GWAR – Bottomless Holes and BBQMonday, 20th May 2013
Still in the throes of their late-career resurgence, GWAR are starting to gain some semblance of normalcy after the tragic passing of guitarist Corey Smoot in late-2011. Touring has proven to be the remedy, in addition to work on their forthcoming Battilus Maximus album, which should see the light of day later this year. With quite a bit on the docket to discuss, we grabbed singer Dave Brockie aka Oderus Urungus for a pre-show chat in Orlando. Here’s what transpired:
Dead Rhetoric: Thank you for taking time to do this.
Dave Brockie: Ah cool tattoos bro, what do you have here, the Danzig scull. I bet you got that after his first album came out? What is that tattoo?
Dead Rhetoric: Christian Death.
Brockie: Cool, man so I can see you have been around for while. And you are wearing a Joy Division shirt! Fucking cool.
Dead Rhetoric: Tell me about your start as musician/artist.
Brockie: I graduated from high school in 1981. I came up in the D.C. hardcore scene; I was there in the thick of it. I was at Minor Threats first show and I really didn’t like it. I never cared for the whole straight edge scene that was going on. I always thought they were jocks just acting like punks. Now I’m sure Ian Mckay and Henry [Rollins] would disagree with me on this. But back then, those dudes were dicks. I use to get my ass kicked at those shows all the time, now granted I might have been a dick myself. I was still trying to figure out what punk rock was. I saw the Sex Pistols and The Ramones, but when I saw hardcore for the first time I was confused and intrigued.
Dead Rhetoric: What were the early days of Death Piggy like?
Brockie: So I moved to Richmond and started a band called Death Piggy, which was a three-piece hardcore band. I did this as a reaction to the real serious punk rock bands. I had a much more affinity to the west coast bands, bands like Black Flag, Flipper and when I saw the Butthole Surfers, I was like wow! Even though some weren’t really hardcore enough for me.
Dead Rhetoric: Tell us about your artwork.
Brockie: I have been doing art for well 25, 28 years or however fucking long it’s been. I have been happy and lucky enough to do some of the artwork for GWAR. But since I have gotten older and there are younger and slicker artist out there who can draw better than I can and who work for shit [cheaper money]. But I have always been an artist first and foremost. So I continue to do art for fun and I have always had websites for my art and paintings.
I have a website for my artwork which is www.theartofdavebrockie.com where people can buy my prints, which is pretty cool. The prints come custom mounted on amazonite boards; they have super-cool custom made frames which have 3D paint on them. They look like all squiggly, like guts or something. So I can do this you know, I’ll be an artist till the day I die.
Dead Rhetoric: That’s amazing and that’s how it should be. Art is what you make of it and you should do what you love.
Brockie: Oh, absolutely. I love it!
Dead Rhetoric: How did the idea for the GWAR BBQ sauce come about?
Brockie: The idea was between Mike Derks (Balsac) and Brad Roberts (Jizmac). Brad really saw the commercial potential in the GWAR BBQ and Mike kind of brought it back by saying lets do the GWAR B-Qs again. Than Brad was like let’s keep doing these and make them more crazified, It’s been awesome! Every year they get bigger and better every year we do them. We had like 2,000 people there last year. Also the GWAR BBQ sauce actually tastes good.
Dead Rhetoric: When was the first GWAR B –Q festival?
Brockie: Probably 1992 -93, we did the festival at the old slave pit over on Chamber Land Ave. It was a big outdoor area, which I think it was an old rug factory or something? The whole idea of the GWAR B-Q was just for fun, now over the past four years it has gotten so much bigger. It is like a cultural event. People have been getting into and every year it gets bigger and better!
Dead Rhetoric: GWAR has a great live show; do you want the fans to be about the music or the show?
Brockie: It doesn’t matter to me. I mean, anyone who wants to come out and part with their hard-earned money and support us, I don’t care if it’s the art, the music or a combination of both. I would hope it’s a combination of both, though. You know I hope they can appreciate us for all the stuff we do. I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t give a fuck about the music; they just want to see the show. Which is totally cool with me,too. If I had my pick though I would hope it’s a combination of both that would be the perfect GWAR cocktail. [Laughs and smiles] I really love what I do, man!
Dead Rhetoric: Where does the inspiration for the music that GWAR does come from? I know it varies a lot.
Brockie: I get the desire to scream in the face of the bottomless hole and eternal death that is life. I mean, we are stuck in this little body for not very long, you know so many thousands of millions of people have come before us and they will come after us. I mean we are lucky to be alive now and I guess I have something to say, I’m not that sure what it is, but I know that it is a positive thing. And if I have affected people in a positive way I just want to scream it as loud and as strongly as I can till I am dragged fucking kicking and screaming out of here! You know what I mean?
Dead Rhetoric: I know Oderus has made several appearances in movies and also TV. Tell us about those.
Brockie: Well, the movies just happened out of luck. As you know we did the cameo in Empire Records, which was fun! Loved it! (laughs) Also Oderus did the whole segment on RedEye, which was cool but not as big and bad ass as Jerry Springer. Nothing will beat the Joan Rivers show though. To this day we still get asked about that, and I don’t know man [laughs] we just did it and people loved it. We will never get bigger than Joan Rivers. People are like “Joan Rivers?” I don’t understand why we aren’t on more talk shows. We do great on them and people love it! [laughs] I mean, Oderus has a message for people, I don’t know if its positive but it’s a message.
Dead Rhetoric: This tour is a bit different from the last leg, how did the tour schedule happen?
Brockie: This tour we are trying to hit the cities we missed, because we know that the last leg upset some of the fans due to scheduling. Also it’s always fun to go to different cities. You can always judge the cities by their food, besides the level of insanity on this tour is crazy. It’s also exciting to be able to play 16 cities in 16 days! You know, start out in L.A. cross over to Jacksonville, Florida. I mean it’s insane and it’s really cool to see what the human body can put up with [laughs]. It’s insane bro!
Dead Rhetoric: GWAR’s sound has changed over the course of time. When you started out it was more punk than metal…
Brockie: Well, when we first started out we were a joke. We did what we wanted and if I had to say anything about GWAR at the beginning I would say we were more punk rock than anything. About after the fifth or sixth record, we started to experiment and by about 2001, and the Violence Has Arrived album we started to listen to critics and fans and we did a more metal album. But yes, if I had to say what GWAR was when we first started, I would say we were a punk rock band.
Dead Rhetoric: What advice do you have for people wanting to start their own band?
Brockie: First and foremost, make sure you like the people you are in a band with. You will never go anywhere in a band with people you hate. That’s especially true for the drummer. They usually are the most complicated people, the thing is the lead singer would like to be the most complicated person, but he or she gets all the attention. So they have that outlet, whereas the drummer…no one ever pays attention to the drummer. They don’t get that outlet, which makes them very complicated. Make sure you have a well-adjusted drummer and make sure you have a well-adjusted band. If you band turns out to be full of dicks, break it up and form a new one. I mean, I have seen so many bands over the years who stay together even though they hate each other and they mean it! That’s good advice from Uncle Oderus [laughs].