GWAR are the ultimate kings, and Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus) is king of the kings. At Smartass Radio, we GWARship the ground that he rapes, pillages, and blows wads on. The opportunity to catch up with Dave before the much anticipated “Electile Dysfunction Tour” was coveted by each and every brohab in our office. Now that the tour is winding down, let’s see how the goddamn interview holds up…
What the fuck is Dave Brockie doing in an office?
F: What’s going on? Dave?
F: Hey. This is Frank.
DB: Hello Frank.
F: How ya doin?
DB: Good. How are you today?
F: I’m doin good.
DB: Very good.
F: Hell yeah dude. This is sick. (silence) Alright.
DB: Where are you calling from?
F: I’m calling from Philadelphia.
F: Yeah sure.
DB: You get the last show of the tour this year.
F: Are you coming through to Philly?
DB: Yeah. It’s the very last gig. A lot of people actually, they saw early reports of the tour, and they were like, “Oh my god you’re not coming to Philly, oh I hate you.” I even got this one really irate email from this girl. “I can’t believe you’re not coming to Philly on this tour, I supported you my whole life and my friends were flying down from Cleveland and bla bla bla” and I’m like “Um, we just hadn’t announced the whole tour yet, you dumb bitch”
F: Dude, I didn’t see a Philly date on there.
DB: No, cos it’s the very last gig of the tour.
F: Whatever dude. I mean, I was gonna go to NY. I think you’ll be in Baltimore.
DB: Yeah, well, we do that to mislead people. They think that we’re not coming to their hometown, so they have to go to all the other shows, and then we announce that we are indeed playing there, so.
F: That makes it even better. Just add an extra date on.
DB: Right. The more GWAR shows the merrier. This is the longest tour we’ve ever gone on. Where some bands do less as they get older, uh, we just keep piling it on, so.
F: Hell yeah dude. That’s fucking sick. Oh yeah, I guess you’re playing the Electric Factory in Philly?
DB: Oh yeah.
F: I’ve seen you guys there once before.
DB: One of our favorite gigs, definitely.
F: Alright, cool. First question: Do you actually say “coolio” conversationally, or is that just in emails?
DB: Ha. Yeah, I say coolio all the time. It rhymes with Julio…and uh….
F: Well, I mean, you don’t have to rhyme…
DB: I like to rhyme, being a lead singer I’m a rhymer, but, uh…yeah, coolio! No, I really don’t say it very much. I just realized how silly it sounds. No, it’s more of an email term.
F: Alright. So Sleazy is back. How did that happen?
DB: Well, um, I guess it was about 8 years ago. I guess it was after the “We Kill Everything” record. We realized that we were basically never going to get anywhere except the same old treadmill were always on, if we had every time we went on tour and every time we wrote an album we had 18 extra characters in addition to the main GWAR ones. So basically you know, and all the people, like Chuck, who played the Sexocutioner, and Don, who played Sleazy P. Martini, and Danielle, who played GWARwoman, they were kind of ready, they sensed this, and they were ready to do other things. So at that point we moved back to more of, just a kind of more focusing on the band and the characters directly involved in being the members in GWAR, and it was kind of a rebirth for us, it really gave us a lot of momentum, and we found that when we did that we were able to focus more our music a lot more, and that kind of lead to a real rebirth for GWAR. But we still like to bring the old characters back, you know, we just don’t want em all at once. And Don has always stayed close to the Slave Pit, even after he wasn’t touring with us anymore, he was always in here helping us with construction projects cos he’s a fucking amazing sculptor, and it was just a matter of time until we got around to saying, “Hey Come on Don,” everybody loves fucking Sleazy P. Martini, he’s arguably the most popular character, even though he hasn’t been on tour in 10 years, still, really he’s definitely one of the most popular characters GWAR ever created. And like all the characters, Sleazy is a reflection of the person who plays the character, and Sleazy is really a good reflection of Don’s extremely strange, fucked up personality. We decided this was the year, well, we badgered him for years about it, but this year he finally decided “What the hell, I’m gonna go out there,” and I think it actually had a lot to do with the fact that he just needed the money.
F: Whatever works. Sleazy is just hosting the show? I’ve never even seen Sleazy with you guys.
