of the world’s most annoying figures in the world of entertainment’. Can you give us any names which will be meeting the bloody reckoning of the infamous meat grinder?
OU: All I can say is that you’ve got a new pope, so Francis is going to die, and I don’t know if you peole hate Justin Bieber as much as we do, but he’ll be going down as well. Then of course Mr Perfect and all his monstrous allies, and there will be a couple of other guys thrown in there. There are rumours that the Queen might even make an appearance. I mean she doesn’t seem to be dying of natural causes any time soon so the members of Gwar are going to take it upon themselves to snuff her; and the royal baby to.
HTF: Lastly, before we sign of for the night, if you could choose one single celebrity to banish to the barren lands of Antarctica for all eternity, who would the unlucky soul be?
OU: God, who is the most annoying person out there right now? I think Angelina Jolie. You know, she’s having her entire body replaced, afraid of various diseases she might get. If she’s so scared that she’s going to drop dead then why is she adopting so many fucking children? That woman is just fucking annoying.
Interviewer: Alister Ross