Fall in Bend has become GWAR season, it seems, as the infamously gory band of monsters returns to town annually to fill the Midtown Ballroom with thrash metal and toilet humor, “slaughter” a parade of celebrities, and splatter everyone in the place with fake blood and other bodily fluids.
If you know what GWAR's all about, you're either stoked for Saturday's show (see “If you go”), or you at least know not to be alarmed. GWAR is satire, a thunderous comedy show, an over-the-top spectacle of ultra-violence that some art-school kids from Virginia have turned into a long career.
If these folks were truly a menace to society, they wouldn't have a dozen albums (including the brand new “Bloody Pit of Horror”) and hundreds of shirt-staining shows under their oversized, studded belts, which must be awfully stinky after 25 years on the road.
But if you don't know what GWAR's all about, you may be worried about this band, their work, and the effect they may have on your loved one that wants to see them this weekend. That's understandable; you're not the first, nor will you be the last. (The band was caught up in the late-'80s uproar over graphic lyrics in music, leading to a classic appearance on Joan Rivers' talk show. Check it out on YouTube.)
To quell your fears, I suggest doing what others have done. Get to know GWAR. Get up close and personal with the ringleader of this magnificently disgusting sideshow. Read our (slightly edited) interview with the man known as Oderus Urungus.
You'll learn to love him. Or, he'll kill you and eat you.
GO!: Hi Oderus, how's it going? What's on the agenda for today?
Oderus Urungus: We have just landed in California, which for GWAR can only mean one thing: smoking meth and having sex with sea lions. Wait, that's two things. After that I believe there are some shows to play.
GO!: Your brand new album is called “Bloody Pit of Horror,” and I read a review that calls it a return to GWAR's punk/thrash roots. Was that a conscious effort on the band's part? Or is that reviewer ... totally wrong?
OU: People say all kinds of things to explain our greatness. They are all wrong. Unfortunately I don't know the reasons either. We just make metal music, we don't really think about it. If we did, then I am sure it would suck. This isn't “mind music,” this is ... heavy metal. And a good thing too, I am dumb as a post.
GO!: Appearances on Fox News, Jimmy Fallon, a sweet spot at Bonnaroo, that fancy new “Zombies, March!” video ... it seems there's a bit of a GWAR revival going on. Agreed? If so, to what do you attribute this sudden surge in interest/respect?
OU: Just the latest developments of a 25-year-long assault upon all things alive and otherwise ... we have killed so much of the competition, it was inevitable that we would get some more exposure. Plus so many other bands have either given up, dropped dead, or just plain sucked, our place at the top of the heap seems assured. The fact that we are immortal gives us a small advantage of course. By the time most humans have learned from their mistakes they have become fat and old and not commercially viable. In our case getting fat and old actually seems to help us!
GO!: Who should we expect to see added to the litany of the slain on this tour?
OU: Well that would spoil everything, now wouldn't it!? Part of the real joy of the GWAR experience is the genuine shock you receive when you witness your loved ones being dragged on stage, chopped into bits, and then distributed to the surviving crowd as food. Not something you would expect from your Mom, but nevertheless she volunteered for the entire sickening ritual. There are also a couple of high-profile celebrity mutilations we are carrying out but once again I am not going to spill the beans, but I will tell you that Lady Gaga is one of them!
GO!: This makes several years in a row you've been to Bend. If GWAR is so tough, shouldn't you have conquered this town by now? Is Bend tougher than it looks?
OU: Well, you are mountain people, right? Doesn't that make you a little hardier, like from wrestling bears and such? But all across the country I meet people who are like “I have seen you guys like six times.” Well, that is the last thing you want to tell me if you want to make it seven!