DB: Yeah. It’s amazing. GWARs been around for so long now, and it’s become such a fixture in our culture. That we have a lot of fans now, who really don’t even know much about GWAR before Violence Has Arrived. We play songs off Scumdogs and America Must Be Destroyed and they don’t recognize them. But if we play War Party or Beyond Hell, they’re like singing every word. So yeah, there’s a lot of guys out there – guys and gals – and grandmothers, and babies, who have never beheld the majesty of Sleazy P. Martini singing “Slaughterama”, and that’s just a moment that I am really looking forward to, when Sleazy retakes the stage and reclaims his glory, people are going to go fucking apeshit. It’s more than just throwing Sleazy in there, Sleazy is in many ways the focal point of the entire show, the show that we’re doing on the Electile Dysfunction tour, is an attack on the electoral process and politics in general, it’s a familiar target for GWAR, and it’s one that people can’t seem to get enough of, because you know I think people hate politicians more than they hate lawyers, and especially – most politicians are lawyers, so they’re doubly hated. Sleazy basically, as he goes on this tour, he declares the election completely invalid, and he’s gonna make the people vying for the presidency fight to the death in some type of gladiatorial combat arena, which we will be providing every night on stage, and then no matter who wins he’s going to have them killed, and then just claim all the power for himself anyway.
F: So sleazy is almost running for president with this tour?
DB: He’s not even running for president so much as declaring the presidency invalid and setting himself up as supreme overlord. So yeah, that’s pretty much the size of that. I mean, he’s got GWAR backing him up so pretty much anything, he’s in.
F: He can’t fuck this up. So taking GWAR on tour is very different than taking a normal band on tour. How long does it take you guys to get ready?
DB: Wow. I mean, it’s an amazing amount of work. We got done with our massive tour last year, and we’re kind of transitioning into a new phase where we’re probably going to be putting out our own material and doing our own label from now on, because a lot of bands seem to be going that way, it just makes sense with digital distribution, and the amount of records that we sell, we don’t sell a whole buttload of records, but we do sell enough that if we make all the money that they generate, it’s a pretty tidy sum. So rather than pay some other company to put out our shit when we can do it ourselves pretty much just as easily, we decided to move in that direction. So that meant that as we transitioned into that area, we were going to do a show without the support of a new album. So we decided basically to build two shows at once. We’ve pretty much written the new album which will be coming out next year, and the whole story line that goes with that, but we kind of to fill in the gap between the last record and this record. And we figured oh, a wrestling show around Sleazy and the election is perfect we’ll do something around that idea. And we started discussing the ideas in Febuary of this year, and we were building the new gig by March, and pretty much started building next year’s show at the same time. So, basically it took from March to right around now to build everything that we needed to have for the new show, and about half of the show we’re gong to be doing next year, so it takes a good long time. We tour generally anywhere from 3-6 months a year, and pretty much with the exception of about a month we usually take off a year, the rest of the year is spent constructing props, costumes, and preparing merchandise and new music, so we’re busy little beavers all the time.
F: If Oderus could run for president, what would his platform be?
DB: He would have a platform that actually was a platform that collapsed as soon as he stood on it into the audience, crushing everyone.
F: Can you give me a spoiler on how somebody’s gonna die?
DB: That would be cheating, wouldn’t it? But…Well, we got a Hillary Clinton character. And she’s got a real problem that she’s not part of the race. So she comes out there and she trys to assert herself again, and I believe that she is torn into tiny bits, and savagely and sexually brutalized, I’m not really quite sure how she dies, because there’s many heaping atrocities piled upon her body, I’m not sure which one was the fatal wound.
F: Good to know. So you’re playing “Slaughterama”. What other classics can we look forward to?
DB: Yeah. Every year it gets crazier and crazier as far as what songs to play. Because every year we put out a new album and every year it fucking kicks ass, everybody gets new favorite songs.
F: You toured Beyond Hell…
DB: That was a crazy thing to do. And I always hated it when bands came out with a new album, and just played songs off the new album. And they didn’t play any of their big hits, and so, we decided to do that. And I must say, it was amazing, it worked for us, they weren’t chanting “Sick of You” or anything like that, and we played the whole fucking album from beginning to end, we didn’t omit a single song, and it went over really well. This year though, we’re gonna go back to some big classic numbers definitely We’re gonna be playing new stuff off Beyond Hell and the last few albums, but we’re gonna visit…you know, we’ve got so many fucking songs, we’re going to be all over the place, we really did try to get a representative song from every single album we ever did. It’s gonna be all fucking over the place.
