Imminent Gwarnage. “We’ve been told by Sleazy P. Martini, our manager, to try to refrain from slaughtering the other bands on the bill. Just like we’ve been told to no longer kill members of the press because it was counter-productive to our position as a band. It’s some contract shit, so maybe we’ll save the killing just for the people of Australia, and we’ll let the bands live. For now anyway...”
Cue silence. You can tell Gwar leader Oderus Urungus has more to say on the subject. In fact, in between his monumental belches, Oderus, the aeons old space alien once imprisoned in an Antarctic wasteland, always has more to say. I take a moment before asking the next question and my silence yields results. He speaks before I can.
“I hate it. I hate it! But we can’t kill the opening acts! Maybe on the last night, we could feed all the bands to Gor-Gor (the space monster in the band’s touring entourage who famously ate actor Ethan Embury in that Empire Records scene). Then instead of No Sleep Til, it could be the No Bands… Except Gwar…Festival.”
Discussing the No Sleep Til festival, it’s asked of Oderus why it’s taken so long for Gwar to tour Australia. Given the shared history of crime – Australia was founded as a convict colony, Gwar were banished from their home planet, Scumdogia, after horrible atrocities and treasonous plots – it’s not unreasonable to think our nation’s lawless foundations would appeal to Gwar. So, why haven’t Gwar visited Australia before? “We would get lost trying to find Australia. It’s the same reason we haven’t been to Japan. It’s the same reason we haven’t been to outer Mongolia. But now, Gwar have Google Earth, and nothing is going to stop us from savaging you people like you deserve.”'
After a tumultuous transition into the new millennium, Gwar have re-established themselves as vital entity within the heavy metal universe, like a post-modern, ultra-violent counter-point to shock rock icons like Alice Cooper, designed to be enjoyed by a generation weened on reality TV and terror threats.
While it’s unusual for a band to return to critical and commercial grace when decades into a career, talking to Oderus, who is – no-shit, kid-you-not – currently serving a stint as Fox News’ “intergalactic correspondent” because apparently Rupert Murdoch is “a fan”, this becomes evident. Although unconventional, the band’s renaissance has marvellously fitted the timeline of their 25 year anniversary, which they are currently celebrating, er, the second year of.
Retrospectively considering the band’s achievement, Oderus recognises certain events standing out as being most significant. “It’s our big 25th anniversary. Well, at least since we woke up from our Antarctic slumber. Of course, we’ve been around for millions of years before then, but the last 25 years on this planet have been pretty eventful… we formed a heavy metal band, got addicted to crack, and now we’re coming to Australia.”
According to Oderus, Australian Scumdogs and Bohabs can make Gwar feel welcome by, “bringing all of your booze, drugs and naked women and putting them in great flaming pits you build in front of the stage. That’s a good start. In doing so, you will welcome Gwar to your land while your cities are set aflame, your women lay spread-eagled and all your drugs and booze and contraband is raided from giant buffet tables.”
Oderus promises that if the Gwar are welcomed to Australia appropriately, then they will be rewarded greatly, and in turn, probably killed. “You Australians will see the most savage, most disgusting display in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. If you can avoid getting an axe through your skull, you’ll probably see all of your friends wiped out in front of your eyes as a horde of bestial sodomites from way beyond your Uranus have their way with your country. It is, quite simply, the most spectacular, savage, vicious experience in rock ‘n’ roll history… but I think I already said that… it’s going to be fucking amazing, ok!”
The band’s “fucking amazing” No Sleep Til appearance also comes on the back of the band’s twelfth studio album, Bloody Pit Of Horror. Oderus modestly steers the conversation towards the new album. “The new album is fucking great. All I can say is that everything we ever do is fucking genius. We’ve really been on a run the last few years.
“Unlike other bands, who when they enter their advanced decrepitude they seem to slow down, Gwar only seem to get nastier and louder and more violent all the time. We’ve just been releasing a deluge of metal music upon the people and we didn’t want to do some lame-ass two-year anniversary where all we did was sit around and shoot up junk. No! We wanted to put out two kick ass records as well! And that’s exactly what we did.”
Given Gwar’s history of interplanetary theft and megalomania, it’s put to Oderus if whether that’s why, 25 years ago, the band turned to the music industry. “We never really cared too much about the music industry. We were always outside of it, and the music industry was something that we were always told we were could never be a part of. So we’ve always been dedicated more to the destruction of the music industry over the perpetuation of its reign. There’s very few awesome underground bands out there today. A lot of the old bands have just gotten incredibly lame. Most of the music industry is designed around incredibly vapid, boring pop music. But it’s not the musicians I hate, it’s the industry getting fat off the musicians. It’s set up so that everyone’s getting rich off the artist, before the artist…”
These opinions don’t seem to be that of the ultra-violent, space-rapist Oderus Urungus, rather that of a articulate, engaging humanoid Dave Brockie. Something Oderus, the creature taking the interview astutely realises.
“… But we’re Gwar, we really don’t give a shit about that. Those are human matters, and when you’re busy trying to enslave the entire world, you don’t really think about the music industry that much.”
GWAR play the NO SLEEP TIL festival at Melbourne Showgrounds this Friday December 17 – alongside Megadeth, Descendents, NOFX, Dropkick Murphys, A Day To Remember, Alkaline Trio and heaps more. Info and tickets from nosleeptil.com.au. Bloody Pit Of Horror is out now through Metal Blade/Riot.