Since 1984, shock rock band GWAR has terrorized the world to the delight of its minions, who relish the ferocious ontage antics that leave none within spitting distance safe.
This summer, GWAR serves as one of the headlining acts of Vans Warped Tour, which stops at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton on Monday, July 10. After the untimely death of its frontman and founding member Oderus Urungus, the band found new leadership under lead singer Blothar, the berserker. The mighty vocalist recently spoke with a reporter by phone to detail what fans (and GWAR newcomers) can expect from the live show.
Q: Tell us a little about the history of the band.
A: GWAR is a rock band … originally we are all from outer space. We are members of an elite fighting force called Scumdogs of the Universe who were banned to the planet Earth after we made some pretty serious mistakes. So Earth is pretty much a prison planet for GWAR. Once we got here, we met an unscrupulous manager named Sleazy P. Martini, who figured that if he could teach us how to speak the language, he was like, ‘These guys don’t have much of a skill set, but they are really stupid so they can probably handle playing rock music.’ And that’s what we wound up doing, was picking up instruments and learning how to kick ass on them and then take over your planet.
Q: We have a new president in the United States this year. Will he factor into your stage show at all?
A: We’re probably going to slap around his son onstage a little bit, I don’t know. This guy is a clown and when he comes up onstage, which he will — he has been every night — Trump shows up at the last minute with his Murdercade and he’s trying to wave to the people and just generally get attention and we cut his stomach up and rip his guts out and feed them to him and then, somehow, he shows up the next night again. He’s indestructible, like a cockroach.
Q: What can the audience expect at your performance?
A: For the uninitiated who come to see GWAR, you can expect to see the greatest rock ‘n’ roll spectacle in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. You can see a group of space aliens onstage who are under continuous attack as they try to play really great metal-rock, punk-rock — the music that GWAR plays. It’s a rock concert, but at the same time, there’s a steady parade of deplorables who attack us and we do battle with them. And you get to see all of the spectacular action and gore that’s associated with these fights. There’s blood spraying everywhere, all kinds of bodily fluids shooting out of all kinds of hideous alien orifices. It’s a good time had by all. The kids go away covered and soaked in the blood, they walk into a Convenient store and trying to buy Big Gulps and people stare at them and policemen ask them what they’ve been doing. That’s how a GWAR show goes.
Q: Will your set list focus on any specific albums?
A: We do have one song from our new album called “F*** This Place” … there’s that to look forward to. Other than that, it’s just old, classic GWAR songs. GWAR has a long history. We’ve got a lot of albums to choose from when writing a set list. We only have a half-hour or so, so it’s packed with some good tunes. Then, after that, I think you can look forward to an AC/DC cover, and what it is will be a surprise, but people who are in the know can probably figure it out: What would be the ultimate AC/DC song for GWAR to do?
Q: What can you share about your forthcoming album, “Blood of Gods”?
A: “Blood of Gods” is awesome. It’s destined to become a classic. It’s certainly a turning point for the band, musically. It’s the first album without Oderus Urungus, our fallen lead singer. The record is dedicated to him. In his absence, GWAR soldiered on, as he would have wanted, and I think this is a record that will speak for itself when they hear it. I think people are going to be amazed by this record, both GWAR and non-GWAR fans, probably mostly non-GWAR fans. As they were when they came to see GWAR, and, lo and behold, it was still a GWAR show despite all of the loss and tragedy that the band had experienced. It’s still the greatest, most exciting rock band to take the stage. You’re not going to go and watch four dudes trying to be as cute as possible, trying to stare at their shoes. That’s not what GWAR is. We give the people what they want, and what they want is nonstop death and mayhem. And that’s what this record is. It’s a great hard rock album. I think people will hear it and they’ll understand that GWAR is a force to be reckoned with, musically. GWAR is a band that has been run down by critics, repeatedly. I have never seen a positive critical review of a GWAR album, just as there was never a positive critical review of a KISS album. And rarely of Alice Cooper albums. Because people have their nose stuck in the air, and we’re going to rub those noses in a pile of (expletive) with this album.
Q: Any parting words for the masses?
A: Can I have a hug?
Q: Thanks for your time today. Safe travels to Scranton.
A: Thank you. Fare thee well.
— patrice wilding
If you go
What: Vans Warped Tour featuring GWAR on the Mutant South stage
When: Monday, July 10; doors open at 12:30 p.m., set times posted day of show
Where: The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton
Details: Tickets start at $43.50 and are available through the box office or livenation.com.