F: Have you heard Toxic Holocaust or Kingdom of Sorrow?
DB: Oh yeah. Hell yeah. We actually get into other bands. We listen to metal, we listen to thrash, we listen to punk. We actually keep up with what’s going on out there. A lot of our friends are musicians in other bands, and of course, you know, we want to be able to make an informed decision about who opens up for us. It helps that The Agency Group is our booking group cos they have so many great bands on their roster. It’s usually pretty easy to find really good support for GWAR, but I must say that they’ve really outdone themselves on this tour. Anything that Jamie and his buddies put together is usually excellent, and of course Kurt from Crowbar is in this band, and I think they’re really fucking awesome. And Toxic Holocaust I was just completely blown away by em, everytime I’ve listened to em I’ve absolutely loved em.
There’s a real big buzz for this tour. Every band in the world goes out for Halloween, but that’s GWAR’s fucking terrirory right there, nobody can match us. Over the years, GWAR’s just become such a fixture in our culture, it used to be kinda hard to get good bands to open up for GWAR, cos other bands didn’t really want to have to deal with it, cos they were afraid the fans were going to be chanting “GWAR GWAR GWAR”, and it took a long time for us, not with our fans, but with the perception of GWAR in general, it took a long time for people to really give our music the respect that it deserves.
F: It’s still not even happening enough.
DB: That’s the easiest criticism to make of GWAR. And generally people who doubt our music haven’t listened to it. Or they’ve got an opinion about GWAR because they’re kind of disturbed or offended, and the first thing they jump to is “Oh, you can’t play music you’re songs suck.” Well that’s bullshit. GWAR – there’s no way we’d have lasted this long if it was just a cool stage show. This band has always been about the music, and I would put my guys up against, pure and simple metal, I would put them up against the best bands in the world, and they would hold their ground, or even win. Because they fucking rule. I’m not gonna play with a bunch of hacks. No matter how good GWAR’s music is, it will always kind of be secondary to the show, because it’s such a motherfucking amazing show, that people tend to fixate on that, like “Oh my god, the giant dinosaur came out, he stabbed it in the head, and the stage exploded and they flew off through the roof,” and you’re like, “What was the music like,?” “It was cool.”
In a way, I’m kind of glad there are people like that, because it keeps GWAR in the underground, where we are kings, and where we feel really comfortable, and if GWAR had mass appeal I think that would kind of be sad in a weird, way, you know? As much as I would love to sell millions of records, as they say, “It’s better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven.”
F: Sounds of the Underground…GWAR played in the middle…what a joke.
DB: That happened a lot. A lot of people would stick around till GWAR played and then they would split. It took em two Sounds of the Underground to realize that, and then finally, the very last SOTU we actually headlined. But you know, that tour, I loved the SOTU tour, it was so much fun, it was the only festival tour that’s ever really given GWAR a shot, the Warped Tour, OzzFest, all these people denied GWAR over and over again, and SOTU, we proved to everyone that we can tour in a festival environment and we kick ass, but unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough support for that tour. Every year it just kind of got a little shittier until they stopped doing it all together. But maybe it’ll come back one day.
F: The first year was nuts.
DB: I know, and I was surprised, really really was surprised that it wasn’t a bigger hit. I mean, the first fucking year you had Opeth and Clutch, and GWAR, High on Fire, The Red Chord, A Life Once Lost…yeah I mean, there were so many fucking great bands, but here we were playing arenas that were like, ¼ full, it just blew me away. I couldn’t fucking believe it. But it was still great, playing with all those bands was so much fun because you get to see all these killer bands every single day, and then when you’re done with your set you go back and get the BBQ going and kick back and drink some beer and you just chill and have a great time, and that was so much fun, and even though our fans were a little pissed that we were playing a ½ an hour set in the middle of the whole thing, it was great for us cos we were done by 3 o clock, and then we could just kind of go back, wipe off all the shit, put the costumes back in the boxes, and then chill out and have a great time, and that first tour especially, that tour was one of the greatest tours that there ever was, period. Ever. And I would really love to see it come back. And hopefully next year it will.
F: OK. Some of these Q’s are just for me too. A good one is: Have you ever boned out a girl in the Oderus costume?
DB: Never. It’s never happened. I’ve had girls wanna do it, but I didn’t wanna have sex with them.
F: What, is it only busted ass girls that wanna go at it with Oderus or what?
