Music » Music Features

GWAR: It’s Alive

Richmond’s bloodbath band at the Daisy.



After the death of lead singer, founder, and last-remaining original member Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus) this past April, most people considered GWAR to be finished. The band was 30 years into a career that spanned 13 albums and more than 20 live films and long-form music videos. They surprised everyone at Riotfest in Chicago last month when they showed up with their newest member in tow, Vulvatron, an imposing Amazon whose massive prosthetic breasts sprayed the crowd with goo through most of the band's set. Kim Dylla, lead singer of kabuki-clad Kung Fu Dykes, depicts the time-traveling cybernetic female assassin.

Apparently, Vulvatron and new lead vocalist Blothar (portrayed by former bassist and Beefcake the Mighty originator Michael Bishop) arrived on earth through the same wormhole. Blothar gives his account of being jettisoned through the space time continuum: "I went into a trance of blinding rage. I must have killed a million space apes. I was sleeping it off, and I woke up with a piss boner. I figure, why waste it, you know? So I'm rubbing one out, and the next thing I know, I'm on stage with GWAR in front of thousands of hideous, acne-ridden teenaged humanoids. I was promised there would be wifi, but it's hit or miss..."

GWAR rolls through Memphis with a show on Wednesday at the New Daisy. Rhythm guitarist BalSac the Jaws of Death describes it: "Dark clouds of war and ill omen have gathered around GWAR. In our hour of greatest peril, Oderus has left us and our enemies stand poised, ready to strike while they sense weakness, but we shall no longer cower in our Antarctic stronghold awaiting destiny's final blow. This fall, GWAR sets out on the most trying quest of our career. We shall scour our leader's favorite stomping ground, North America, leaving no city unsearched, no venue unraised, and no sheep unmolested. GWAR will venture to the depths of hell or to the very end of time itself, and though I fear what we may encounter out there, I know that we can never return home until we have the answer we seek: 'Where is Oderus Urungus?'"

Bassist Beefcake the Mighty gave a heartfelt summation of the their upcoming 52-date tour: "Dave was our friend and anchor for as far back as anyone can remember. He's held us together, and sometimes he drove us apart. He is our brother, and we love him. Unlike a lot of prominent musicians, he was friends with all of the fans. He made GWAR fans feel special on a personal level. The fans love Dave as much as we do and the GWAR Eternal Tour 2014 is our way of getting together and sharing that love."

Most of mainstream America was introduced to GWAR during a 1993 episode of Beavis and Butthead. The series was a continual champion of the band and frequently showed their videos. GWAR was also a pivotal part of the 1994 Beavis and Butthead video game, wherein Beavis and Butthead had to search the town looking for the remnants of their GWAR tickets which had been ripped to shreds after a neighbor's riding mower ran over them. The band popped up on daytime talk shows by Joan Rivers and Jerry Springer during the 1990s to discuss their brand of outlandish entertainment. Springer even attended one of GWAR's concerts and was consumed on stage by a giant space worm. In 1995, the band popped up in the movie Empire Records when stoner store employee Marc eats some pot brownies and hallucinates that Oderus Urungus invites him through the TV to join the band. He then watches himself play guitar onstage with the band and be complimented on his skills before being devoured by the same space worm that engulfed Springer. From 2009-2010, Brockie portrayed Urungus on Fox News' Red Eye as their intergalactic correspondent.

Make sure to get down to Beale on time to see American Sharks. The Austin trio are one of the best hesher/metal/stoner bands of the past few years. They've been touring behind their excellent self-titled debut that came out last year. The band has joined heavy hitters Clutch and fellow Austin retro riffers the Sword, whose bassist Bryan Richie recorded their LP, for extended stints on the road. For fans of Fu Manchu, St. Vitus, and C.O.C., don't forget to wear a crisp, new white tee so Vulvatron can cover it in her mammary spew.

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