By Melissa Hahn
The demonic overlords known as Gwar are nearing their third decade of savagery with their 13th record. Synthesis chatted with Oderus Urungus, frontman of Gwar and intergalactic mutant of Scumdogia, about the band’s history, the passing of guitarist Flattus Maximus, and some key environmental issues to help us celebrate Earth Month.
You guys have been making music since I was born. How do you think the band has evolved since the ‘80s?
Unlike most bands that come out and do real well at first and then drop dead of drug overdoses, or fall off the face of the Earth, or get shelled by the very companies that they owe their initial successes to, we have this kind of slow burn. Gwar is maturing in the scope of our power all the time. After all, when we first came out and recorded an album, we’d only been thawed for about a week or two so we’d be a little bit stiff. Over the years I would say we are fully free of the permafrost and we’ve been laying down some pretty scorching metal licks. The sound of it itself is what propels us. Always challenging ourselves to make louder, more pleasurable noises.
A new album is currently in the works. Can you give us any tip on what it’s going to be like?
We know that without Flattus on board, we’re going to be challenged like never before. Flattus was our guy; I mean he was our little monster and his riffs were legendary. But a bunch of Flattus’ scumdog buddies are probably going to be coming by the studio so we’re going to basically work with a series of very big-name guest guitar players on the record and meanwhile, we’ll be expanding our search for some more members of the Maximus tribe. It’s wide open though right now, we don’t want to rush. It’s certainly hard to replace somebody who’s been with you so many years. One thing is for sure: if we’re going to put out an album that is anything less than of quality standard we have set for ourselves during what will go down in Gwar history as the “Flattus years,” then we might as well fall on our swords. And we’re not going to let that happen; we’re too busy stabbing other people.
Would you say losing Flattus has been the most difficult part in the band’s career?
Any tour that Gor-Gor is on, Gor-Gor being our largest horrible pet dinosaur, but even Gor-Gor eating my brain every night failed in comparison to what this band went through on this last tour. Unfortunately it was revealed, um, that Gwar does have feelings in the way we have responded to this challenge. It’s terribly embarrassing but we adapt to our fans, who pretty much thought we hated them, but it’s true, the fans helped us very much through this very difficult time and I know it’s tough for them as well. We all keep moving forward with everything happening on this tour and we are retiring Flattus and his guitar as a ceremony at the end of the show. It gives everyone a chance to kind of say goodbye.
Okay, we’re gonna switch gears here and talk about some environmental issues on Earth, since it is Earth Month. What are your thoughts on the ban of single-use grocery store plastic bags that many city governments are pursuing?
Well that’s retarded. I mean come on, guys. You can use the same bag. Get whatever is nice, those hippie bags that hippies make out of weed I believe. Just bring it to the store, how hard is that? And then you know what’s worse about these plastic bags? What human being doesn’t have one of those plastic bags stuck on a doorknob somewhere in their house, but inside that plastic bag, there’s like 8,000 more plastic bags! The only thing those things are good for is scooping your doggy’s doo-doo so it doesn’t go on your neighbor’s floor.
What do you think are some solutions to our gas and oil problems?
Stop using them maybe. It’s a finite resource; it’s going to run out and it stinks. I would look into a lot more peddling, igloos, wire, rubber bands. I can imagine just not being such big, fat pigs all the time. As far as getting oil and gas, why are we still using it? It’s pretty obvious electricity works a lot better.
What are some things you do in your life to be environmentally friendly to Earth?
I guess the biggest thing I’m trying to do to help the earth is to scrub the disease of the human race off it so the planet can get back to its normal state. I recognize the great mistake I’ve made when I had sex with apes and created the human race and moved on to pollute the place terribly. And in fact, if it wasn’t for your pollution, you never would’ve burned a hole in the ozone layer and that’s what led to Gwar. So you only have yourselves to blame for Gwar’s presence amongst you. Once you guys are all gone then we’ll get back to the monkeys and the unicorns will come back and the manta cores will pray in the lakes of lava and it will be a paradise. And I will try to refrain from having sex with apes, at least unprotected sex.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I’d like to step away from the character of Oderus for a moment to thank our fans for the amazing support that they’ve given to the Smoot Family Fund, which is set up for Cory [Flattus]’s kid and his wife Jamie. They can find out more about that on gwar.net. Hail Flattus, hail Gwar!