DB: No, no, there’s been hotties, but they don’t seem to understand how much time it takes…sex when it’s great is usually spontaneous…and with putting on that Oderus costume, there’s a lot of preparation involved. By the time you get it on, it stinks so bad, it’s so uncomfortable and hot, the last thing I’m thinking about is boning any body. It’s never happened, but I’m just waiting for that special girl that can turn me on so much that I’ll get hard-on even in the Oderus costume.
F: Has a girl ever wanted the cuttlefish?
DB: Yeah, and those girls are completely sick. There’s no human vagina that would fit the cuttlefish. Maybe a whale. Oderus has had this thing about wanting to have sex with a blue whale for a long time. If he could just catch one. He’s fucked plenty of dead whales that have washed up on shore. In fact, actually, I was like this close away, Oderus was gonna have his own 5 minutes on Bam Margera’s radio show every fucking week. He was gonna do a travel log of his travels all around the world as he had sex with various types of animals and his ultimate goal was to have sex with a blue whale. But contractual obligations, negotiations broke down, so unfortunately it never happened. We dared to ask for a little thing called money. It was like, “Whaat? We need 5 minutes for 52 episodes this year, every week.” I’m like, “Great, I wanna do it, sounds cool, how much money?” Theyre like “Money, you should do it for free.” I’m like, “No.”
F: You appeared on his show for free?
DB: Yeah, anything on MTV, you don’t get paid for that shit at all. We drove up to Penn. Set up all our stuff out back, basically put on a private show, and we got no money at all out of that, that’s just publicity. And actually in the long run, it works out really great for us. Tons of people all over the world see that shit, and they’re like “oh my god, that band’s so cool.” We’ve made lots of new fans who spend tons of money, because we were on Bam’s show, and he’s always been a big supporter of GWAR and we really appreciate it, but at some point you gotta come up off some cash, you can only do so much shit for free until you know, before you know we’ve gotten past the free stage, we need some fucking money.
F: Is the next album a story album?
DB: Yeah, there will be a story in it, it’s not gonna go so over the top that every song will be directly related to the plot. We’re gonna have a story line that goes with the record. I mean, basically every GWAR record has had one to a certain extent…
F: War Party?
DB: Not really. That had a loose political theme to it. Violence Has Arrived was kinda the D&D on acid album.
F: I can accept that one.
DB: Beyond Hell was the first album where every song had something to do with the story and every song was like a chapter in the story that you told. Kinda did that with RagNaRock, but it wasn’t as pronounced, so we went all the way on Beyond Hell and it was really fun, but we’re not gonna do that this year. When we start recording the new album, which is pretty much written right now, they all kinda relate to the theme, but it’s not gonna be every song is a chapter in the story kind of like we had on Beyond Hell.
F: I respect that.
DB: I don’t wanna spoil it, but the big thing about the new album that’s going to be really fucking exciting and really really cool is that GWAR finally escapes the planet Earth.
DB: Yes. Oh yeah.
F: Well that changes everything. That’s huge. GWAR’s final return to the stars, and what the fuck happens to them out there. Will they come back to earth?
DB: Well we’ll just have to see.
F: I can’t imagine it any other way. (Me talking about Transformers). *Side note from DJ – I really wish you would have transcribed yourself talking about the Transformers making it back to Cybertron.
DB: Yeah we’ve been waiting for this almost as long as GWAR has. And all the musicians who do GWAR have really been looking forward to the, Giligan’s Island castaways finally get back to the mainland kinda episode. And it’s gonna be completely fucking over the top, but the trick is to do something with GWAR in outer space that people here on earth can still relate to and I think we’ve got a really awesome idea and I can tell ya all about it except that would spoil everything. People have been waiting for this for a long time.
F: I think the 25 year anniversary is the perfect time for you guys to make it off.
DB: Yeah, exactly. 25 next year. Next year is the big 25 anniversary. Next year is the tour that starts the year for the beginning of the year will be the 25 anniversary tour. So it’s perfect. It’s gonna be the greatest story that GWAR’s ever told.
F: We’ll see.
DB: I know. We just sat here for the last 3 months and wrote the whole script. So, it’s gonna be fucking great.
F: Next question, kinda dick, but I’m curious about you and “Jesus Hitler” and “Jitler”, has Petey (Steele – Type O Negative) ever confronted you about it?
DB: No No No. I mean, (Carnivore song) “Jesus Hitler” and “Jitler”? “Jitler” is just kind of an extension of the whole “Jesus Hitler” idea. They brought it up, they kinda stuck both names in the same song, but they didn’t go so far as to take both the names, combine them, and then even further, smoosh them physically into one body.
F: Lyrically, they go that far, they’ve got the swasafix…
DB: Swasafix, crosstika, sure. No, but you know what, honestly, I didn’t even think about that song at tall when I wrote it. People came back to me later like, “Do you realize that song and this song” and I was like, “Really?” and I went back and looked at the lyrics like wow, “they’re really similar.” But I didn’t even know the lyrics to that song before I wrote “Crosstika”, at all. It’s just like, great minds think alike. No, we’ve never ripped anybody off. But we’ve probably been subconsciously motivated and inspired by all sorts of things. Plagiarism is an art form as well. Another one that we get shit for all the time is people say that “Crosstika” is a rip-off of some fucking Megadeth song. That riff that goes (imitates riff) they played for me, and it doesn’t sound anything like it to me. It’s all in the perception that people have.
F: Musically they say you ripped it off?
DB: Yeah. They’re like “oh my god, you stole that riff.” How many fucking bands are out there, how many rock & roll bands, you’re bound to write a song that’s a lot like another song all the fucking time. People have been playing heavy music now for what, over 40 fucking years? Like come on, a little credits where credit is due. As if we sit around listening to Megadeth records and go, “Oh, that’s a cool riff, let me steal it.” Gimmie a break, if we were gonna do that, we’d be stealing from Slayer, and then the people who hate our music would really have something to bitch about. GWAR doesn’t have to worry about plagiarizing; we got plenty of good ideas by ourselves.
F: Are you working on an Oderus replacement?
DB: No. Not yet. But I will one day. There will be a son of Oderus. I’m not sure who it is, I haven’t met him yet, but I’ve met a lot of people who come to me like “hey, when you’re ready I’m ready, but I’m holding onto this job as long as I can. I see Mick Jagger up there shaking his ass around and he’s in like his 70s or something, I’m thinking I’ve got a good 20 years left in me at least. I don’t know if all the other guys in the band feel the same way I do, they bitch about it sometimes, but I love performing, I love making music, and more than anything I love being Oderus Urungus. Yeah, I’ve had Brad and Mike, Jizmak and Balsac, have been here since Scumdogs. I consider them original members. Cos the Hell-o album was done with musicians that we just kind of got from all over the place, we weren’t touring or doing anything, we thought it was going to be a one album joke. Brad and Mike came in when we were deciding to go all the way with it, now we got Casey Orr back, he did a bunch of records with us, so it’s like we really got the whole crew here, plus, the artists, who have been doing the costumes and stuff, have pretty much stayed the same since the early days. Scott Crawl, the guy who does the Gor-Gor suit, or the guy who is Gor-Gor, he’s been around since fucking Hell-o, and pretty much everybody else came along during the Scumdogs era, so we’ve got the integrity of everyone that’s been aboard all this time, and it fucking blows my mind. So we must be doing something right.
I’m such a lucky motherfucker along with everbody else, to have met all these people and together come up with such a great fucking idea. If I got run over by a train today I would be able to flip it off before it crushed me, you know, with a feeling of complete satisfaction of what has occurred in my life. And when I was a little kid that was always what I wanted
F: To get runover by a train?
DB: Well, no. When I finally meet my doom, to be able to look back on my life and say “Fuck, you did something fucking cool.” And that thing turned out to be GWAR.
F: It’s the most metal thing on earth.
DB: It is man. It is. How many things can completely make fun of where they came from? But at the same time be embraced and applauded by that very same community. It’s like, GWAR, we owe a lot to metal, we are metal, and at the same time, we completely make fun of metal, because, you know, shit, you gotta be able to point that weapon at yourself as well. We don’t mind making fun of ourselves, because fuck, we’re fucking hilarious.
F: Fuck yeah dude. Slayer can write “Raining Blood,” but GWAR covers you in blood.
DB: Hell yeah. I don’t think Kerry King would agree with you, but a lot of fucking people do. I just did this award ceremony, the Golden Gods thing, Kerry got like, metal god of the year or whatever, and he came up there, and I tried to give him the high five, he gave me this look like, “You fucking freak, get the fuck away from me.” That guy’s kinda uptight. He really is, but you know what, a lot of short people are like that.